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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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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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

October 2008. Do the events even matter? It’s all hazy now. I can piece together details, creating an incomplete picture of the night. A closet, choking until my face was burning and my eyes were bulging out of my head. Discomfort as I was pinned into the corner, wedged against the floor and the wall. Thrown into clothing racks, slammed onto the ground. My hair knotted around his fist as he wrenched my neck until it could have, should have, snapped. I remember sensations of pressure, pain, and my body being contorted. I did try to get myself out of the situation: used humor, logic, begged, was assertive. I tried to excuse myself to the bathroom. He told me to pee on the floor. That’s why they invented towels. I have a boyfriend. Didn’t care. Stop. No. Really, I don’t want this. All my pleas fell on deaf ears. Not once did I scream. At one point, I was given a choice. He asked me how I wanted it. When my choice of not wanting it at all was shot down, I decided I wanted the option that would cause me the least amount of pain. Slow and gentle. Not rough. I wanted the least amount of pain; I wanted for it to be over. In the end, it didn’t even matter what choice I made. He knew how he wanted it. I remember telling myself it would be over soon, to just ignore his fingers ripping me apart, his inability to penetrate because I was so dry. But that is what Vaseline is for, isn’t it? I don’t know how or why it stopped, but maybe he sobered up. Maybe he saw I was miserable, terrified, in shock. He took the opportunity to address me as his drill sergeant addresses him. He wanted straight answers about why I didn’t want to have sex. He wanted me to know that it was my fault, I should have been clearer. I shouldn’t have lead him on, been a tease. He wanted me to know he wasn’t a bad guy. He told me that if he had wanted to, he could have stabbed me in the back so that it punctured a lung, that I wouldn’t have been able to scream, that the only sounds would have been the hiss of air escaping from my lungs and the gurgle of blood as it mixed with the air. He made sure to point out the spot on my back where he would have to stab me to accomplish this. A real gentleman. And, he wanted me to leave my boyfriend for him.

I cried myself to sleep that night. Not for myself. I didn’t want to tell my best friend, Jessica, that her cousin raped me. I didn’t want to cause any problems in her family. I was upset that I let that happen, that I could potentially ruin a family relationship. I could not hide it from her. She alone has the ability to see through me. She knows me better than I know myself. I don’t know why I was afraid. I didn’t want her to be hurt. I didn’t really care about how it affected me, just her. She was there for me, beginning to end. She stood beside every decision I made. She listened to everything I said. She understood. She returned what had been stolen: the power to make my own decisions and for those decisions to be respected. I don’t know if she consciously knew that everything she did was the right thing for me at that moment. She gave me space when I needed, and trusted me to come to her if I needed to talk. I feel that I will never be able to convey with words how much she means to me. However, I don’t think I have to explain it to her. I feel that she understands. That is all that matters to me.

I didn’t write this so people would feel pity, shock, or horror. I need people to know, that in spite of all that happened that night, that night that SHOULD be horrific, I feel rather indifferent. After an emotional day and a half, my mind had completely suppressed all emotions concerning the event and I returned to my daily routine when Monday rolled around. It happened on a Friday night. Now, I feel as if it wasn’t really me that was raped. It is as if I watched a movie, felt some emotions during the screening, and afterwards moved on with my life. Jessica was the only one who witnessed any true emotion I felt towards the incident. By the time I told anyone else, my mind had already built up a wall and removed myself from the event. I felt bad as my friends offered their condolences, empathized, and were hurt by my “pain and trauma”. My eyes welled up as I realized how much they truly cared for my wellbeing. I felt terrible that I caused them distress when I felt none myself. My shield is up, I have my wall, but it isn’t guarding anything. It is void of emotion. I am a strong woman. But am I really? I cannot embrace my emotions. I must destroy any traces of true feelings before they are raised to my own consciousness. I feel like it is a learned and conditioned behavior, a suppression of emotion and repression of memories, my body’s natural defense to trauma, whatever you want to call it… it has left me empty.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that something MUST be there. It took the discovered possibility of a new beginning, the hint of attraction. The opportunity arose to be intimate with someone. I balked. Two days later, watching TV, I broke down. I sobbed in Jessica’s arms. I had been with an ex a month or two after the incident, returning to that old bad habit, primarily to see if I COULD be intimate with anyone. I hated every second of it, I counted the minutes for it to be over, and did everything in my power for it to be over as soon as possible. Afterwards, I curled into a ball and wanted to die. As I embraced Jessica on that couch, crying like a little bitch, I wondered, almost as if in a plea, if I would ever enjoy sex again. If it led to that with this boy, one I actually liked, if I would once again feel like dying, wishing it was over as soon as it began. Four minutes I despaired. Then, it was over as quickly as it had begun, as if someone had drugged me with a heavy sedative. My mind put an end to it and I returned to watching TV, as if nothing had happened. As I wrote the events from the beginning of my story on paper, it was like reporting facts, as if I was trying to write answers to a question on a history exam, trying to include what I believe to be important details. But why are they ‘important’ to me? I don’t feel any emotions attached to those events. I hadn’t until that brief interval, when the floodgates burst open, and now I am back to the numbness. I don’t know if I will ever enjoy sex again, if I will ever be able to have a real and healthy relationship. But those four minutes gave me hope. I can feel something. Something does exist within the void, even if my mind will only allow me to see that for a short moment. The sheer intensity of emotion that I felt as I described fears and feelings I didn’t even know I had let me know that there is probably more emotion buried within. I don’t particularly want to dig it up, nor do I know how. But it is there. It is reassuring to someone who hasn’t felt any emotions regarding the event in the past five months. Maybe I will be able to eventually deal with emotions. Maybe I will be able to have a relationship. Maybe I will find true peace beyond this façade that has fooled even me. I believe it is possible. I guess that is all anyone can ask for in the end, in any situation. Hope.

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