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 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, January 25, 2010

I am no longer a student. I am a professional who has the privilege of working with college students. I have been trained to help support; advocate, counsel, and most importantly listen to those whom have been impacted by sexual violence. For me it started back in high school with a group called Peer Mediators – we gave presentations on sexual assault and relationship violence. In college as a student leader I facilitated workshops raising awareness with fraternities and sororities. In grad school I did the same however with varied student groups. My journey continues on to now where my trainings are still used – more often than I find acceptable.

An example – less then a week ago I sat, uncomfortable, listening to the story of yet another friend who was assaulted. I listened. I leaned forward. I said all the ‘text book’ statements I had been trained to say. Although I have been trained to know I was doing good simply by listening, by caring, by not placing or assuming blame, and in fact pointing out it was not this individuals fault – I felt useless.

I could not take away the pain or shame of my friend. I could not take way their worry and fear. Not even anger – I could do little other than listen and state that I cared.

In my eyes this matter was more complicated. In my job I hear stories far too often. I place levels of boundaries to semi-protect myself from attaching or empathizing too much. With loved ones the boundaries are a little less. With this friend, I feel lost. This was a friend whom listened, supported, and was there for me when I was finally willing to accept and deal with my assault. I am grateful for having had that support and concern. How will I repay that level of assistance?

About two years ago my friend fell in love. It was true love – anyone could see it just by the way they looked at each other – it was beautiful. Many of the friends were envious – we wanted that kind of love. My friend also works with college students as a traveling consultant. The relationship grew through emails, long phone conversations, and occasional visits of a day or two. But their love grew. Everyone knew their intentions were to marry – they had a time line involving graduate school and the end of traveling.

This past holiday season my friend decided to get drunk with some friends of the past. My friend is not a big drinker but decided why not. ‘I’m with friends so it’s safe for me to kick back a few – to step out of character.’ Well, after multiple hours of drinking my friend decided to call it a night. Left a quick I love you voicemail and passed out on top of the bed with shoes still on. Hours, maybe moments, later my friend was half ‘woken to being violated. The memory of what happened is a blur in my friends mind. A rejection was offered by my friend earlier in the night when the assailant made their original pass. An explanation of love to another was provided in a drunken ramble.

You may be surprised to learn – my friend is a male. My male friend was sexually assaulted, my male friend was raped. It’s hard to say. I know assault happens. I have read the numbers and research to know it happens to men too. I have listened first hand to the story of a male student who was attacked by another male. My friend was assault by a woman. Although he said no – his body continued to work. He described it being similar to an out of body experience, or at least it had to be, he was there but he could not move, parts of his body were working, but he could not feel.

Uncertain of what had happened or unwilling to admit or explore the reality that he had been assaulted – he called his girlfriend, his love, and apologized for cheating. As you can imagine that does not go over well in a relationship.

My friend has since come to acknowledge, however not fully accept, that he was violated. His girlfriend has come to acknowledge this as well and has been an incredible support system for him. She is after all his future and his hope. But…

My friend, equipped with the same training as I, still is experiencing self-blame – even self-hate. He knows it is not his fault. He knows rape can happen to men. He knows he did nothing wrong. He knows he did not cheat. He knows it – he has yet to believe it. In his eyes he cheated on his girlfriend, the best thing that has ever happened to him. His confidence is shaken, hell shattered, he is a strong man, a man of principal, a man that believes in fidelity – he believes he violated his own morals, his own code. He is trained, he knows better, but still he does it. As I did it too. He helped me to see that in myself… acknowledging does not mean accepting and knowing does not mean believing.

I share my friend’s story because his is one you don’t hear often. My friend, knowing the statistics that 1 in 7 men in their life time will be victims/survivors of sexual assault, is ashamed to share his story with friends, even brothers. He is an advocate on many tough topics often using himself as an example when the topic aligns with his experiences. Right now, my friend is silent. This is unlike him. I do not expect him to share but I feel as though he expects himself to. But it’s different – its rape and he’s a dude.

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