Sexual Assault Essay Example

Life is an ever changing series of events. Often, bad entities occur in the lives of good people. Actions or words said in the heat of moment can forever shift how one views themselves. Roxane Gay was raped at the age of twelve. This was the moment that first and continues to adjust her identity, as it has many others. In the memoir Hunger, Roxane Gay uses her accounts of sexual assault to show that one's perspective of their own identity is morphed by past experiences and the insecurities arisen, usually leading to larger problems.

Experiencing the trauma of being raped not only as a twelve year old, but as a human being, leads to Roxane making many alterations to herself in both the state of her body and the state of her mind. The exposure Gay receives from this affair at a young age starts to alter her perspective of herself, create insecurities, and ultimately damage her previous life. When explaining how such an occurrence eternally changed her identity, Roxane Gay uses comparisons: "There is the before and the after. Before I gained weight. After I gained weight. Before I was raped. After I was raped" (14). What Roxane means by this before and after sentiment is that when severe actions are thrust upon you nothing ever really seems as it previously did. The reaction seen by Gay is relatable to many others. When people have traumatic events occur they often never fully heal, whether it is physically or mentally. Attempting to go back to the good old days seems unfathomable for Roxanne and other people who have had similar experiences. There will always be two different lives these people have lived: the before and the after. Another instance in the memoir, Hunger, where Roxane shows that her past has forever altered her identity is when she imagines what she would be like in another life: "I often wonder who I would have been if this terrible thing had not happened to me" (300). After going through years and years of suffering Gay has finally made it to a point in her life where she can think back to her past and wonder what life could have been. Alike others with similar circumstances, Roxane is hopeful to what her life would have become. When terrible things happen to everyday people it is ordinary to wonder why. It is ordinary to wonder who they would of identified as and who they would have strived to become. Overall, Roxane Gay is one of many who have gone through dreadful times and has had their perspective changed and insecurities brought to the surface.

Previous to Roxane being raped, she was considered to be an attractive, young girl. Needing to deviate from past impressions of herself, she sought to reach the identity she thought she deserved. Gay let people use her body and treat her in whichever way they pleased because she deserved no better. Insecurities lead to larger health problems for Roxane. Throughout life, Roxane learned to hate herself and her body due to her past experiences. In highschool and beyond the self loathing worsened: "I became more and more disgusted with myself. I was convinced that having been raped was my fault, that I deserved it, that what happened in the woods was all a pathetic girl like me could expect" (82). Roxane Gay feels as if her past identity as a "pathetic girl" is the reason such an unfortunate event happened to her. Other individuals often believe the same because with no clear reason as to why these circumstances would befall them, there is no one left to blame but themselves. Roxane and others with alike views morph their perspectives to fit the new identities they create for themselves in the after, forgetting that the before ever even existed. Furthermore, Roxane sought to reach her intended identity by satisfying her hunger, a hunger which so happened to be unsatisfiable. Based on past experiences, Roxane tends to shift her identity overtime to accommodate what she believes herself to be worthy of. When talking about her relationships she states: "I accepted this because I did not deserve kindness or a gentle touch...sweet words were not for girls like me" (242). With the past plaguing Roxane Gay at every turn, she lets herself succumb to those who do not appreciate her. Others who have been assaulted or hurt throughout their lives grow used to being treated poorly and expect no different. For Roxane and individuals with related views of themselves, perspectives and identities are usually negative. Being hurt so badly and often over the years Roxane does not realize she deserves different. She is heavy, therefore she should be treated poorly. She was violated, therefore she should be taken advantage of. There is no in between for Roxane and others who have dealt with the same issues. The way they look at themselves changes their identities, arises insecurities, and leads to larger physical and mental problems.

Roxane Gay was raped at the age of twelve. She wants to disappear. She wants to get rid of her hunger. Roxane needs to satisfy her hunger and soon sees it is unsatisfiable. To cope with this epiphany, Roxane transitions her views on her identity over time and lets her insecurities get the best of her. Insecurities dominate every corner of her life and cause much larger issues socially, physically, and mentally. The sexual assault experienced as a child creeps into adulthood and leaves Roxane hungry. As Roxane slowly recovers from her past the constant hunger will fade away, leaving a person who can hopefully be comfortable in their own skin.


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