How to Heal A Paper Cut
“The college I attended (Penn State Schuylkill) had an orientation on sexual assault for all incoming freshmen. The thing is, you think this doesn’t apply to you when you watch the informational videos and don’t take it seriously. I didn’t pay attention when the video was shown. I remember the nurse passing around condoms and was thinking this is pointless, I want to leave. I didn’t take it seriously…not knowing that a week later it would happen to me.”
This assault dramatically altered Nikki G.’s life. The aspiring actor from LA by way of Philly discusses the serious issue of sexual assault in her upcoming book, How To Heal A Paper Cut.
Nikki provides an in-depth description of her experience as a sexual assault survivor, advice to those who are/were in her position, as well as the reasoning for writing the book.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) defines sexual assault as “a crime of power and control…refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.”
Nikki thought this could never happen to her. She was starting a new chapter in life as a college freshman and wanted to meet new people. She and her two roommates decided to have a party at their off-campus house and invite people over. This was something they did often, but one night, things took a turn for the worst:
“This one particular night this guy I knew brought one of his friends that I didn’t know very well. His friend was someone who took advantage of me that night and I was sexually assaulted in my room. To this day, it’s been a struggle because I felt like I was taken advantage of, especially trusting others coming into my home and thinking i was safe.”
The next day, Nikki’s room was in disarray.
“The couch in my room was barricading my door, my jeans were off and he was still in my room,” Nikki said. She did not know how to react since she never drank to the point where she got drunk, and only had a small amount of her drink.
Nikki put on clothes, left the room and began pacing the hallway, asking herself a plethora of questions, desperately trying to figure out what happened.
“I panicked and went into the bathroom and remained there for 30 minutes until I heard him leave the house.”
Once he left, Nikki ran to her roommates’ rooms and informed them of what had happened and asked what she should do.
“We were all scared, we were afraid to reach out to police because we were underage (18), and drinking” she said. “We felt like we would get in trouble.”
They also felt the best thing to do at the time was to “sweep it under the rug.” Nikki added, “Little did I know that it would haunt me years later because we didn’t know any better.”
Nikki believes that there were a number of things that she did not do that she should have and still regrets years later. As a result, she wanted to write a book for women who may have gone through similar situations and need advice, especially in colleges.
She also believes that she was drugged. Nikki stated:
“I never knew there was a ‘rape kit’, so I didn’t know that I could go to a hospital and get checked out to see if I was drugged, but my friends and I felt like we were. If you drink, you know your limit. I didn’t have any shots and only had a gulp of my drink. I remember everything leading up to it. The only explanation I have was that he drugged me. I just remember the next day, seeing how we left the place…the cup was still on the table practically full. How could that happen if I wasn’t drugged?”
She also discusses in her book that the guy came to her house with an open bottle of alcohol. Nikki and her friends didn’t think anything of it then, but they could have drunk from a bottle that was tampered with.
Nikki withheld information from the police, as well as her family. Her mom would always warn her about the dangers of drinking with people she did not know. She advised her to never put her drink down and to carry it wherever she went.
“The last thing I wanted to do was tell her it happened to me because I didn’t want to disappoint her after she warned me about it before.”
In her junior year, her mom gave her another lecture and Nikki got frustrated.
“I told her mom it’s too late. You told me, and I know I should have listened before, but it already happened.”
Her mom was speechless and didn’t have anything to say at the time. “She was thrown off by it” Nikki said.
As for her family, it was a shock to them as well because they did not find out until she began promoting her book.
“I hid it from them because I was ashamed about it” she said. Nikki felt like she was the only one that went through her experience, even though so many go through it daily. Once she told them, they embraced her with love and support. Her family assured her they were there for her, and even expressed that they knew and were sexual assault survivors.
This was also another reason Nikki decided to share her story. She did not want women to feel alone.
Nikki continued to see her attacker at the college.
“I could tell that he felt uneasy when he saw me because, and I know I sound crazy, I would stare him down like I wanted to harm him, but was never brave enough to do anything to that degree.”
She admits it was difficult seeing him on campus, but also felt as if she was being strong by staying at the school.
