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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.

Monday, November 5, 2012

“Come Forward, you will be believed.” This message is plastered everywhere. On the bus, in residence halls, on bathroom doors. What the message should say is “Come forward, someone will listen, someone might believe you, but someone will definitely not.”

2am and I’m in a ditch. What just happened? But I know what happened. But that can’t have just happened can it? People are arguing nearby, and I can tell it’s about me, but I don’t really hear them. All I can hear is my brain. This didn’t happen to me. No. No. No. I’m being dragged home by a friend. I’m vomiting. I’m crying. I’m shaking. I’m laying on the floor, with literally no motivation to ever move, ever be seen, ever be heard again. Someone comes to me. Says a lot of things, but all I hear is “hospital.” That’s when it hits. This happened to me. Like those people on TV. And I should go to the hospital.

When you check into the emergency room, there should just be buttons to press. Green button if you have a fever, red if it was an accident, purple if it’s 5am and you are a bruised crying woman who can’t stop digging her nails into herself. This would be much simpler than saying to the check in nurse “I’m here because I got attacked.” 

I am finally seeing the nurse, she asks what happened. My voice sounds like someone elses when I tell her about the drinking, the dragging, the hitting, me saying no, them saying yes, the crying, the confusion. Do you want a rape kit? No, what’s the point. I have no idea who he was. I will never know. I’m never going to tell anyone that this happened. 

I am making a blind report at the Chapel Hill Police Station. What did he look like? White, average height. Do you remember his name? No. Did you talk about anything? Not that I remember. Why didn’t you scream/leave? I was trapped in my own body. Frozen with fright. Disbelief. Shame. Why do you remember so much, even though you were inebriated? Because that’s how fucking trauma memory works. I’d forget it if I could.

I am telling my parents. There’s going to be a claim on our insurance, but don’t worry, I just got attacked. What? What happened? Oh I just got attacked by a guy at a party. What?

I am officially “coming forward.” I’m meeting with my “friends.” I am asking them what they remember. Which isn’t a lot. I am in meetings all the time, retelling my story to strangers.

I am months removed from the attack, and I still have no answers. Most of the friends I met with are not talking to me anymore. I am told “it didn’t count.” “it wasn’t a bad rape.” I am asked “why are you still sad? That was months ago.” “why are you drinking so much?” “Why aren’t you drinking anymore” I am blamed “you being sad makes me sad” “why can’t you just ignore it” “why aren’t you working on getting better” “it’s been long enough”. I am pitied, I am guilty, I am ashamed. I am a problem people can’t get rid of.

I am in the court room. I’m being told my PTSD could be from something else. I’m being asked if this is normal behavior for me. I’m being scolded.

I am sitting in the small room in my nice clothes. I hear the words “not guilty”

I am numbing. Numbing my sadness, my anger, my happiness, my talents, my future, my past. All numb.

I don’t like the word survivor. It has now been 10 months, and I do not feel like I have survived anything. I still lose friends. People still get angry with my PTSD. I still cannot focus on homework. I still do not have the confidence to do well on tests. I still hate meeting people. I still have to sometimes run out of class to have a panic attack in private. I still have paranoia to the extreme. I still hate my body for what it let happen. I still hate myself for letting it happen. I still hate the University for refusing to believe me. I still act with a logic only a victim of rape would understand.

I still see him on campus. I still hate him. I still know what happened. I still have nightmares. I still think about running away.

I still wish I told no one.
It was my first time away from home- an anxious but bubbly freshman in high school, I was traveling 6 hours away to attend a leadership conference.

The first "leader" I found made my skin crawl. To everyone else, he seemed like an average, ordinary 17-year-old boy. My discomfort around him wasn't shared by anyone else in my group, so when all the other seats on the fancy charter bus were taken, I convinced myself that the bad feelings I had were all in my head; I needed to just suck it up and sit down next to him in that last row. The result was an hourlong, torturous nightmare that left me feeling dirty, used and paranoid.

