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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.

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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.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I remember thinking that I looked pretty as I left my room that night. I remember I has having a particularly good hair day. It was curling the way it was supposed to, the way I like it best because it made me feel a little wild. I remember too that it was chilly. I was wearing pants and a long coat. And I remember I was so happy. I don't remember why, but I remember smiling a lot. And then it all changed. I remember him reaching under my shirt, then under my bra, unbottoning my jeans, sliding down the zipper. I remember it hurting, and I remember screaming in my head "no no no no!" but not saying it, not actually screaming it because I was too afraid. I remember seeing the blood in my underwear and dried in little patches on my thighs. I remember all the days I couldn't eat or sleep. I remember crying hardest after class on Monday, when I saw the boy I had a crush on the Friday before, and now I was scared of. It wasn't him. Don't think that. It was a boy who lived on the third floor, who I knew through a club, and who my roommated said was a nice guy. I remember saying "I get a weird vibe from him" and her saying "don't be silly; he's sweet." I remember not being able to remember it clearly for a while how it blurred together and I doubted myself. I remember when I started seeing a guy months later being afraid to stay over even though I trusted him. Even though I loved him, it took a long time for me to let him touch me.

I knew all the things to do, and I did them. I never walked alone, I always carried mace, and my keys at the ready. I can throw a damn good punch, and I have strong legs for kicking, but when it happened I couldn't just say "stop" "no."

I don't even know how to grieve. I don't know how to move on. Sometimes I can't even think. But I know that other women have gone through it, and that gives me hope that I can too.

It's not really a secret for me either. I don't go around telling everyone, but I don't hide it either. I think maybe for me, not keeping it like it's some giant secret, like it's something I should be ashamed about, is the answer.

I wrote this poem for class. My professor probably didn't like it, but it's the best I could do.


“Perhaps this is the only way to grieve the big things– in snippets, pinches, little sips of sadness.”
From Julia Alvarez’s In The Time of the Butterflies

Sips


You’ll wake with salt crusted eyes
Unsure of how to wash away bruises and blood
Or even how to get from bed to bath.
Until someone or something whispers to you,
Reminds you that you still are
Assures you that even though now
You can only feel and feel and feel
That one consecrated day
You will be able to think again.
This shimmering promise strengthens you
Enough to limp or crawl, to scrub and scour,
And when no skin is left, you can finally begin–
Fist with gulps of hatred, then mouthfuls of self-loathing,
Tastes of righteous anger, and finally reflective sips
While you sit, pondering how best to tell a story.

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