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!

Thank you for Speaking Out! We would love to get your permission to share your testimonial. If you would like to allow your testimonial to be used at a later Speak Out!, please let us know by making a comment or a note in your testimonial.

We are holding our first fall Speak Out! in October 26th, 2017 from 7-9 pm in The Pit. For more information, check our Facebook page.

Because this blog features stories of interpersonal and sexual violence, we offer this *content warning* as a way of caution. We also ask that you do not reproduce any of the content below, as the authors of these personal stories are anonymous, and cannot give consent for their stories to appear anywhere other than this blog or at a Project Dinah-led SpeakOut event.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Testimonials

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There is a character limit on comments. If you encounter this, please post your testimonial as two comments or email it to projectdinah@gmail.com. If you have difficulties posting your testimonial, please contact us.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If you've been to a previous Speak Out, you've heard my story before. You have heard about the years I spent in an abusive relationship where I was stalked, beaten, raped, and threatened. I survived that. I made it through. But I did not realize I would have to survive it all over again. When I came to college, I was coming from a strict and conservative family. One of the first things I did was download Tinder and decide to finally explore my sexuality and casually date. For the most part, it was a lot of fun. I was happy to meet people and it was fun to try new things out. Except for one time. He was a senior, maybe a junior? Regardless, an upperclassman. I'm sure he knew what he was doing going after first-years who just got to campus - and not that I was innocent or virginal or any other thing like that - and not that that matters. But I know he knew he was the cool, experienced older guy who could get me drinks and I could come chill at his apartment. He was (or is? I honestly don't know if he's graduated or not) in some improv comedy group on campus. He had a lame sense of humor that honestly grated my nerves. The type of guy who thought the height of comedy was puns. He insulted my knowledge of comedy and said my favorite stand-up comedians were bad...all the while his greatest jokes were those play on words. He was not my type. But I was trying new things? Maybe I was trying to find a new "type" because the last guy was such a shitty type. That aside, I still decided to go over to his apartment in Courtyard Lofts where he mentioned it was expensive but he can afford it, and he's smart because he's out of state. He was not hesitant to compliment himself. I felt in over my head as soon as I walked in the door. There was a giant bong on the coffee table and empty beer cans all over the floor. I had never even been drunk before but he poured me a too-strong Jack and Coke. We decided to watch a movie...so netflix and chill...but I had actually wanted to watch the movie. Instead, about five minutes in, he tries to roll on top of me and kiss me. Well kissing is fine. I like kissing. But in the middle of it, I felt his hand on my head and him pushing me down. I looked up, trying to give the signal that no, I don't want this, but he smirked and pushed a little harder. "I'm not really feeling that. Sorry" I said and tried to get up. He thought he could talk me into it and even paused the movie to have a conversation about why I should suck his dick. I basically just gave in after about a half an hour into his sales pitch for a blowjob. It was disgusting. I felt like I was going to throw up and it tasted like bad cheese. Yeah, I'm not gonna spare that detail because it was honestly one of the grossest experiences in my life. He held my head down until he finished. Then he graciously walked me to the bus stop. I haven't shared this story before because I had refused to acknowledge I have been assaulted twice. But I have. I am a double survivor but that's a trophy-less feat. Unless you count the shame, the nightmares, the anxiety, and the distrust I have felt by those two assaults. Anyways, I just want to say: Cheese Dick, you don't get to talk people in to sex. You don't get to push someone's head down and force them to do what you want. You don't get to manipulate people and you certainly don't get to assault people.
I’m sorry I didn’t shave. 
I’m sorry my boobs aren’t bigger. 
I slur words out and you slide your hand. Down my pants. Up my shirt. 
Simultaneously apologizing for being too much woman and not enough. 
I’ve forgotten how to do so much in this moment. 
The fireball burned ability out of me. 
I forgot how to hold my head up. 
I forgot how to keep my eyes open. 
I forgot how to say no. 
I forgot to say no. 
I forgot. 

I’m sorry I threw up again. 
I’m sorry you have to take care of me. 
I apologize for the inconvenience I cause while your hands slowly stroke away my autonomy. 
I forgot to tell you I didn’t want you inside of me. 
I forgot to tell you that, yes, that included your fingers. 
I forgot to tell you that, no, just one was not okay. 
I forgot to tell you that this was assault. 
I forgot to tell you that this would haunt me. 
I forgot. 

The fireball made me forget then. 
Now, it makes me remember.
I wonder if you know you assaulted me. 
I bet you don’t. 
I didn’t, not for a long time. 

