Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
BostonOrBust
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Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby BostonOrBust » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:41 am

Hi everyone!

I'm wondering about my personal statement. I am taking a huge risk and hoping someone can tell me if I'm crossing a line. In college I dated someone who was extremely abusive and repeatedly raped me. I ended up involved in court/legal stuff as a result. We're a few years out from this and everything is resolved. I have pursued a career in advocating for victims. I've been working as a sexual assault survivor advocate for a few years, and I am going to law school because I want to be a victim rights attorney.

My personal statement basically tells this story. There are no gory details, no emotions or waxing poetic about my recovery. It simply states that this was my experience, this is what I learned, this is how I apply it in my current work and how I will apply it to my work as a victim rights attorney.

To me it is the only thing I can think to write about. This is my entire reason for doing the work I currently do and for pursuing law. Anything else would not be authentic.

My stats, as they stand, are in/around the 75th for my top picks (which are fairly mid to low-mid range schools.) Since I'm public interest focused, I'm trying to show my passion for PI and hopefully cash in on some PI scholarships, so I'm wondering if it's worth the risk. Any advice would be appreciated.

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stego
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby stego » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:10 am

Not an expert on this kind of thing but since it has motivated your past career decisions and informs the type of law you want to do, I think it makes sense for your personal statement.

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mjb447
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby mjb447 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:41 am

There are probably a lot of ways to go wrong writing a statement on a topic like that, but, given your experiences, it sounds like a statement on that topic is warranted and I bet you can get it to work.

tinycatfriend
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby tinycatfriend » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:09 pm

I used a similar topic, for similar reasons. So far I haven't been dinged yet. I think as long as it's part of the narrative of your life - which it clearly is - it's ridiculous not to use it. Be aware of some stumbling blocks...

mine were:

relitigating my case
Talking more about the struggles around the assault than how it focused me
Tying in more with school

basically, my issue was making the assault part too large and the post-assault part smaller - I refocused that in future drafts, but some words of advice

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tncats
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby tncats » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:13 pm

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Last edited by tncats on Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Monday
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby Monday » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:01 pm

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Last edited by Monday on Wed May 10, 2017 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Thomas Hagan, ESQ.
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby Thomas Hagan, ESQ. » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:22 pm

Sounds like this past helped define who you are and why you want to go to law school. Perfect topic, in my opinion.

Sorry for what you've been through but best of luck in the future!

emilulah
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby emilulah » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:53 pm

I wrote my personal statement on a very similar topic because it's part of who I am today, it explains a few discrepancies in my transcripts AND it was the reason I decided to pursue law school. It felt risky, but last year I resisted writing my PS on the topic of sexual assault/harassment and was dinged at a few schools that I've was accepted to this year with very little change in my application (same GPA/LSAT/LORs) other than writing a completely new personal statement on a so-called risky topic. I think it was the honesty and earnestness that comes through when writing about something that feels imperative to share with your audience.


So long as you write it in a way that doesn't come across as self-pitying or sympathy-seeking, you should write it! At the very least write a draft of it and see how it feels once you've written it.

BostonOrBust
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby BostonOrBust » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:51 pm

Thank you everyone for the support and the advice. Yes-- my main concern was getting dinged by schools that I consider well in range due to the topic so it's comforting to hear that that has not been peoples' experience! And thanks for the advice about how to pull it off as well. I've drafted and redrafted and had a ton of good advice from editors on how to make the assault part small and the "now I'm kicking a** part" big. :D

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Incrementalist
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby Incrementalist » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:41 pm

I really don't see the risk because you explained how it effected you and how you have learned from the experience. You also said you are writing about how you plan to implement your life experience into your career as an attorney. Personally I like when people share their own personal stories because we all have them and they shape us into the people we ultimately become. I think it's a good topic.

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tncats
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby tncats » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:24 am

.

[sorry, accidental post when I tried to edit my comment.]
Last edited by tncats on Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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floatie
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby floatie » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:54 am

Definitely write about that. If a school dings you because the topic is too "risky" that's probably not a school that would be a good fit for you, anyways.

Monday
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby Monday » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:55 am

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Last edited by Monday on Thu May 11, 2017 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tncats
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby tncats » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:58 am

Monday wrote:
floatie wrote:Definitely write about that. If a school dings you because the topic is too "risky" that's probably not a school that would be a good fit for you, anyways.

I'm quite certain OP already did. tncats sort of necro'd.


yeah, I hit the wrong button trying to delete my old comment. oops.

thatblondegirl
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Re: Risky Topic (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence)

Postby thatblondegirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:16 pm

This type of statement has the potential to be extremely powerful and I commend you for being willing to write about your experience. I ended up including an application addendum addressing a similar experience to explain the discrepancies in my LSAT scores. In that addendum I kept the details vague and made sure to focus on how I have healed and grown post-assault. As tinycat said, make sure that the statement focuses heavily on the post-assault part of your life and how it focused your goals.




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