Living Unbroken 

When you feel strong, you become strong. 

I had no idea I needed this. I had no idea I still needed to heal. I didn’t know my heart still hurt. I didn’t know I still saw doubt in every familiar face. I didn’t recognize how much I was guarding my heart. I didn’t know I still so desperately needed someone to say I believe you

My intention for this year of life was to prove to myself that I am strong. I lined up at the start line of the Shamrock Half Marathon with a simple statement on the back of my race bib: Permission to be Unbreakable. As race day approached, I wrote these words on this blog:

2016 is different. 2016 is the year I write my own story. This blank slate is giving me the opportunity to launch myself down whatever path I choose. There is no heartache to overcome. There is nothing to heal, fix or piece together. I am whole. 

I believed it with my whole heart. 

Except. 

Except there was still a crack. There was still doubt. There was still a shadow clinging to everything I did. I still didn’t believe that I was unbreakable. I still didn’t believe that I was strong. I had been broken. I had been raped. How I viewed myself, how I spoke to myself, and how I believed in myself had been rewired. I was wired with doubt. 

That doesn’t go away without awareness. This week I’ve become aware. 

A few months ago, I was lifting weights. The owner of Evofit looked at me. She said You don’t have an aggressive bone in you body, do you? It was very much a truthful observation. Her words stuck with me. They’ve motivated me. This week I’ve become aware of why. 

I still didn’t believe I was allowed to fight for myself. 

I still didn’t believe I was allowed to be strong. 

Every time I’ve hit publish on a piece of my story this week, I’ve silenced those beliefs. Every time you’ve read my words, you’ve help me rewire my approach to myself. 

This week has been a lot. I’ve cried. I’ve felt triumphant. I’ve felt empowered. I’ve cried. I’ve cried more. I’ve cried tears for your stories, and I’ve cried tears of release for my story. 

All week I’ve thought to myself when you’re strong you become strong. 

Before strength can ever manifest itself on the outside, I needed to believe it on the inside. I needed to truly believe it. This week I have found my strength. I’ve found it emotionally. I’ve found it physically. 

I didn’t need to believe that I was whole. I’ve always believed that about myself. I needed to believe that I wasn’t broken. 

Healing is something that continuously happens over a lifetime. Being aware of my internal strength will carry me through the process. I will always look back at this week every time I need a reminder. 

My quest for strength also continues. It’s time to live like I’m unbreakable. Finding my strength is now about potential. What can I achieve now that I believe I won’t break? 

It’s time to find out. 

A 70lb PR on Tuesday
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Box of Truth

I used to keep a box on the floor of my closet. A lime green cardboard box contained every piece of paper collected during the legal process after my rape. Inside that box was my story: a Michael Jackson CD that was still covered in black finger print dust, printouts of his confession, copies of my medical documents. Every single thing that confirmed I was raped was inside that box. When my world would start to spin, I’d take it out of the closet. I’d lay out every document to settle my spinning heart. If I could see it, if I could read it, if it was in front of me in black and white, I could then fall asleep at night. 

When I meet Cole’s dad, I made him read all of it. I wanted to make sure he believed me. It was my box of truth, and I needed him to see it. 

When we moved to Alabama, that box was placed in my car. I couldn’t risk it being lost by the movers. It was my truth, and I needed to protect it. I repeated the same pattern when I moved to Tennessee. 

One day, as I was packing my belongs to move to a tiny apartment of my own, I came face to face with that box again. I was so sick of carrying it. I was done with the box. I was done carrying it inside of me. On the verge of divorce, I didn’t want to sit down with another person to share my box of truth. Instead of packing it, I took it in the backyard and burned it. 

I was done. That chapter was over. I promised to rid myself of it all. I promised myself I’d quit living inside that story. 

A few years later with the box turned to ashes, I was moving again. This time I was moving back to my hometown. I was moving back to the town where my rapist lived. I was moving back to the community that felt unsafe and scary. 

I didn’t want to move. I was scared. I didn’t want to face the faces of my past. I didn’t want to cross paths with the anger I felt lived in this town. I moved anyways. I needed my family. My son needed his grandparents. We desperately needed support. 