A bad drunken hook up. 
The beginning of my slutty year. 
A right of passage. 
Sexual liberation. 
Freedom. 

The brain is a funny thing. 
It can take something and turn it into nothing. 
It can turn trauma into beginnings. 
Terrible into liberation. 
Force into choice. 

I took my newfound freedom to be a slut and used it to burry you. 
I buried your memory in a sea of drunken hook ups. 
I tried to find power in being desired, just like you had desired me. 
I tried to find joy in my choice, just like I chose that night. 

I chose to hold a handle of Fireball to my lips, until it burned my consciousness away. 
I chose to stumble my way into your waiting arms, ready to guide me to bed. 
I chose to lie on my side, just so the fire I kept breathing wouldn’t burn the breath out of me. 
I chose to stay still while your hands claimed what wasn’t theirs. 
I chose this. 

It took me years to learn that I didn’t chose. 
I wasn’t liberated. 
I wasn’t free. 
I was assaulted. 
You assaulted me. 
I wonder if you know. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

How can you share a story that is so long, so powerful it has engulfed your entire existence since the day it happened? At age 14, I thought I was in love. It started by my incredibly naive, innocent, freshmen-self kissing an older, attractive junior boy. It was perfect... until it wasn't.
I was pressured every time we were together. "Please, baby, suck me off. I know you don't want to have sex, but oral is different." "No." was my response. And "no" stuck, at least for a few months. When we were together, he twisted my words and spit them out again. Months later, I was finally convinced it was nothing. 
Next was the pressure to have sex. We went back and forth in arguments. I was 14. I didn't even know how to give a blow job until he made me. Sex was a word so far off in my own dictionary, but I knew the more I fought, the more he was fueled. I felt less every day. I was ice. He was fire. 
One day, it wasn't about me giving in anymore. It was about me being a body he could fuck. It was about us making plans to see each other, but if sex wasn't involved, then he wouldn't come. Sex was all he cared about. I resisted, but when I did, the violence started. 
I remember the day I ignited a bomb inside of him. 
"Quit, E, you're hurting me." 
"No, you like it." 
"No, I don't. I want you to stop. If you aren't stopping, then you are RAPING ME. This is rape." 
"Okay, fine. I am raping my girlfriend. I can't rape my own girlfriend, bitch. Get the fuck out of here."
At 14 years old, I went from complete innocence to not even considering myself a real person anymore. I felt like I was alive to be fucked. Wow, this is what love is, I thought. It isn't that great after all. 
I felt nothing. I retracted away from the world. WHY WON'T ANYONE HELP ME? I was screaming for help and no one was there. It got worse. He isolated me. My friends were now my enemies. I had no one to turn to. My parents were oblivious, they just thought I was rebelling. I stopped eating. I stopped caring. I stopped living. 
I am an independent person, even in that relationship. I became numb, raw, broken, but that never meant I stopped fighting. I would fight for the right to have my clothes on, but he always won. He grabbed me and squeezed. He made sure I knew he was in control. 
I remember getting out of the shower and looking into the mirror. My breasts, my hips, my stomach--they were all camouflaged by colors of black, blue, green, and purple bruises. Some were fresh and some were old. This was my reality. I told myself, "Break up with him. This isn't how it's supposed to be." Of course that wasn't the first time I had wanted to, but I was terrified. He could do anything. But in that moment, I knew I was about to take my life back. 
Leaving him was hard because he wouldn't leave me. He would cuss me out in the school hallways, yell at others and told them I was a whore. I believed him. I was his whore. I was guilty. It was my fault. He sent me pictures of him cutting himself. He threatened to take his own life if I didn't get back together with him. But I was done. I told authorities and I told my parents. That was the one puzzle piece I gave them. I held so much anger against so many people because no one knew. No one saw my bruises. No one noticed I wasn't eating. No one noticed I felt dead inside. No one came to my rescue. I was in a war all alone and still no one to this day knows what I went through, not until all of you. 
So, I grew up too fast and I still don't know what love is because I am too afraid to fall in love again. But you wanna know something really cool? I survived. I didn't let him win. Do I feel my chest tighten if someone is wearing the same cologne as he did? Yes. Do I shrink in fear when I see him? Yes. Did I cry the day he told me he was moving to Raleigh to be closer to me? I cried. 
At graduation, I stood before my high school class and the majority of my town and you know the first person I saw in the crowd? Him. But I didn't panic and I didn't shrink. I looked him straight in the eye and I knew I was finally getting my life back. There will always be days, but he won't be in anymore of mine. He took a lot of things away from me, but here I am today. I survived. I promise you, you are strong. You will survive too.