I am a South African immigrant to America. My family moved here when I was 12 years old for my father’s job. Moving internationally during middle-school or adolescent years is difficult in itself. Besides sitting in class not speaking any English, being forced to stand up to pledge allegiance, or being teased and bullied for my accent, my clothing, my hair, and being from the “country of Africa,” I quickly fell victim to repeated and daily sexual harassment and assault in school. I admittedly welcomed what I perceived and was told was simply male affection and flirting. Any attention at this point in my life was good attention and other girls seemed envious that boys took interest in me so I thought it was a good thing. From getting cat called everyday, having my ass grabbed as I moved through the hallways, groped by boys I didnt know in class, being flashed, bet on, fought over who gets to date me, or asked if I would perform sexual acts on a random basis became extremely normal and intertwined with my educational experience. I thought this is America. This is what it means to be a woman. This is what it looks like to be loved. Teachers and other students saw and heard everything, yet no one protested, so then it must be good right? This led to a spiral of abusive relationships, more assaults in high school, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and panic attacks, being emotionally numb, and distancing myself in every way from my own family- the only people I had with me in this country. I later realized that maybe my immigration status and my nationality had something to do with it. I was told numerous times that I was “exotic,” my curvy figure it BECAUSE Im South African, that I was “foreign” and therefore assumed to be more “willing” to be sexual etc. I was also of course disrespected for strictly being an immigrant, but the two became meshed and seemed to exist together. I also thought I was alone of course until the #Metoo movement gave me and a group of girls in my dorms the confidence to confide in one another and find that we weren’t alone at all.