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, April 11, 2011

I have never been raped. I have never had my “no’s” forcibly ignored. I’ve never been held down or trapped and violated. I don’t have a horror story. I am not a victim or a survivor.

I have a less traumatic, seemingly non-violent story. Many stories actually. The details of the events are unimportant. All that matters is on several occasions I have initially said no to sex. And somehow on multiple occasions, I’ve had those “no’s” worn down and turned into “yes’s” or passive nods of acceptance. I have said no and then been convinced that I really wanted to say yes. I have said no and been forced to come up with excuses for why I was saying no. I have had men convince me that I wanted it. I have been guilted with thoughts like, “well he did buy me dinner” or “I mean this is our third date, I should just do it.” I have said yes simply so it would be over and I could leave. Once or twice I eventually consented because I thought if I kept saying no I would be raped. I have woken up in the morning feeling dirty, degraded, and alone. I have felt that I had no one to talk to because I had said yes…eventually.

I have realized over the years that these experiences, while not “technically” rape were not consensual. And after talking to friends and being involved with Project Dinah I have realized that stories like mine are far too common. 1 in 4 women are raped in their lifetimes; probably many many more have had sex when they did not want to. Either because she was worn down and convinced that yes was the right answer. Or because she felt like she had to, like she owed him something. Or because he was her boyfriend so her body belonged to him and obviously no was not an option.

I am writing this for any woman who has ever felt this way. For women who feel like they have been violated but can’t talk about it because they said yes…eventually. I want every woman to know that your body is yours, always. $50 spent on dinner DOES NOT GIVE HIM A RIGHT TO YOUR BODY. Being his girlfriend and loving him DOES NOT GIVE HIM UNLIMITED ACCESS TO YOUR BODY. Wearing a skirt and flirting with him all night DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO FUCK HIM. Stick to your choices. If you say no, do not let him twist that response and convince you into a yes. Don’t feel guilty; don’t worry about his feelings or if he will call you later. Own your decision and get away.

Men: if she says no, stop. Even if you bought her dinner, even if she has previously said yes, even if you think she might say yes…eventually, even if she said she would, even if you’re her boyfriend. Just STOP. A NO IS ALWAYS A NO. Go home, grab the lotion and enjoy yourself knowing that she will feel good about herself when she wakes up in the morning.

Lastly, if you have ever said yes because of guilt or exasperation or simply because you couldn’t say no anymore, you are not alone. Talk to your sisters, I’ll bet you will find many stories similar to yours. Heal with each other and take charge of your future “no’s.” Reach out to others and educate men about what a yes is.

Talk, reach out, educate, heal.

If we refuse to shut up we cannot be ignored.

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