“I felt like I was being courageous. I’m still in school with this guy that did something horrible to me, and I thought I was being brave and standing up to him.”
Her attacker transferred to another Penn State campus, but Nikki would still see him at school events. It “ate her up inside” because she knew that he was drugging other girls’ drinks.
“I thought, if he’s doing this, why isn’t anyone speaking up? But at the same time, I wasn’t brave enough to speak up about it, so I figured everyone was reacting the same way I was.”
Nikki remained at the campus for two years, then transferred to Penn State Main. She wanted the full college experience, as well as her desired major.
With a new atmosphere, Nikki continued to heal and practice self-care. But, at times she felt helpless and alone:
“I prayed a lot. I actually would scream at God because I didn’t know what to do. When you’re sexually assaulted, you blame yourself, you feel like it’s your fault, and it can alter your character as well. I felt myself changing into someone who wasn’t me. I prayed and asked for help, but was also depressed.”
Nikki went through periods of isolation. She felt that she was being annoying by constantly talking about her feelings and did not want to trouble friends with her problems.
For self-care, she joined a church and began to fellowship with others. This allowed Nikki to know people better, as well as learn that some of them were sexual assault survivors as well. She also performed a spoken word piece describing her experience.
“This was really helpful in finding myself, because for a long time, I felt lost.”
Nikki also received professional help after a good friend set up appointments for her to see a counselor. In her junior year, she confided to this friend about what happened and he decided to help Nikki take the next steps toward healing.
“I confided in him because it still bothered me and hindered me from dating, and I had the fear of not being in control of situations.”
She took a chance and went to counseling, but felt it would have been beneficial to prolong her sessions. Due to her workload as a senior, she was unable to:
“I needed to go to counseling long-term, because I would find myself falling under again, after I stopped going. Even though it’s an incident that you may not remember or took five minutes, it has a long-term effect on you. Seek counseling or something that is therapeutic for you. It’s been six years, and it is still a challenge for me. I feel like writing a book was therapeutic for me.”
In writing her book, Nikki said it was a long process, due to her traumatic experience. She did not want to re-live those moments, but had to get them on paper to share her story with others.
“I took my time and made sure I didn’t leave anything out that was informative for anyone who may be in the same situation. Not only do I give my experiences, but I also provide helpful steps for someone who has been sexually assaulted in order to heal.”
Her advice to those who want to spread awareness on sexual assault is to have speakers engage in conversation with students as well as inform adults.
“Maybe if you hear the experiences from the victims instead of watching a video that is dramatized, it would be better.”
She also suggests telling an adult that you are comfortable with, and not friends your own age. They can offer beneficial advice, as well as handle the situation in the correct way. “It doesn’t really help because we don’t think things through, we think about the now instead of the long-term effects.”
Nikki wants her book to continue to increase awareness of sexual assault, as well as have others become non-judgmental of those who have experienced it.
“I need people that have friends who have gone through this to be able to empathize because if you haven’t been sexually assaulted, you may not understand the after effects of it.”
The release date for her book is set for January 16, 2016 and will be available on Amazon.
The title of the book also holds a special meaning for Nikki:
“I’m a writer, so titles mean everything to me. I chose the title for the book because when you have a paper cut, it is the most painful thing and you can barely see it, but can feel it. It is annoying and no one else knows you’re cut, but you do. A lot of people didn’t know the situation I was going through, but I felt it and knew it. It was my way of comparing it to a paper cut how painful and invisible they are to the rest of the world. No one else knows that you’ve been hurt, except you.”
The cover art was designed by a friend from her church. Nikki originally had a design, but had plans to change it. Her friend was a graphic designer, and took it upon herself to develop the art after Nikki told her the premise of the book, as well as her cover art idea.
“People on the outside didn’t see what I did, so I felt like the cover art explains the paper cut concept perfectly” Nikki said.
Nikki also created a video promo for her book and received countless messages from the public asking to turn it into a webseries.
“I never thought of doing that because the video was only provided to give insight on the premise of the book.” She wanted the promo to be short, so that the viewers would want more and buy the book.
Hopefully, a webseries will be next on her list of endeavors.
Contact Nikki G. at:
For more information on sexual assault, visit: