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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.

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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We started dating in the first few weeks of college. We were so different, yet so compatible – it was easy when we were around one another. The first time he kissed me, he asked my permission first, said he’d never want me to feel uncomfortable when I was with him. I trusted him, he was older, wiser, he made me feel wonderful. He knew my boundaries, he knew I wanted to move really slow, he knew I didn’t want to do anything more than kiss a boy until marriage, and he respected that. We talked about marriage, our futures, and what it would look like if we spent the rest of our lives together.

A year into our relationship, he told me had been doing a lot of thinking and he didn’t think he really believed in a lot of the same things spiritually as he used to. I was taken aback, but trusted that he would be fine and we would be fine, because everyone has doubts. He assured me that everything would be fine too. But then his attitude toward me started changing. It started with small things – not returning my calls, not pursuing me as he should anymore, not caring for me, asking things from me sexually that I wasn’t comfortable with. Then he started pressuring me. I kept saying no. I wasn’t ready. But he was bigger, he was stronger, and he knew he could take things from me. And so he did. He raped me for the first time on the night of my birthday. He held me down so I couldn’t move, covered my mouth so I couldn’t say anything, holding my legs apart with his. I was so confused. I couldn’t even leave my house on my birthday I was so confused and ashamed. I didn’t know what had happened, how I had gotten myself there. I broke up with him the same day. He apologized over and over again. He said he didn’t know what happened, and that emotions had gotten the best of him because I looked so beautiful.

For the new few weeks, he called me daily, leaving me apologetic voicemails, sending me flowers, bring me lattes to class on the days I had tests, asking me to forgive him and allow him to take me on a date again and prove that he was sorry. At first I resisted, so confused at what was going on. How could I get raped? I knew nothing about this type of abuse at the time. I thought it was for girls who partied a lot. I had never had a drink in my life. I was in my pajamas after cooking him dinner in what I thought had been a stable relationship that was headed toward marriage. Was it even rape because I was dating him? I had told him I didn’t want to. He knew I didn’t want to have sex. He knew I didn’t want him to see me naked. I didn’t know who to talk to. I thought my friends would judge me because I had sex. I thought they wouldn’t believe me, because he is such a great guy, and would never do anything like that. I thought maybe if he really was sorry, and if we got back together and everything went back to normal, then it could redeem this past experience, and it really could be a fluke. So I got back together with him. Things were great again for a few weeks. I felt like we were back to normal. I was starting to trust him again, depend on him emotionally again. I let him kiss me again.

It was almost as if he could sense my vulnerability. As soon as I became comfortable again, he started again. But instead of just raping me, he started hurting me violently too. He’d bite me until I bruised and bled – my neck, my breasts, my inner thighs, my vagina. I could barely move the days after he did this to me. He’d eat me out while twisting my breasts so hard I couldn’t bear the pain. He’d take all of my clothes off, trap me laying down, and he’d masturbate on top of me, forcing me to watch him do it until he came all over me. He’d claw at my vagina, scratching me so hard that I could barely use the bathroom or shower without screaming in pain for days. He’d hold my head or my hands on his penis until I gave him a hand or a blowjob. He’d hold me down or pin me down with something so I couldn’t escape. He’d make me do things to myself while he watched and masturbated. He hurt me over, and over, and over. If I asked him to stop, he’d just do more. I tried to avoid him, but he would find me. After these things would happen, he would act normal everywhere else – taking me out on dates, doing nice things for me, calling me, buying me really nice gifts, wanting to hang out. This continued for six months.

During this time, I wondered if I was actually alive. I didn’t tell anyone. No one would believe me. He was a famous face on campus, everyone knew him, everyone thought he was wonderful, they wouldn’t believe me when I said he was doing these things to me. My life had become a roller coaster. I feared if I broke up with him, he would just find a way to hurt me more. So I stayed with him.

I broke up with him on the eve of his graduation, knowing I’d never have to see him again. I got on a plane and flew out of the country for two months for a summer internship, numb. I couldn’t trust people. I couldn’t make new friends. I feared my old friends, I wondered when they were going to start hurting me too. I didn’t want to leave my house. I lost touch with most of my friends. I told no one. I started drinking with the few people I did trust to numb the pain. I had vivid flashbacks. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, screaming and sweating, thinking he was in my bed with me. I couldn’t fall asleep at night. I was nauseous, anxious, and nervous all the time. I couldn’t focus. No one knew what had happened to me. Back at school, he’d show up at my house unannounced, driving seven hours from where he was living, wanting to hang out. I told him if he did it again, I’d call the police, and I’d tell people what happened. I was terrified. I refused to be alone because I thought he could find me. I never heard from him again.

A year later, I met a girl who was courageous enough to share her story with me, a complete stranger. She had the courage to face her attacker, the man that had taken so much from her. She gave me strength. Her story, her courage, helped me know that I needed help. I couldn’t keep wondering around living half of a life, living in fear. We weren’t created to live in fear; yet, it had become my daily reality. I didn’t need to struggle alone. I wasn’t an isolated incident. A community existed. People would believe me. I told my few closest friends. They believed me. They supported me. They listened. They helped me find professional help. They helped me start repairing my life. They still help me today. They’ve started helping me learn how to smile again, how to have fun again, how to trust people again. I’m starting to be able to sleep again, make friends again, live normal life again. Now, I’m a senior, all I want is to enjoy this year, to live it fully, to embrace everything that comes with it. And I think I can, I know I can, even if it is something I have to convince myself of every day. I am beautiful, I am strong, I am intelligent, and I can overcome this, because I know I have a God on my side that conquered death, and He provides. We all do.

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