No one made any motion of stopping him from his slow but thorough invasion of my body. This was NOT how I pictured my first interaction with male genitalia: my hands forced behind my back, and then down his pants, moving further and further into unwanted points of sexual contact. I thought no one knew, but an anonymous tip notified my group leader when we arrived at our destination. Knowing someone else shared in my torture was disgraceful and horrifying. The boy was ejected from our group and sent home with a slap on the wrist from the program director.

Um, hi? What about me? I was scoffed at by my group members- told I was making a big deal out of nothing, and I should consider myself "lucky" that I wasn't fully raped. Oh, I'm lucky? Because feeling unsafe at every turn is lucky. Never trusting anyone again is LUCKY? Losing crucial relationships and becoming physically detached wasn't lucky.

I was miserable for months until I realized that what happened to me WAS real, and no one could make it any less legitimate or upsetting. Time has healed the emotional wounds, and I realize I WAS lucky- too many women have these atrocities continually inflicted upon them, without even the most minimal of interferences to stop the pain. I escaped with minor scars, but even those are reminders of things that never should have happened.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I don't know what affects me more: the fact that I was raped as a child, or the cognitive dissonance of the constant struggle to find self worth as a result of my rape. She did more damage to me that afternoon than anyone could ever do in my lifetime. I feel like a minority of a minority: a male victim (survivor) who was raped by a female. The toll that this has on me is of no bounds.

My baby sitter in elementary school would also babysit other kids and housesit in order to make more money to survive. None of the parents involved minded, because she was genuine and full of warmth. She started taking care of me when I was 3 days old, and the bond that she shared with me and my family was unbreakable. Through her I met many other children in the Chapel Hill and Durham area, in addition to some teenagers attending Durham high schools. There was this one family that I got to know really well because my babysitter would bring me to their house all of the time. I have good memories of that place. They had a rope swing in the back yard, a big TV where I would watch the Anamaniacs, and a nice spiral staircase upstairs to the teenagers' rooms. I don't remember exactly how old the teenagers, Julie and Brian, were but I remember looking up to them and going with my babysitter to pick them up from school to bring them home and to stay with them until their parents got back. I felt close to them as well, as close as a little elementary school kid could feel to teenagers. But a single afternoon would take away my childhood, more or less personhood, prematurely.

She called me to her room - I don't remember what for, but it was like any other day. I think she started playing with some toys with me, I always felt really cool having teenagers spend time with me. I don't remember what she said to me to stop playing with toys, but we both stood up. She said something about playing a game. Then, she slowly put her hands down my back, and told me to do the same to her. I froze, I didn't know what was going on. We, quote, took turns, with this game, even though when it was on me I generally skipped. Each time she went deeper and deeper from my back down into my pants. She kept assuring me that it was OK and that it was a fun game. What seemed like hours passed by until she said that we were going to play from the front. She put her hands down my pants from and molested me. She then made me touch her genitals. I didn't know what was happening to my body. She told me to get naked and to get into her bed, which I did. I can still remember how the sheets felt, because that is all I could focus on as I was trying to not pay attention to her as she stripped down naked and got into the bed. The entire time I just wanted to scream, I felt trapped in my own body, not knowing what was going on. My babysitter was just downstairs and just saying anything would have made it stop.

I can't dissociate the pain, the vulnerability and the humiliation from sex now. How can something that is supposed to feel good cause this much destruction to me? You have ruined it for me. I have lost the ability to be intimate with anyone, I cannot bring myself to trust anyone again. You have taken my childhood from me.

I hate you.

I am broken. I am damaged goods. I am full of shame: I'm not sorry I make mistakes - I am sorry that I am a mistake. Society seeks to support rape victims, but male rape victims are often pushed aside in another stigma. Let me tell you that this is real to me, and my life is forever affected as I still wander through the darkness of my mind. Maybe one day I'll uncover my self worth, or even find someone I can feel intimate with. But I have given up hope, as my past dictates otherwise. 
Growing up bilingual and bicultural was a unique experience, and I was singled out as la rara since I can remember. Around my Spanish speaking friends I was “too blanca,” around my white friends (the few I had) I was “la chica with the accent.” Language has always been a big part of my identity, and I never understood how English and Spanish made me more Latina or more gringa. To those that aligned with Latino roots, I was never dark enough, always too “palida” to look Latina, my eyes too bright to seem “morena.” Endless pools of confusion and searching, my eyes symbolize the place where my identities clash. I am one of five people in my family to not have brown eyes. I struggled to understand why my eyes were not brown like other Latinas, and not blue like the white – why was I in between? My grandfather always told me that I was “solamente blanca,” only white and nothing else. 

