Welcome to the SpeakOut! Blog

Break the silence that surrounds sexual assault, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, relationship abuse, stalking, hate crimes, and identity-based violence. Share your story here on our anonymous blog.

To speak about an experience with any form of interpersonal violence is difficult, but it is also empowering. Breaking the silence reduces shame and helps others to speak out about their own experiences.

End the shame. Be empowered. Speak Out!

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We are holding our first fall Speak Out! on Thursday, October 1st, 2015. For more information, check out the Facebook Event.

Because this blog features stories of interpersonal and sexual violence, we offer this *trigger warning* as a way of caution.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Testimonials

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

I submit one of these every semester and every semester I find that I can't bring myself to feel fully one with myself and with what happened to me. 
But this time, it isn't about what happened to me in my past, it is what happened to me LAST WEEKEND. The fucking weekend before Easter. 

My brother and I were out to dinner and we were having a good time. I bought his dinner...I even paid for his fiance's, too. But we went to his friend's house and he started drinking. Sure, I had a drink. Why not? 

Later that night my brother and his fiance and I went home and he started asking me to hit him. When I wouldn't he slammed me into the couch, burying my face into the couch. Then he made me stand up just so he could take my head and slam it into the hardwood floor. I laid there crying until he pulled a gun on me. I was motionless. I thought my life was over. But now that I look back, I realize that that wasn't what scared me. What scared me was the thought that he would do to me what my father did to me so many years ago. I was afraid I would have to learn to say the "r-word" again. I was in fear that I would have to go through what I went through when I was a little girl and when I was in high school. 

I don't know how to say this, but sexual assault, RAPE, has not ended. The fear, among all things, is still present among us. It still eats us, the survivors, NOT VICTIMS, alive. It curses us and makes us feel stamped. We are branded by the people that did this to us. But like all brands, they can be covered and healed. The scars will never leave but only become a mere memory of the pain we SURVIVED. 

