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!

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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, March 23, 2009

This is a story for secondary survivors. I was not raped. The person closest to me in the world was. This is a story for those of us who have helped our sisters, friends, partners, and relatives through the traumatizing mind field of life, post-rape.

My friend was raped. Not just any friend. My best friend. My other half. My soul mate. The person who I tell everything to. The person who will be there for me no matter what. The woman who has made my two years at UNC possible and though she doesn’t know is one of the only reasons I am alive. The woman that every man I ever love won’t live up to. She was raped.

This is what went through my head, as she told me what he had done to her, as we were in the car leaving my cousins apartment. She described how he held her down in the closet. How he told her in vivid detail the ways he could kill her with his bare hands. How she had been too terrified to scream. She told me all of this the next morning. We were driving away.

My next thought was of my cousin. The chubby little boy with green eyes I had grown up with. That little boy was now a rapist. He was not a man raised in a closet and set free in an alley. He was a man like every other man. Someone’s brother, someone’s son, someone’s cousin. I knew the statistics before; I knew stranger rape was not that prevalent. I knew most women knew their attackers. I just never dreamed that I would know a rapist. That I would be related to a rapist. That the chubby little boy would be a rapist.

My cousin is currently with his platoon in Iraq. Sometimes I hope he doesn’t come home.

As we were driving the 30 minutes from his apartment to ours I decided I would stand by her no matter what. I would help her through this and that she would be survivor. I expected severe emotional distress, anxiety, vomiting, lowered self esteem, intense crying, manic euphoria, suicide attempts…I was prepared to handle anything. I should have known Samantha would be the exception. She went to class on Monday and was almost fine immediately. I worried she was just faking and would soon deteriorate. But soon I realized that she really was okay, of course not the same, but she was coping. We told her parents and other friends. We discussed her legal options and she declined pressing charges. We went to the doctor. We talked about the Rape Crisis Center. We knew the resources available but she deemed them unnecessary. She knew it was not her fault and she could talk freely about the rape within weeks. She was stronger than I would have thought possible. She will never know how much I admire her.

Five months has passed and everything is back to normal. We talk about the event from time to time. We call it “October.” I will always be here for her, if she needs to talk next month or next year or in ten years, I will never forget “October.”

My friend was raped. My friend is a survivor.

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