By Teri Vance
She wasn’t the kind of girl this kind of thing would happen to, Brooklyn Maw thought. So when Maw was sexually assaulted, she stayed quiet.
“One reason I didn’t report it was because I was so humiliated,” Maw said. “It was really important to me that I would be able to tell my husband someday, ‘I love you so much I waited my whole life for you.’”
Maw, now 21, was 18 and attending Western Nevada College when she met a guy at a University of Nevada, Reno football game. The two hit it off and he invited her to a party at his house that evening.
She went, but almost immediately felt uncomfortable.
“I didn’t like to party, so he asked me if I wanted to watch a movie with him upstairs,” Maw recalled.
Away from the crowd, he raped her.
Once she realized her friend downstairs couldn’t hear her screams, she lay silent — and for the most part remained silent for many months.
“I was bawling the whole way home,” she said. “I felt like I lost all that I was. Every piece of who
I thought I was, was taken from me.”
She told her grandma the next day, but no one else.
“Carson City is such a small town,” she said. “I thought people would look poorly on me or think poorly of my family because I did this to myself. I blamed myself for going to the party.”
She pulled away from friends and family, started skipping classes, a lot of days struggling to even get out of bed.
“I thought I’d get better just burying it inside,” she said. “But it made it worse.”
It got to where she was afraid of the dark, unable to sleep alone.
“I hated myself, absolutely hated myself,” Maw recalled.
It was nearly two years later when she was working a track meet with her dad that she ran into her attacker.
She broke down and finally told her dad everything. It confirmed what he’d already suspected and was waiting for her to be ready to talk about.
Together, they filled out a police report.
Around the same time, she found out two friends from high school had also been assaulted.
Neither reported the crimes.
It opened her eyes to the fact that there was no stereotype when it came to sexual assault.
She’s also learned not to blame herself.
Working with teens through Partnership Carson City’s One Up program, she talks about her experience.
She’s also running for Miss Nevada as Miss Silver State on the platform, “Sexual Assault, It’s Not Your Fault.”
“The biggest mistake I made was trying to get through it by myself,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to make the same mistakes I did.”
Maw and One Up students will be hanging jeans throughout the school in recognition of Denim Day to bring awareness to Sexual Violence Awareness Month in April.
“I’m taking my power back. I feel like I’m turning it into something good.”