It had been nine years since the day I was raped. It had been eight years since the court system failed me. Certainly people matured and moved on. 

Two weeks after I moved home, I realized that some people never mature and move on. After a long night of waiting tables, I stopped at 7-11 to buy milk for Cole. He would need it for his breakfast. I grabbed the milk, turned around, and came face to face with two girls from high school. 

Are you Kristy Larson? 

You’re the one who accused (insert name) of rape? 

Insert long rant of name calling and physical assertiveness. 

A police officer showed up. He was her boyfriend. 

When is this ever going to go away! I don’t want to live this story anymore. I left crying and trembling and screaming. 

A few weeks later, I meet Christian. Where was my box of truth? Those girls made it clear that I’d never be able to move on. I would need to share this story with everyone I ever met. I’d never be able to be just Kristy. 

One night before we headed out to a concert, I sat beside Christian. I started to tell him my story. He needed to know it in case any of those drama-driven, gossip-hungry teenagers showed up again. I would not let them define me. I would not let them scare me. 

Christian stopped me after I said the words I was raped. He hugged me. He told me he didn’t care. He didn’t want to know the details. He couldn’t hear the details. His heart couldn’t hear the details. He held me, and he told me he’d take care of me. 

Christian and I saw one of those girls that night. Fortunately she stayed quiet, but sadly that night in 7-11 isn’t the only reminder of my rape I’ve experienced since moving back to my hometown. I’ve heard whispers between friends. That’s Kristy Larson while touring homes at homearama. I’ve been met by glares while grocery shopping. A person changed aisles while shopping at target. 

While they haven’t matured or moved on, I certainly have. It’s been a long time since I needed to pull the box of truth out of my closet. It’s been a long time since I needed to see it in black and white. When I met Christian, I didn’t need that box of truth. I didn’t need papers to validate my story. He believed me, and more importantly I BELIEVED ME. 

Another article about the Stanford rapist filled my Facebook newsfeed last night.  A statement was released by the lawyer of his victim. 

“I remain anonymous, yes to protect my identity. But it is also a statement, that all of these people are fighting for someone they don’t know. That’s the beauty of it. I don’t need labels, categories, to prove I am worthy of respect, to prove that I should be listened to. I am coming out to you as simply a woman wanting to be heard. Yes there is plenty more I’d like to tell you about me. For now, I am every woman.”

I applaud this woman, and I hope she remains anonymous. While there are millions of people just like me who want to celebrate her, support her, and thank her, there will always be a handful of people who thrive on anger. 

Their words hurt. Their actions are loud. Sometimes it takes eighteen years to hear the kindness. Sometimes it takes eighteen years to make the decision to no longer participate in the drama of something that happened to me when I was eighteen. 

The first eighteen years of my life I was naive. I had no fear. I was shy, awkward, and kind. The last eighteen years I’ve spent living inside a story. It’s followed me like a shadow. No longer naive, I’ve been afraid. I’ve been afraid to be strong. Staring down the next eighteen years of my life, I have a very simple intention. 

I plan on celebrating the fact that I am unbreakable. I plan on raising boys who are strong, kind and good.  

My story now belongs to you. It belongs to the people who need to find their strength. It belongs to those who are hurt and feeling broken. 

I promise you we are all unbreakable. 

Kindness is Quiet

“I’ve decide it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.” ~Nadezhda Mandelstam

When I hit publish on the first blog post, So much more than no means no, I felt like an eighteen year old version of myself. I trembled. I took a shower and cried. In that shower and with those tears, I washed away the fear. I became empowered.

I couldn’t sleep Monday night. A crack in my silence had formed, and I needed to get it out. I needed my words, my story, my voice on paper. In the dark while my house fell asleep, I wrote.

Yesterday I went to hit publish again. It was time to scream: I was raped. I trembled. I took another shower and cried. This time it was a release. My body was squeezing out every what if I have ever played in my head. I was releasing every doubt, every bit of self blame, and every insecurity I’ve ever held. Putting my story on paper and hitting publish gave me my voice back. My story was no longer my burden to carry alone. I gave it back to the universe.

Every single one of you caught me. You stood beside me. By reading my words, you offered to carry the weight with me.

