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 spring Speak Out! on April 16th, 2018 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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The summer of 1997 had the potential to be one of the best of my life: no school, great weather, and a new best friend. He was four years older than I was which made him cool and (bonus!) he lived in the house directly behind mine. He was in middle school and played soccer, my favorite sport, so I looked up to him like an older brother. We met out in our adjoining backyards everyday that summer. We played on my swing set, juggled soccer balls and ate ice pops. My younger brother would usually hangout with us too. It was all a little tomboy could have dreamed of!

Near the end of the summer my dad bought a six-person tent that was on sale at a local camping store. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to try it out in our backyard that night? It was the second best thing to a tree house. We had so much fun sleeping and playing in the tent that my dad let us leave it out there. One day the two of us were playing air-guitar together in the tent when he asked me if I knew what sex was. I had heard of it, but lacking the details I said no, so he explained. He finished my education with a phrase I will never forget, “It’s good to do it at this age.” I knew, I knew he was lying... but I respected him, and worse, I trusted him completely. Nothing physical happened that day, but he slowly weaned me into believing that sex wasn’t a bad idea for an almost-third grader.

The next day he gave me the same speech about it being “good to get it over with” and “a good thing to try early.” In my heart of hearts, I knew he was wrong, but I was too young and vulnerable to stop him. He was determined. We ended up in the tent, the one my father had built for me just yards away from my house. First he put his hands down my pants and fondled me and then he made me do the same to him. I was scared not to. Things escalated rapidly: he was taking my pants of, then his, he was raping me and I didn’t even know it. Just the day before I hadn’t even know what sex was, let alone sexual abuse, let alone rape.

I felt sick. I cried. I didn’t tell my parents. I cried some more and entirely blamed myself. For weeks. For years. I didn’t think about it. If I saw him outside I locked myself in my room. I was very successful in completely repressing the memories until we learned about sexual assault in middle school. It was like a light bulb went off in my soul. I had been raped. It wasn’t my fault? It was all hard to believe, to deal with, especially since I had never told anyone the whole truth. I told a couple of my closest friends before high school started; it changed their opinions of me. I have had a few boyfriends since then, but I have never had the courage to tell them why I shy away from anything sexual. My conscious mind knows that I can overcome this incident, that I have, but I am still subconsciously troubled by the idea of trusting guys again.

These wounds will eventually heal, but there is no doubt that they have left a scar. I refuse to let people see me as a victim; I am a survivor, just like every other person who has kept on living their lives after being abused.

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