TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT CONTENT
This story is written and shared with parental consent.
“At first, I was in a total state of shock, then, that feeling built up into so many emotions, ones I never even knew,” recalls the now 16-year-old about a night in 2019 that was supposed to be a harmless sleepover at her friend’s house. One that leaves a young girl filled with fun memories of popcorn, pj’s, and movies the morning after. Instead, Logan was left wrestling with why her comfort, happiness, and trust was taken, when she found herself desperately trying to escape a nightmare she never could have imagined at such a young age.
“When I first heard footsteps in the living room where I had been sleeping, I didn’t think much of it, but then they got closer and when I opened my eyes, I saw my friend’s father kneeling very close to the couch I was settled on. It was so weird,” Logan explains. “He stuck his hand in my bra and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, what is happening?” Panicked, the tween tried to shrug him off, hoping he would leave her alone. “He took his hand out of my bra and put it onto my thigh,” she says. “But I think I startled him somehow, he seemed to be aware that I was not going to let this happen—he sort of stumbled backwards and fell, and that’s when my friend’s mom walked in,” explains Logan, who took that opening to get away from her attacker and out of the house by saying she felt sick and calling her parents to pick her up right away. “I didn’t know what to do so I just tried to hold myself together until my dad got there, and as soon as I left and the door shut behind me, I broke down,” shares Logan.
Later that morning, Logan was at the police station, stuffy in hand, with her parents (Chris and Monica Winn) by her side, reporting the incident that scarred her innocence. Everything from the man’s inappropriate tickling earlier in the evening, to the touching and torment.
“It was very hard speaking up about it, but I knew I had to do it.”
“It was very hard speaking up about it, but I knew I had to do it,” Logan says. “Especially going to the station and explaining all the details to the officers…and then through the case and at court. I was just a little kid and I had to face a lawyer telling me I was lying, which was really hard.” The already challenging process of going through the legal proceedings—difficult for adult victims of sexual assault, exponentially so for a child—morphed into a three-year long saga as a result of COVID-19 closures. But Logan says she learned to look at the extended timeline as a positive. “Over the three years, I had space to grow and mature mentally. To understand what to stay focused on instead of being scared—I thought about why I was doing this. I often wondered why I was putting myself in this really difficult position… My parents and I talked about the fact that it was going to be very hard, but that speaking up with my truth was the right thing to do—to give me some peace, to make sure this adult was held accountable for his actions, and to let other girls going through something similar know they have a voice, too.” In fact, that was so important to Logan that she didn’t even allow the extra layer of mental trauma caused by the cyber bullying she was experiencing to tear her down. “Some kids at other schools were calling me a liar, sending and posting really mean messages saying I was going to send an innocent man to jail.” Her parents helped her get through it by addressing each cruel account with the kids’ parents and school principals.
It was those years that forced Logan to grow up in a way, learning the harsh realities of the world. It was also the time that she discovered a safe, positive, effective way to manage the stress that comes with experiencing heavy things.
“I started working out at the gym with my dad. It felt like a good distraction, focusing on doing something positive for myself,” she says. “Being in the gym distracted me from others, and helped me realize that even though I went through this awful setback, I was still very capable, and I had great things in my life.”
Logan says at first, she didn’t really understand what lifting weights could do beyond building aesthetics, or strength for sports like soccer—which she dedicates her life to as she works towards her goal of earning a D1 scholarship to a university/college. “Looking back, now, I know I did it more for the mental part, how it made me feel in my head. Because when I’m working out, it feels like I'm in a whole different world. My mind is happy, not stressing me out. And I don’t get that same feeling from going on a walk or being in school,” she explains. “You don’t realize it, but when you’re lifting weights your head just goes in a different place, escaping reality. It felt so good when I wasn’t thinking about any of the issues. I know now that if I didn’t have the gym and soccer, what happened would hurt a lot more.”
The gym is something Logan continues to rely on to maintain her well-being. It’s also connected her in a significant way with both her parents, who make training a consistent part of their lifestyle. Her mom, Monica Winn, is a women’s fitness coach (@coachmonwinn) and speaks openly about the mental health benefits of training. In fact, this summer Monica will be speaking at the canfitpro Women Who Influence event addressing the topic of courage—Logan will be her special guest.
“Being in the gym distracted me from others, and helped me realize that even though I went through this awful setback, I was still very capable and I had great things in my life.”
“I'm not a big fan of speaking in front of large crowds, but I’m excited to participate because I know it’s going to help so many people, me being honest and telling my story. I’ve told it hundreds of times to people in my life and doing it this way will let more girls and women know they’re not alone and I think that’s most important when you go through something like this. You need to know there are so many people who can help you through it,” explains Logan. “For me, I had the support of the people around me, especially my family, and the police officers. I also had a special counsellor at school through the rest of grade six and it was a huge help, being able to open up to someone whose job it is to be supportive and say the right things. I had shut down a lot, and having her I was able to open up about it, to deal with it.”
Staying focused on her big scholarship goal is what drives Logan these days. “Everything I do is about working for that,” she says. “My team trains Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and we have a game during the week. I eat super healthy, stay hydrated, and make sure any training in the gym supports what I’m doing on the field.”
She says although not a lot of girls she knows her age enjoy going to the gym and working out, she just sticks with it anyway. “It can be hard sometimes to get that motivation, but when some of my friends ask me to hang out, I often say ‘Sorry, I have a workout,’ and they see I have a dedication to something big. They realize I do this for myself. They see how it makes me feel—confident and strong. Some of them have even come to me for advice about training and I love that, to be able to help them with something I know can have a big impact on how they feel.”
Logan has certainly learned how to stay focused on the positive, but she says there’s still a lot of ups and downs and the win comes in accepting that. “It’s okay to feel upset in the moment, a month after, or even now, five years since it happened. Sometimes I think about it and get teary-eyed, and I used to tell myself I had to suck it up, but not anymore. I understand this is something that will affect me my whole life, and it’s okay to feel upset or angry when those emotions show up.” Leaning into her life motto, “Everything happens for a reason,” also helps. “I know there’s controversy surrounding that idea,” she says, “but it makes sense to me, and it’s how I look at things now. I didn’t realize at the time why such a horrible thing happened to me. But today, I feel like it made me more confident. I think it happened to make me stronger and push my limits to realize how brave I am and that I can get through anything.” Just the kind of mindset that’s helping her inch closer to achieving her scholarship dream every day.
Brave. Resilient. Strong. This is how Logan feels now.