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As a survivor, I firmly stand with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Nik Sparlin spoke at our press event and rally to support Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and stop Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination on September 20, 2018, outside Senator Collins’ office in Bangor. 

Thank you all for being here today in support of survivors and in using your time to take a stance against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.

My name is Nik Sparlin. I am 25 years old, a current student, an active participant and member of the Queer community, a feminist, and a survivor of multiple instances of sexual violence.

I first experienced trauma at the hands of my biological father when I was three years old -an important time in childhood development when we begin to form the basis for the people we will become through our experiences. During my formative years, my father used physically abusive tactics in order to silence me through grooming, a process through which a predator isolates and gains the secrecy of a victim through various tactics in order to initiate sexual abuse and control.

There is much that I am happy to never remember because of how early the instances of sexual and physical abuse occurred, but the pieces that I do remember will always follow me.

Trauma is pervasive and lasting, though it ebbs and flows on any given day. It affects how we relate to others, with the world, and how we relate to ourselves. My childhood trauma greatly affected my levels of self-esteem and self-worth, creating a vulnerability that could be exploited in the wrong hands: I couldn’t love myself enough to advocate for myself, or to think that my story was worth telling.

Seventeen years later, I was sexually assaulted by a partner that I trusted when I was under the influence and could not give my consent. The memories of what happened that night are hazy at best, and the thought of them makes me sick to my stomach. I remember being rendered useless on the couch for what felt like hours, and eventually being taken to my house by him, still incoherent. I remember pieces of my assault and how strange my head felt when I was jostled and manipulated on my own bed. But what I remember most is waking up the next morning with the confusing feelings of betrayal, conflict, and guilt; I felt like it was my fault because I couldn’t remember if I had explicitly said “no.”

There are many people who would be happy to rest the blame on me for what happened that night. They will say that it was my fault for being too high and my consent was somehow “implied” because I was assaulted by someone that I was seeing. They will say that I am lying because I can’t remember all of the details and because I never reported it or shared my story until now, when even saying things like these makes survivors like me fearful to come forward with our experiences.

It is truly astounding to me that in the era of #metoo, decades after Anita Hill and the “Year of the Woman,” that we still have issues trusting and believing survivors. Being a survivor, someone who has had to reconcile with the pervasive trauma of abuse and assault, this is something I cannot abide by, and it is why I am sharing my story today -because this has happened time and time again to too many people.

As a survivor, I am here to tell anyone who has faced sexual violence that I hear you and I believe you, no matter what gender you are, who you are attracted to, how you were dressed, what substances you may or may not have been under the influence of, or if you didn’t report your assault.

As a survivor, I firmly stand with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as she faces retaliation and an onslaught of threats from being forced to come forward publicly with her allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

And as a survivor, I am calling on Senator Susan Collins and the rest of our political leaders to believe Dr. Ford and to take her allegations seriously because recounting these stories is a difficult and truly courageous act.

Thank you.