To all my fellow survivors, and to anyone who might ever read this: I hope you will always know that I think of you often. I live for you and I get through my depression because of you. If for any moment you feel like you don't matter or you feel like you don't belong in this world of hate, you do. Because I need you. And I need you now more than ever. Because if you can't get through this and show the world you are meant for more in this life, then no one will be able to. 
It was a couple of days after my birthday and halfway through the first week of classes. How would you feel if one of your “so-called” best friends brought up the worst thing that ever happened to you, blamed you for it and pretended like it was the hot gossip of the week? That was me, except it wasn’t some childish gossip…it was one of the two singly most traumatic experiences that has ever happened to me. I was sexually assaulted in my ninth grade year of high school. Did I know that? No, but I felt uncomfortable. I thought I was helping one of the closest friends I made at school with a crisis. I thought he was going to get abused by his uncle if I didn’t help him. It was just his way of deceiving me. My “friend” had also done this to other guys at our high school…and he even got a restraining order placed on him. Where was I when all of this happening? Hiding. I was trying to dissociate myself from my assault. I was afraid of being blamed, feeling stupid, judged and knowing that I shouldn’t have let that happen to me. I didn’t know that was me. “How did you not know?” Said my “so-called friend” that goes here. All of us were in the same friend group. My perpetrator confided in you. He told you everything that he did…and you took his side. AND you blamed me!!! I have struggled with having two of my closest, best, whatever friends stab me in the back (over and over again with two machetes)…and just wanting everything to go back to normal. I have been depressed. Experienced suicidal ideation…like every other day on a weekly basis. My grades and academic ability have suffered. I have felt worthless, ashamed, stupid and victimized. Thanks my “so-called” friend for being the only other person to know and hurting me just the same. However, I am not going to let either of you curtail my road to success anymore! I thank God, because I wouldn’t have made it without Him and the angels he’s placed in my life. Yeah, this year has royally sucked. Yeah, I have felt like giving up. And yes, I have felt l was trapped and alone. But I am not alone. I am a survivor. I’m making it. I am thankful for growing this year…and being able to reach out now. If there’s one thing I can be grateful for…is that my pain doesn’t have to destroy me. I can help other people understand that if I made it…so can you. 
I don't know if I've experienced sexual violence, and I haven't known for about five years. 
I was thirteen years old going into high school, soon to turn fourteen, and eager to make friends. I laughed at everyone's jokes even if they weren't funny, and I tried my best to get along with everybody... even the obnoxious 16-year-old sophomore boys in my "Fundamentals of Technology" class, which was really just wood-shop. Maybe I was an easy mark to them, these three sophomore boys in my class. I don't remember the names of the other two, but one I clearly remember... blonde hair, blue eyes, pale skinned and short. 
I don't remember much, so I can't tell you much. I know that for the first few weeks they gave me attention, talked to me, and joined my group projects. I know I wanted to be "the cool kid", I wanted to be likable. I know it gradually got worse and worse. He would come up behind me when I wasn't expecting it and touch me, even while I was having conversations with other people. Every touch happened so quickly, so that one moment he was there and when I turned around he wasn't. I remember one time when he held me down and touched me while his friends took pictures. I'm sure I could've escaped his hold, if only I had put up a bit of a fight, but I didn't. I hadn't yet been taught how to say no, firmly, audibly. 
I remember coming into class early one day to finish some homework and leaning over the sharp edge of the wood-shop table, writing answers. I heard him come in with his friends, and I felt him as he pinned me against the table, my legs pressing into the sharp edges. "This is how you rape someone", he said, and he laughed, and they laughed... and I think I laughed. I laughed and laughed. He fumbled with the back of my shorts. I laughed. I laughed and I struggled, and I kicked the table so hard with my thigh that I thought I'd bleed. And I laughed. 
Maybe if I laughed, then it was a joke. 
It didn't feel like a joke. 
The teacher came in and he ran away, back to his own table to laugh with his friends. Within thirty minutes I could barely stand on my right leg, a baseball-sized bruise swelling on my thigh made it difficult to walk. My mother picked me up from the bus stop. When she asked about it, I told her I had just tripped and fallen, oh so clumsy. Over the next few days it became more difficult to ignore, and she stopped buying my clumsy story. In embarrassed thirteen-year-old words, I told her some of what had happened. She demanded I go talk to a counselor, seek punishment and justice for what had happened, and so I did. The counselor asked me where he had touched me, and I looked down as I gestured meekly with my hands. The next day, I was called into the Vice Principal's office to discuss the situation. 
He told me, "We want everyone at this school to feel safe... so I need you to not talk about this with anyone else". After I left he called in the Sophomore Boy, and threatened him with detention. He was told exactly who had complained about him. Me. And when he came into class later that day, he laughed.
He laughed.
It's been five years. I am not laughing anymore. 

I wrote my story out for Speak Out in the fall. I attended the event and sobbed as I heard my words read back to me. It was simultaneously healing and heart breaking. I just barely got through that semester, and I'm on my way to finishing this one. I can tell you that 5 months later, I am doing better. Not all the way back to where I used to be, but I've grown. In the last 5 months, I have taken a trip to Europe by myself- a trip that helped me prove to myself that my rapist wouldn't scare me away from the whole continent of Europe. I was able to reassert some power in a continent where I lost all of mine. That would be my big win of the last 5 months. But I also recently was able to look in the mirror while I brushed my teeth for the very first time since my rape. I have finally gotten to the point where I can leave my door unlocked while I sleep- the next goal is to leave it cracked. I've met someone that makes me believe that not all men are the same. A man that I've only known for a short time but has already showed me such kindness and tenderness. One that didn't try to be physical the first time we met, but when we were finally intimate was so incredibly gentle, I couldn't even begin to compare the two experiences. 

I guess why I'm writing this is to let the people in the crowd that are probably feeling exactly the way I did 5 months ago, recovery doesn't get easier, dealing with triggers doesn't get easier, but you become stronger. Suddenly the little things that used to be incredibly difficult to deal with, feels like chump change. I have a long way to go, but I can't even express to you how excited I was the first day I looked into the mirror while I brushed my teeth. How small it may seem to some, but what a huge victory in my eyes.

So survivors that are sitting in the crowd, you are absolutely loved and so brave to be fighting through each day having any experience with sexual assault weighing on your heart. You can step backwards and then forwards and then backwards and then forwards, but eventually you'll get to a place where you can handle a lot of it. You'll have your days, but you will be able to handle it. You are so so loved, and so so brave. Take care of yourself and find people to surround yourself with that will remind you of what an incredible person you are, because you are worth it.