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“When I face a difficult challenge, I think, ‘If those boys didn’t stop me at sixteen, then I can’t let this stop me now.’”

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By Lauren Brill

At sixteen years old, I experienced the worst moment of my life. I found myself completely naked on a bed with two boys I didn’t know. I have no idea how I ended up in the bedroom. My last memory was sipping a drink at the party downstairs.

I could barely move. I couldn’t scream. It’s clear to me now that I was drugged. I thought to myself, “Please, God, don’t let this be how I lose my virginity.” Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Instead, I fell off the bed as one of the boys tried to switch from digital to genital penetration. When I hit the floor, both boys ran out of the room in a panic.

For nine years, I didn’t tell anyone. Keeping the secret gave me constant stomach aches. 

I lost nearly 30 pounds in a year. When I went to college, I had terrible anxiety and was often scared to walk alone on campus.

I started to turn a corner when I interned at CBS Sports during college. That internship changed my life. It cemented my desire to become a sports reporter—and as I pursued my career, my anxiety began to dissipate.

I’ve found courage and healing through storytelling. 

In my job as a reporter, I’ve told many stories of athletes who have overcome incredible adversity. Their stories inspire me profoundly.

I’ve also started to tell my own story. In my mid-twenties, I told some of my inner circle. My assault is part of who I am. I didn’t intend on writing in depth about being raped. But my experience somehow typed its way onto the screen.

Through writing, I had a powerful realization. The time when I felt weakest was the moment that allowed me to realize my true strength. 

_________

Lauren Brill is a sports reporter for the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. She’s built her career sharing compelling sports stories that discuss social issues as well as the personal challenges athletes face. Lauren studied sociology at Columbia University. 

Abuse & Sexual Assault Building resilience Finding joy Sexual assault Women Mental health