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. You all have flooded me with love and compassion. You’ve lifted me up. You’ve celebrated my voice. You’ve made me feel safe. You’ve trusted me with your secrets.
At first it was my dear friends. The people who love me best today stood beside me. Then it was the people who loved me most during that year of my life. My heart exploded. I took the most comfort in the support from the people who have always provided it. Then friends of friends started reaching out followed by people I’ve never met. The ripple effect was beginning. My screams were being heard around the world.

Then I started to hear your stories too. My heart broke every time I received a message. I will carry your weight too. I will catch you. You are not alone. We are all stronger together. The words of support I received belong to you too. Please read them all. They are yours to keep.

I couldn’t hear them when I was raped. During that year of my life, I heard the hatred. I felt the anger from all of his supporters. It was all I noticed. Eighteen years later, I see them for what they were: A small pack of teenagers who needed to be angry at someone. They were small in comparison to all of you.

You didn’t just show up yesterday. You’ve been here the whole time.

Kindness is quiet. It doesn’t scream from the rooftops. It doesn’t flood the streets of town with energy and anger. It doesn’t need to. It is kind. It is gentle. It is authentic. But what if it did? What if kindness flooded the streets with the same energy as anger?

In our broken society, we see and hear the broken.  We feel the anger. We highlight and focus on the bad, but kindness is everywhere.

I am so sorry I couldn’t feel your kindness more. It was everywhere. From the boy who was brave enough to still like me the summer after high school. You brought me strawberry gum and candles because you knew I loved strawberries. I liked you too, but I was afraid. I no longer trusted the intentions of men, and I couldn’t see that you genuinely liked me. To the friends who didn’t know what do with this topic, neither one of us knew how to navigate the space. So many of you said sorry yesterday. I am sorry too. At eighteen, none of us should have to know how to deal with this. I’m sorry I didn’t trust your kindness. I’m sorry I let myself believe that no one believed me. To the people I let in, to the people who chose to love me, thank you. You are brave. You are strong. You suffered beside me, but I took all the attention. It was my burden to carry, but it spilt over on to you. Thank you for being strong enough to figure it out with me.

I’m going to beg you all one more time. If you’ve taken the time to read this, help me make kindness loud. Today our world is flooded with anger. It’s flooded with ego. It’s flooded with entitlement. It’s running for President. It’s raising our children. It’s shaping our future.

Let’s make the world noisy with kindness. Be kind to your neighbor. Accept people for who they are. Celebrate our stories. Let’s assume we are all doing the best that we can, and let’s help each other do better. You all have showed me how to do it.

Show up.

We are stronger together.

A few years ago, I got an email from my rapist. He wanted to know why I did that to him back then. I considered ignoring him, but I couldn’t. My response was simple. He has a different memory from that day. It has taken me my entire lifetime to recover from what he did to me, and I hope he can find his happiness as well.

I tip toed around my story in this blog post: Loving Kindness. I wasn’t brave enough to share my truth then, but my heart found forgiveness. Today my heart has the same wish.

May I be filled with loving kindness

May I be well

May I be peaceful and at ease 

May I be happy

May you be filled with loving kindness

May you be well

May you be peaceful and at ease 

May you be well

Please keep sharing. Please keep celebrating the young woman who was raped in Stanford. Let her feel our kindness. Share her story. Share my story. Share your story. But let’s heal the hearts of our rapist and their families too.  We have to stop the cycle. It doesn’t come from healing the survivors. It comes from healing the attackers. I hope that the Stanford rapist’s dad is able to fully examine how he lives life. I hope the rapist becomes aware of his evil. I hope my rapist can heal and do something wonderful with his life. I hope we can all heal.

It is not us versus them. It is us. It is all of us.

Help me make kindness heard. I’m so tired of anger being the only thing we hear.

May you be filled with loving kindness 

May you be well

May you be peaceful and at ease

May you be happy



I was raped 

For five years, I’ve shared my story in this space but I always avoided it. I danced around it. I alluded to it. But I never acknowledged it. I never said the words I was raped on paper until yesterday. It’s never been a secret. It’s something I share in conversation with friends. It’s something I’ve never hid from, but why was I hiding here. Why did I consciously choose to not share? 