But, this is about my lips – what silence looks like. It’s difficult for me to see so many friends be assaulted, battered, attempt – so soon after my own destruction – so soon after having a personal experience with sexual violence. They were scared and embarrassed to tell her story, in that her friends would be disappointed – I too felt that way. I was raised with high morals, with a life enlaced in strong religious duties that always led me to believe that the woman was to be pure till marriage. I did not have that choice, even if my loose liberal American mindset had always challenged it. Upon hearing stories, all I can do is boil tears - smile in rage - laugh to myself with all the hatred I have for the system of oppression that targets women as sexual objects, that portrays Latinas as being only one type of creature: hypersexualized, submissive, ignorant, desperate, alien. It’s easy for me to channel this anger into speech, but to explain it is to feel it in a constant cycle: to feel those weeks of denial and of refusal to accept that it was not my fault, and that I am still whole. But the reason I smile is because it is what the feeling of being a survivor manifests as. Along the journey, I felt like one of many numbers of Latinas that have been sexually assaulted, and just like my sisters, my family knew nothing of what happened to me – nor will that be an easy task for me to fully disclose. I can’t help but laugh at the fact that, when filling out that blind report - shaking, guilt screaming in my head through self-blame, anger sweating through my pores as I remembered all the bystanders ignoring me during everything – all I could think is that I was like a little check box – Hispanic/Latino. – my blind report went to another stack, and just by the national average, it seems like there are a lot of us Latinas being stacked into binders. I wore the veil of a victim for weeks before I could remove it and accept that I was a survivor. But, I’m not alone in my silence, nor am I alone in my rage an determination to break it.
It started when I was 8 years old. The touching, the back rubs, the inappropriate words and raspy breathing... all of it was wrapped in a cloud of confusion. I froze every time. I didn't stop any of it. I pushed the memories away, locked them inside of me, and everyone thought I was fine. On the surface, I looked like a normal teen, bubbly, a bit emotional, and involved in everything possible, but underneath there was a layer of desperation. I needed out of that cycle of terror. Of twisted touches and fingers that burned acid scars across my body. Of his leering looks and soft words that were negated by the twisting stab of each time he molested me... then one day I couldn't forget. He'd gone too far. I couldn't just bury it. What if he went after my sisters? It wasn't self-preservation... it was for their protection... and I tattled... all hell broke loose. Memories of the past came flooding back in a torrent, and all the questions and inspections, with me being treated like some scientific specimen to be studied and quantified, not a 15 year old who just spent 7 years living with a grandfather that sexually tortured her - it left me empty. Feeling more betrayed than ever before, and hurt beyond measure. He'd succeeded - he'd broken me. I was depressed, angry and hurt. I was suicidal, I hurt myself to feel some sort of release... to feel other than the emotional pain. I was told by some that I was to blame for his crimes. I was told by others that I shouldn't tell anyone for fear that they'd see me as vulnerable, or think that I was defined by that moment of my life. I was shut up, made mute, incapacitated. That was then, when I allowed others to control me, but not any more. I've had it. I'm present, and I am strong. My past does not define me, but shapes my future. He cannot control me. HE cannot break me. I am in control now. I know now how to protect myself and others from something as terrible as what happened to me. I have learned that silence comes at a high and awful price. I've learned that silence isn't worth it. I've learned to speak out. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

