My Defining Moment
When I was 19, my boyfriend of 3 months held me down in his bed and raped me. That is the day I lost my virginity. This is after 2 months of constant verbal and psychological abuse.
I had completely lost myself. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I became overwhelmed by everything, sank into a deep depression, and felt that there was no way out.
I chalked it up to, when you love someone, you have sex with them, and justified his behavior for another two months before I finally broke up with him.
It seems short, but that felt like the longest 5 months of my life. Even after that, I didn’t admit or acknowledge what had happened for another 4 months. I still lived in that darkness until I couldn’t hold it in anymore.
My Circle of Support and Inspiration
Without the support of my friends and family, I might not be here today. I used to hide a boxcutter in my jewelry box, in case the darkness became too much. My friends and family wouldn’t let that happen, and they didn’t even know it.
And without the people who I shared with, who then shared with me, they inspired everything. They inspired my path in life. My livelihood. My dream of helping others who struggle.
After I admitted what had happened to me, I learned that a lot of people I knew also experienced something similar, but had also never talked about it.
I noticed that it felt good to hear that I wasn’t alone, and talking about it helped other people talk about it.
So I began to talk about it, and I felt amazing. Changes that. I intentionally made, I stopped being a victim. I grew and forced myself to be uncomfortable, so I could survive. And I have.
How I am NOW
Now, I’m living beyond thrilled with how my life is going. I’ve had many happy, healthy relationships with many wonderful men, who have taught me what to look for in relationships.
I am pursuing my passion every day. Working to end the stigma of sexual assault and domestic violence. End the isolation, end the silence. I write about it in my books, talk about it in my daily life, fundraise and build programs for people to help them speak out.
I am building a platform for men and women like me to stand on and shout that they are part of a statistic of strong, brave individuals who will not let this stop them from living their best, happiest and most successful lives!
Marissa F. Cohen is a best-selling author of Breaking Through the Silence; The Journey to Surviving Sexual Assault, and the founder and CEO of Within Your Reach. Marissa took her trauma and created a life out of it, in the most positive way she could think of; by using it to help others. Her overall goal is to transform the world for warriors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Nobody needs to be stuck in that darkness, and it’s her mission to help them fight their way out.
You can read more about her work at
FLIP THE NARRATIVE is all about highlighting the growth, resilience and reinvention that happens after challenging and dark periods.
It’s about sharing the message after the mess, holding space, vulnerability and honesty to our defining moments, the people who supported us, and the changes that came from such an ordeal. This is being studied as Post Traumatic Growth.
Do you have a Transformational story of Growth after trauma to share? You can write your stories in this form https://goo.gl/forms/yqAfxjrVW4d79U5J2