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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! in October 26th, 2016 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

I wish I could say when it started or how it started, but I was too little. Was I seven? Eight? I've stopped trying to figure it out. Now, I just say I was a kid, a little girl. And my big brother would take that little kid me into quiet places where no one would find us. There, he made me touch his penis, put my mouth on it, lick it. Over the years it got worse. He'd pull my little girl panties down and have what I guess he'd call "sex" with me.

"Does that feel good?" he'd ask and make me promise to never tell.

But finally I tell my baby sister who tells my mom who confronts me and promises me that "it" will stop. She still has no idea what exactly happened. The years and years of "it." No, she has no idea what exactly she stopped when she made sure he never touched me again.

Over ten years later, after "it" ended, I still have no confidence. I guess it shows because one night when I first get to college a friend of mine kisses me and tells me I am "hot" to encourage me to be more secure. He puts a drug in one of the three beers that I drank that night, and before I know it I am unconscious on his futon. The party's over, and I am so limp and helpless. I wake up just enough to realize he's sliding in beside me, kissing on my unresponsive mouth. I was like a dead doll. He did everything he wanted. Dug his nails into my vagina till I cried out and bled, only I wouldn't know until the next day that I was bleeding. It takes eight months and finding out that he did the same thing to my best friend for me to even tell a soul what happened that night... I still see him around campus, and every time he gives me a hug. Every time I shrink from his dominating arms and the way he squeezes me close like I am his to do with as he wills. That is what it is like to feel helpless.

Now, I just want someone to look in my eyes and understand that behind my really happy face I am broken. I sometimes wish I didn't hide my sadness so well... that one glance by anyone would reveal the pain I carry like a burden every day. Why can't my English professor understand that I am upset when John Donne writes about "ravishment"? Can't my Women's Studies professor just let me not talk on the day we discuss sexual assault? Sounds so easy to just tell everyone what I deal with but really it feels shameful to admit it. It's horrible to act like it's all fine and pretend I'm always happy and organized when really inside I am a messy tangle of emotions and hurt.

I don't think that I will ever be able to look at a little girl without being so scared that she will also get hurt. I never want to bring a child into the world. Worse, I am fearful of intimacy and run away from love. I hope for healing but still cry every night.

Little by little, I am learning to forgive. In tiny pieces, I let go of resentment. Every day I pray for strength. I pray that I can find beauty and meaning in a life that seems destroyed.

These words I wrote and I believe:
...
baby girl’s rosy chubby face—
she twirls in red and white dress
and in instinct I glow
mother implored to snatch her up
(please never let her go)
attain appreciation for her daring
brought her here to find emptiness
abuse, torture, losing,
but in anguish we gain…
yes, beauty that wouldn’t exist without pain.
...

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