The answer is simple. Fear. I was afraid. I was afraid of people believing me. I was afraid people from my past would verbally attack me again. I was afraid I would be called a liar. I didn’t want to relive the trauma – not of the rape but of not being believed. 

Recent news has brought attention to the rape culture in our society. Today in 2016 a dad of a rapist believes that six months in jail is “too steep a price to pay for 20 minutes of action.” Today in 2016 a judge believes that six months in jail is a worthy sentencing for a man who raped an unconscious woman. When is our society going to stand together and say enough is enough. You will not do this to our children. You can not sexually violate my daughter or my son. 

Rape is historically a silent crime. The victims suffer in silence. 68% of all rapes are not reported to the police. 98% of rapist won’t spend one single day in jail. By remaining silent, we are sending the message that this is okay. IT IS NOT OKAY. It will never be okay. 

I remained quiet on my blog because of the same fear that silenced me in my journey. I was afraid, but today I’m breaking my silence. 

This is my story. 

This is my truth. 

I was raped. 


On May 4, 1998, a friend pulled into my driveway. As soon as I saw his car, my instincts told me to hide. I thought to myself, “I should pretend like I’m not home.” I quickly dismissed my thoughts as irrational, and I answered my door. We chatted. We hung out. He kissed me. He then disappeared upstairs. I called and called for him to come downstairs. He ignored me. Finally I ventured upstairs too. He needed to leave, but he wouldn’t get out.  He wouldn’t put me down. He wouldn’t stop touching me. He wouldn’t leave my pants on. He wouldn’t get off me. 

I begged him to stop. I said no over and over again. First as a statement then as a whisper. The more aggressive he became, the more I got lost in my fear. My nos turned to whispers. I became paralyzed by fear. I cried when he walked out of my room. As he finally went to walk out of my house he looked at me and said “I feel bad. You said no the whole time.” He left like nothing happened. He went about his day like what had just happened was normal. I was broken. 

I crawled into a ball on the couch because my bedroom felt disgusting. I cried myself to sleep. I entered a fog of confusion. In the days that followed, I seeked support. A phone call to a friend left me more confused. When I shared the details of the story, she told me “it’s normal. That happens to every girl.” Finally another friend looked at me and said “there is a term for what happened to you. It’s called date rape. Kristy, you were raped.” I was broken. 

My downward spiral continued. I slept in every class at school. A few teachers pulled me aside to ask if I was okay. I finally went to our brand new computer at home. We had just got internet and AOL. I searched date raped. I finally understood what happened to me. I understood the filth I felt all over my body. I was raped. I was broken. 

Four days after I was raped, I crawled into my parents bed late at night. I couldn’t stop crying. My dad had seen my searches on the computer. He knew. He called the police. 

What happened next I wasn’t prepared for. Police swarmed our house. Detectives took apart my bedroom. Fingerprint dust was spread on everything I remembered him touching. I was then taken to a local hospital with a rape center. In the middle of the night, I was escorted down back hallways to a secluded part of the hospital. I was greeted by a male nurse who explained everything that was about to happen. I was striped of my clothes. I was examined and photographed. Every part of my body was measured and touched and examined. My insides and my outsides were photgraphed. They were looking for all evidence of trauma. I laid naked on an examine table being photgraphed, and I cried.  I broke again. 

As wonderful as the detective was who oversaw my case, and as gentle and compassionate as the nurse was who guided me through a fragile moment, I felt exposed all over again, but this was just the beginning. 

My rapist was arrested at school. Rumors began to fly. He was released on bond, and quickly began talking. I became the attacker in the eyes of gossip-driven, drama-hungry high schoolers. I was the girl who cried rape. People stopped talking to me. They whispered as I walked by. Then it got worse. People started threatening to beat me up after school. I was afraid to walk down the hallways alone. I broke again. 

It didn’t stop. With my rapist back at school, I saw him. I saw him everywhere. I broke every single day. 

It didn’t stop there. In the middle of his science class, he threatened to kill me. He threatened to come to school and shoot me. He was finally asked to not return to school, but the attacks didn’t stop. His friends still threatened me. His supporters still tormented me. 