February 6, 2012 is the one day where every minute detail of the day cannot escape my mind, no matter how hard I try to make them go away. I will never know the names of my assaulters or what they look like. Despite the fact that I continuously see them out in public. Any African-American male, I wonder, "is that the man who raped me?" Yes, raped. It has taken almost three years for me to actually be able to say it or see the word in front of me. I never thought something that horrific could happen to me. I was a well-behaved teenager, or atleast I thought I was. Yet due to the fact that the night I was raped I was out partying and under the influence of alcohol, I can't help but blame myself. If only I wouldn't have been drunk, or what stupid girl goes to a guys apartment that late. However, I thought I could trust my guy friend. Unfortunately, the specific details of the night could fill an entire book, but what I can say is that on February 6, 2010 I was raped by 2 African-American males whom I did not even know. This occurred while 3 other boys stood in the room and watched, one of them putting his penis in my face the entire time, while I lay there helpless. Boys, that is what they were and still are. No man would every rape any woman. I was a junior in high school, 17 years old, and a virgin. Now I sit here, waiting for the day when I can just forget it all. Forget every detail, like the fact that one of them used a Food Lion bag as a condom or that I bled for 2 days straight after it happened. When will I be able to move on? In my mind, I forgave my friend whose apartment it was. I wrote out every detail of the incident and read it. I shared the details of my story with close friends. But the details will not escape me. It's been almost 3 years, I think to myself. So why can I not just move on like a normal person and go about my life. Why can't I be alone in a room with a person of the opposite sex without feeling uncomfortable? Why did I have a panic attack when I finally made the choice to lose my virginity? Why do I have to be intoxicated to have any sort of interaction with a guy. Will these problems ever go away, or will they stay with me forever because of that one god-awful night? Who knows? I just hope that one day I will be able to accept the fact that my rape was not my fault, and in the end it has made me stronger.

Friday, October 26, 2012

An open letter to my future lovers,

You need to know that I can’t count the number of times he raped me. My memories of the abuse sort of blur together- fuzzy, the way my vision clouded when he slammed my head into that rock the first time, so I couldn’t fight back. I can still picture some specific images. I can hear his voice. I specifically remember the first and last times it happened. And the one time he used a condom. To write my whole story would take more pages than you want to hear right know, I know. But I need you to understand. So I will tell you about one night, the final time he assaulted me, the straw that broke my back. Through old journals, flashbacks, and bad dreams I’ve collected all the events of that night. It’s not the censored story I told at 15. It’s not the confused story I told at 17. It’s not the vague one I told at 19. It’s the gritty, bloody, violent, accurate truth at 20. Five years later- cleared from a post-traumatic haze. Lucid, thorough, and intact.

We went to a dance, the first one we’d been to where he wore civilian clothes. His commanders threw this party to reward the unit for passing inspection from the big important Air Force guy who flew in from New Orleans or Atlanta or some other big Southern city. The night of the dance, December 14th, I had an unholy migraine- as I imagine most people do when they don’t eat, sleep, or smile. This was one of those migraines that scratches downward from the backs of your eyes, into your jaws, your neck, your shoulders, and finally lands in your spirit.  Needless to say, I was less than thrilled about sitting in a room with five foot speakers blasting techno, hip hop, and the occasional slow country song. So he got all mad. He danced dirty with a few other girls just to prove that he could. But, as one song ended, he walked toward my table slowly and deliberately, leaned down, kissed my neck, and whispered in my ear, “Let’s get some fresh air.” I followed him outside and the cold hit like a wall of ice. He wrapped me in his arms and guided me through the parking lot to his friend’s pickup truck. He lowered the gate and we sat on the edge of the truck bed. I laid my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes. He rubbed my head and, as I relaxed into him, the pain began to fade. These moments of peace were rare, precious- but only moments.

