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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, April 14, 2011

These are things some people know about me:
I like pretty dresses and wearing makeup.
My favorite pastimes are eating, talking, and dancing.
I like having a plan, but I need spontaneity.
I can be really loud and share more information than most people want to know
I trust too many people.

I trusted him that night. I trusted that he was just a kid who really believed all of the things he said to me. I trusted that when I told him about my past heartbreaks, he really cared and understood. I trusted that he knew that “no” meant “no.” After ONE time. After TWO times Even after ONE HUNDRED times.

I told people, but I treated it like just another funny story from a night out. I didn’t realize it was a problem until the definitions were on a giant screen in one of my own trainings. I never thought that I would have to use those resources. They weren’t for me. They were for those “one in four women.” Not me. I wasn’t one of THEM.

That’s when I started getting quiet.

Some people know that I can’t refer to him by name. Some people know that I can’t refer to what he did by its definitive name, or any name at all. IT just happened.

But what people don’t know is that it’s because I still believe it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have drunk so much. I shouldn’t have left with him. I shouldn’t have taken off my dress. I should have known that lying in his bed would end with him straddling me, with him stripping me of my virginity. I should have anticipated all of this.

People don’t know that I have a constant battle within myself to practice what I encourage others to believe. They don’t know that I’m still unsure of how to define what happened or if I even want to. I mean, I should know, right? Shouldn’t I have the answers? I am an educator, an advocate, and a listener. I talk about interpersonal violence, what it is and what it does to people, every day. One in four women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime—WHY DON’T I KNOW WHAT TO CALL THIS?

I’m afraid to scream about my pain because I’ll have to explain it and I can’t give it any name but that thing that happened with a boy in a room that I CHOSE to visit. I am afraid that people will think I deserved it, that all my feelings of guilt will be validated.

These are things no one knows:
I scrubbed my skin raw and cried on the shower floor the morning after it happened.
I haven’t been able to wear that dress since that night.
I take a detour to my first class to avoid passing him.
I had sex with a friend because I wanted to prove that I could be in control of my body.

I’m tired of feeling dirty, angry, scared, and ashamed. I don’t want to feel guilty and undeserving. I want to love myself again. I’m learning to trust myself again.

2 comments:

Rachelle said...

It wasn't your fault and you should love yourself, don't let him take that away to.

Anonymous said...

When I read this, I felt like I was reading something I wrote. Or what I would have written if I had written anything. All I can say is that I understand. It's not easy. And it won't be easy for a long, long time.