I was broken. I was lost. 

The next year of my life I relived every moment as I navigated the legal system. I went to therapy. I tried to create a life for myself that had nothing to do with rape, but it found me everywhere. I met my college boyfriend, and people told him not to date me because I was the girl who cried rape. While working at the mall, my rapist would walk back and forth in front of my store. My rape was everywhere. It clung to me. I couldn’t get it off my body or out of my life. I was broken. 

A year later, his court date finally arrived. Since it was the state versus my attacker, I was a witness in the courtroom. This meant I wasn’t allowed to be present during the court case. I could only be in the courtroom to testify and for the verdict. While I waited outside, I imagined pictures of my vagina being shown to the court, my rapist and his supporters. I know pictures of the lesions inside my body were shown. They shared my bruises. They shared my blood. They stole more of my privacy. 

During my testimony, I was asked hundreds of questions that felt irrelevant and confusing. Everyone wanted to know details about Internet searches and my understanding of the Internet. For what felt like a hour, I was asked about instant messaging and how I saved conversations. When he apologized to me for raping me over instant messager, I saved it. This became a focal point. When his highly paid attorney asked me questions, he got closer and closer to me in the witness stand. At one point his foot was propped up on the step that lead to my chair. I don’t know what he asked. I couldn’t breathe. My rapist was staring at me, and his lawyer was inches from my face. 

I was broken. Our system is broken. 

His lawyer is well known around town. He’s expensive, and to criminals, he’s worth every penny. I didn’t have a lawyer. I was a witness in a crime against the state of Virginia. The district attorney who was in charge of my case quit before the trail. The new lawyer meet me for the first time minutes before court began. 

He was found not guilty. He confessed to the detectives when he was arrested. He confessed to me over a recorded conversation set up by detectives. He apologized over instant messager. He was found not guilty. 

I ran and I ran and I ran. Down every flight of stairs in the courtroom. I ran until I hit a deadend, and I fell on the floor. I cried. I was broken. 

No one tells you what to do next. No one picks you up and tells you it’s okay. No one said they believed me. 

At nineteen years old, I had a solid (yet small) group of believers. My side of the courtroom was filled with my family, my boyfriend, and my two best friends. They believed me. They were my champions. They held me together when every piece of me fell apart. 

It’s been eighteen years, one month and  two days since I was raped. I take pride in overcoming something so large and so traumatic. I’m proud of my strength. But as I read the story of the rape survivor over the weekend, I still felt broken. I cried with her, and when she rose up and used her voice to fight back, I cheered her on! I would be her champion. I would share her words and rally behind her. But something deep inside of me still felt broken. Maybe you never heal. Maybe all the pieces never get put back together. 

I need to be her champion, but I need to be my champion too. 


For years I’ve been afraid. I’ve been afraid to put my story on paper because people don’t believe, didn’t believe, or won’t believe me. I don’t want to be the girl walking down the hallway in high school that hears nothing but whispers and fears for her physical safety. 

But this is my story. This is my truth. 

I was raped. 

But I’m not broken. 

I’ve always wonder which break hurt the worst: being raped or reliving the rape for the year after and during the trial. The wounds may heal, but the scars last a lifetime. 

I still panic the moment I feel like I don’t have control of my body. I’m sensitive to touch. I still have nightmares. 

But I’m not broken. 

Rape changed me forever. It altered my life path, and it has impacted all my life choices. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of my story. 

But it’s my story. It’s my story to tell. For nearly five years, I’ve avoided it because I still let the story belong to him. I let the story belong to his supports. 

Today I’m taking my voice back. 

I beg you. Please stand with me. Rape doesn’t come in one size fits all. It looks like my story. It looks like the woman’s story who was raped in Princton. It looks like the story of the approximately 293,000 woman and men who will be raped this year. We are millions of people strong. We deserve to have a voice. We deserve to be heard. We owe it to our children to rewrite the script of rape in our society. 

Share my story. Share your story. Please keep this conversation going. 

Rape is something that happened to me, but it is not who I am. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am strong. I am unbreakable. 

This is my story.