He leaned down his head and kissed me, long and deep. I smiled obediently and lay my head back down, trying to delay the inevitable. But he put a finger under my chin and lifted my mouth to his. He laid me down slowly. He pushed one arm up my blouse, the blouse I borrowed from my friend just for that night. I laced my fingers in his big military hands and pushed them away from me with all my pathetic strength. I said things. Things like his name, like “not tonight,” and then “please.” And then finally a desperate, pleading, and defeated cry, “No.” He grabbed at my breasts and twisted them left and right, chaffing them with his calloused palms. Then he ran his teeth down my stomach as he unbuttoned my jeans. I counted stars and allowed my consciousness to fade as his face lie between my thighs. Suddenly, acute and horrifying pain reunited my mind with my body as I realized he’d bitten down on a delicate layer of flesh. I felt warm, sticky blood begin to flood in and around me. He lifted his head and smiled at me with bloody teeth, then spat out a piece of my skin. A piece of me. I tried to refocus my mind and ignore the pain. I contemplated screaming as he shoved his fist inside of me and I felt the tissue continue to tear. I pictured the blissful young couples just fifty feet away, kissing and dancing in a room with loud music that would muffle my cries. I drifted in and out of awareness as he pulled down his jeans and I felt his weight on top of me. Three thousand hours later, when he finished, I unconsciously pulled up my jeans and lay back down next to him where he whispered in my ear, “No one’s gonna’ love you after what I’ve done to you.” And I laid there and I believed him.

So, to my future lovers, I told you this story to help you understand where I’m coming from.  So you’ll remember I have at least a hundred other memories like this one.

So you might understand that sometimes I don’t sleep. And, yes, sometimes I miss class.

I told you this story so you’ll start connecting the dots that even though I’m too scared to tell you yet, I really like you and want to kiss you. So you’ll know that I already want you because you make me feel safe.

So you’ll know that reading bell hooks and Jackson Katz are prerequisites to making love with me.

So you might get why sometimes I hate my body and why I’m scared to show my body to you. So you know why I need you to be tender, slow, and communicative with me. So that you’ll know I’ll be tender, communicative, and grateful to you. So you’ll know it’s not your fault when I pull away.

But mostly I told you because I’m still pretty sure he was right, that I’m unlovable. I really told you my story in the hopes that you can love me past that pain.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I don’t want to write about the man who raped me because he has no power over me. The man who abused me for a year, who spit his evil into my body and ignored my sobs, my pain, my every plea of NO has become less than nothing to me, and I thank God for that. I could write about his emotional abuse and manipulation, his anger, his sexual abuse that made his disgusting eyes glow with hatred and sick, perverted lust—the abuse that put me in the ER’s trauma room a year and a half ago from a failed suicide attempt. I could talk about the cuts, the depression and anxiety that haunted me, the fear, the shame, the overdoses. I could write about his repeated apologies and pleas to have me back after I—thank God!—left him. But honestly, he isn’t worth my time of day—he isn’t worth a word or even a fleeting thought. I pitied him for much too long. Hatred takes energy, and he doesn’t deserve the energy it would take for me to hate him—but if there is any hatred in my heart that lingers, it is because of the lies he told me about myself. I don’t believe them anymore, and I know I’m beautiful, I’m intelligent, I’m fiercely strong, I’m passionate and powerful, and I am PERFECT at being me. He didn’t take any of that away. 

I am more inclined to write about the people that betrayed me, the people that didn’t believe me, the people that ignored the signs and facilitated his abuse. A handful of girls on my hall defended him without even asking me or talking to me at all because he was “always nice to them.” None of them have confronted me about it to this day. They defended my rapist without even asking me “Did this happen to you?” I still cannot understand how women can betray other women like that. 
I could write about the people in my life that called my emotions “silly,” that told me part of my soul had been taken away forever because of what happened, that look at me differently now, that trace EVERY action and decision I make back to what happened, the people that torture me with their apathy and ignorance and their refusal to even try to understand. I could write about the questions people asked me: “Why didn’t you break up with him the first time it happened?” “Why were you ever alone with him?” “Why didn’t you run away and call the police?” Why, why, fucking why, every day for weeks and weeks. Few people wondered why he raped me, why no one asked me if I was okay when I walked through the halls of my dorm sobbing, why no one reported it after I told them about his threats of violence, why no one noticed him showing up outside my door countless times every day, why people didn’t interfere when he would scream, curse and verbally abuse me in public. 

