Jade Roper, known for her appearance as a competitor on The Bachelor, took to the Internet to speak publicly for the first time about being a raped as a teenager. She was inspired to share her story after watching Lady Gaga's passionate performance at the 2016 Oscars® of "Til It Happens to You," a song about sexual assault.
Jade endured years of psychological trauma as a result of the rape, draining her of self-esteem and leading her to blame herself for the assault. Jade says that when one therapist asked her to name five things that she liked about herself, she couldn't name a single one, believing herself to be "worthless."
Jade says she was emotionally overwhelmed by Lady Gaga's performance, which featured real survivors of sexual violence, who stood in solidarity onstage with the artist. The next morning, Jade wrote a blog post about her own experience with rape. She told her newlywed husband, Tanner Tolbert, about being compelled to post the piece to the Web, saying to him, "I don't know what I'm doing, but I think I need to share this," and Tanner fully supported her decision.
Since then, Jade says, her experience has been good yet scary. "I feel very vulnerable," she says.
Although her revelation and the subsequent response was and has been extremely challenging, Jade says, the thought of having daughters one day made her realize that she wanted to set a good example for them and for others who might one day face an experience like the one she endured in high school.
"I know that I needed to deal with it at some point," she says, "and it's been a long time."
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