But this is not even half of the story. If you don’t know my story, you can’t know my glory, and my glory is in the beautiful people—the angels God sent me—that have lifted me from my suffering and made me stronger and more wildly beautiful than before. I wish I could list each of them here and tell them why I love them and how each of them has, quite literally, saved my life. The people that believe me, LOVE me, encourage me, support me, laugh and cry with me, hold me, smile at me, believe IN me . . . I love you more than you will ever know. You inspire me to stay true to my responsibility to give back to this world.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dear, I want you to know that you are so much more than what one person inflicted - much, much more than those feelings of guilt, shame, and incompleteness. You are beautiful. You are whole. You are so, so, so very invaluable. I could, quite literally, utter that I love you to an inexhaustible length. I think about you every day, and my life is so much better when it is graced with you. Those times mom talks about partnering you, and those times when you see couples perfectly intertwined and those times you wish you could retreat into girlhood and believe that the fairy tales were your life - I know those thoughts, they're those omnipresent pains that are shoved onto our path of thought. But you are so much more than that. You aren't tainted, broken, worthless, and any possible erroneous characteristic that the toxins of others make you think. No, you are quite literally the opposite. You are that invaluable beauty of courage; you whom is reading this right now; your story,your soul, your heart - all of you. You are important to me.I could not imagine my life without you, and I'll be damned if someone ever devalues it. You're so much more than what others want, or desire. You are not something of "value," or "worth." I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. And I will say it, always - and never want anything less or more than you - because YOU are whom I love, not anything else.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I think I learned what the words "domestic violence" meant about a year after I got out of my first abusive relationship. I was twelve or thirteen when it started, maybe younger. While I was being abused I pretended that it wasn't happening, but a year after it was mostly over, I began to realize what had happened and how it had affected me. He had been my friend off and on since the fourth grade; he was a year older than me. He started by telling me scary things, like the different ways that he could kill me, or how he could touch me wherever he wanted or kiss me if he wanted to (but didn't want to because I was ugly). He would always touch me wherever or whenever he wanted, and make me go where he wanted to go, and he would walk around forcefully holding his arm around me even if I said I didn't want to. If I tried to push him away, even if we were with other people, he would grab be back of my neck and squeeze my neck and spine in a really painful way. Then he started hitting me. He would shove me into stuff, or slap me in the face, or hit me with objects or whatever was laying around. I barely remember any of this. I remember that one time he came over to my house when my mom was not around. There was a lead pipe in my basement and he dragged me down the stairs to the basement. He kept swinging the pipe at me and saying he could kill me. I kept asking him to stop, and then begging him to stop, and he kept getting closer to me. He pushed me on the ground and beat me with the pipe. I barely remember this at all now. It was winter and he did not hit me in the face, but instead in places where bruises would not be seen. During and after this he described other ways that he could kill me. Sometimes at night we would have to work together on a project at school. The teacher made us go outside alone together and he always walked outside with his arm around me. Then when we got outside he would act like he was going to hit me. I would flinch and he would tell me not to flinch and ask me why I didn't trust him. He would keep pretending to hit me and telling me not to flinch until I didn't. Then he would hit me many times. I never really noticed the physical pain so much-- I played soccer and I got picked on a lot at school, I was clumsy too, so I always had bruises or little cuts, little wounds that never seemed to heal. My muscles felt stiff all of the time and I was always tired. He always seemed to be around. If I was singing he would tell me I had the worst voice he had ever heard, he would talk about all of the girls who were hot and how I wasn't one of them. He would say we weren't friends. He would slam my face into walls, and throw me on the ground or on his bed, and lay on top of me, and put his hands around my throat. He would say that he would always come back in my life and that when I went to college he would find me in a club or bar one night. He went on to high school and I didn't see him very much. He was still there though, we were in marching band together. One time he caught me alone in the instrument room and he grabbed me by my throat and choked me against the wall.

After being beaten on and pushed around so much when I was 13, I didn't feel like I had any control over my body. Several times guys started to touch me and put their hands in my pants, even when I started dating someone, and I was terrified to say no. On buses, or at friends movie nights, and later in the backs of cars and in movie theaters and in my own bed; in churches, and dark parking lots, and the woods, I would get touched and felt and kissed while my guts were throbbing and hurting and screaming and trembling and my mouth was too scared to open. If I tried to say no there was always a convincing argument against me and I always felt that I would have my face bloodied and bruised if I said no. Anyway, I felt that someone wanting me, even for just sex, was better than being feeling so alone. So I pretended I didn't care instead. I didn't have any real friends and I didn't trust anyone. After awhile, I didn't really have any emotions or feelings or tears or anything left. I started cutting myself, just to feel something. I lived with just my mom then, and she wasn't home much, so I would sit at home alone and eat microwave dinners and watch the news and cut myself. After awhile I didn't really notice it, it just became a habit, like biting my nails is now. But then it kept getting out of control, and I kept getting more and more depressed, and began to feel more and more suicidal. My cuts got deeper, and I started cutting all over my body. My legs, chest, sides, stomach, arms, wrists. I carved the words "fuck" and "whore" and "trust" into my arm. One night I felt completely done with everything. I wrote a letter saying fuck you to all the people who had hurt me. Then I took my knife and stabbed it into my arm as hard and deep as I could, and jerked the knife up my arm. There was blood everywhere, I felt dizzy, I felt scared about what I had done. It became hard to stand up, then I couldn't. I got in the bathtub and tried to wash all the blood down the drain. I just lay there trying not to pass out, but eventually I was able to breathe easier and the bleeding slowed down. I wrapped it up, and it bled very slowly for a long time, maybe a day or more. After that I had no grip in that hand for 4 or 5 years. I saw the guy who had been hitting me sometime after that and I told him about the cutting, he laughed and said I deserved it or something like that. I finally got up the guts to tell my guidance counselor after that. I told him about getting beaten on so much and how I was hurting myself. He threatened to tell my mom if I kept cutting and he said that he would call me in to talk to him again soon. He never talked to me again after that.

Sophomore year of high school I got dumped, and I felt horrible. I had found someone who I trusted enough to tell a little bit about how I had been beat on, but after dating for awhile he told me that God had said that he had to break up with me. I finally started dating this other guy, but I didn't trust him. After awhile that ended, and around the same time one of my friends moved away and I lost some other friends, and I started feeling really lonely and lost. I had still not made sense of anything that happened to me and did not trust anyone. I went to the beach over spring break with my mom and a friend. I hadn't really been able to drink before, at least not much, because my mom was very strict and also I didn't have any friends who invited me to drink or do anything like that. At the beach I decided to go out and find a random hotel filled with college kids there on their spring break. My friend and I immediately got picked up by guys who were probably 21 or 22, but told us they were 18. They took us to their room and gave us shots and shots and shots of liquor, which we washed down with beer. I weighed less than 115 lbs and the most I had previously drank in one night was 3 beers. After about 10 minutes of being there I was falling over. The guys said we had to play strip poker. One of them pulled me onto his lap and started taking off my clothes. After he took off my shirt he threw me on the bed and started having sex with me. I was barely conscious, but it was my first time, and it hurt. He didn't use a condom. Some of the other guys came back in the room while he was still having sex with me and starting laughing and filming it with a video camera. I had a friend with me, and another guy had sex with her. I finally grabbed her and I carried her home. She was throwing up and really sick. Then in the morning I told her what happened. I tried to get excited, and feel like I had had my first one night stand, but all I really felt was broken. The next day I went out to the beach and got some booze from another guy. I drank myself into the hospital. Somehow people at school found out and everyone called me a whore.

That summer I was lost. I went up to visit my uncle in Milwaukee. As soon as I got up there he started touching me and putting his hands all over me. He would push me up against his car and hold me there and not let me move, and he would grab my ass and rub his hands up and down my legs. Then one day he stuck his hands down the front of my pants. One day when he had me pushed up against his car he said he would have done more if I was 18.

When I came home after the week I took all the pills in my house. I woke up the next morning in the hospital. I was there for a couple days and I was almost always in a state of semi sleep. Sometimes I would look over and see a zombie version of myself crawling towards me on the floor. After I got out I started hurting myself more. I would beat the shit out of myself, smash my head into metal or wood, burn myself, choke myself. I'd knock myself out with a hockey stick. I would have big lumps on my head, even little cuts. The pain felt comfortable, it felt like something I was familiar with, it felt like the only thing I could trust. I hated myself and blamed myself for all that had happened. Every night I had terrible flashbacks and nightmares.

When I got my license I would drive around aimlessly at 90-100. I'd speed around on mountain roads, not going anywhere in particular, not caring if I died. I'd smoke cigarette after cigarette alone by myself in the park after dark. I would drink or smoke any chance I got, and drive around wasted.

When I was 16 I ended up in a relationship with a guy who was 3 years older than me. He was a big dude from a rough background. It started off that he would come over to my house, and sometimes bring some alcohol or drugs or something, but mostly I would sit and tell him how much I was hurting and he would hug me. But then after a little while he would start to kiss me, and put his hands on me and in me. I just wanted a friend and I didn't want to hook up, but I wasn't in a position to be too picky. I didn't have anybody else. I'd try to move his hands out of my shirt, out of my pants, keep my clothes on, I'd say stop, but his hands would come back and my clothes would come off. This dude was literally about 30 lbs heavier than twice my size. He'd end up on top of me, kissing me, grabbing me; I couldn't move, I could barely breathe. At that point, I gave up. We started dating, I told myself I was in love with him, I told myself I would marry him. He was a great friend. He went to school a few hours away, so I saw him in the summers and during the school year, I saw him about every other weekend. We dated until I came to college. He started having sex with me pretty soon into our relationship. He didn't have a car, so I would always drive him home and we would sit in my car in the driveway, he would beg me to have sex in the backseat or at least give him a bj. I'd say no, I was tired, I didn't feel like it, I didn't like to hook up in the car, I didn't want to. He'd say he couldn't sleep if he didn't have sex, that it was hard enough to sleep already on his shitty broken couch with roaches crawling over him, that I got to sleep in a nice bed so couldn't I just do this one thing, he'd grab me, he'd pull me towards him. Then I'd just let him do whatever he wanted, and he would leave, and I would drive home bawling my eyes out blasting the stereo as loud as I could. This would happen all the time, in lots of different places: my house, my car, motel rooms, outside in sketchy dark places, other people's places. One time he made me go into this sketchy shed behind his house in the middle of the day, and he bent me over and shoved my head towards the ground and fucked me. 

He started having anal sex with me, he didn't ask me, he just started doing it. One day he was fucking me that way so hard, it was excruciating. I started begging him to stop, and trying to get up or get away, and he pushed my face down into the pillow and kept going till he finished. I was bleeding when he was done, and he said oops and left. Sometimes we had rough sex, he would hit me or choke me, tie me up, hold me down. In a way that felt more normal to me, I was still beating the shit out of myself when I was alone, I wanted that to happen. Sometimes he would hit me so hard that I would almost pass out, then he would feel bad and scream and get upset, and I would just be laying there trying to keep it together. We'd get in fights, he would get really mad and scream and throw stuff, and break stuff. I was really scared of him when he was angry. If I tried to touch him to calm him down he would throw me off of him, he'd shove me away really hard. I felt like there was no way out, nothing to do. We broke up when I went to college, but I'd still go visit him because I felt really lonely and didn't trust anyone still. I remember saying to a friend I met at school one time, something like, damn I don't really want to go visit this guy cause he's probably going to tie me up and fuck the shit out of me. My friend was like whaaaaaaa. I went up there that time anyway. The second night I was there, I don't remember exactly what happened, but I was so drunk and didn't feel like getting shoved around so much. He wanted to have real rough sex though, and he started pushing me around, ripping my clothes, hitting me across the face, choking me. He was drunk so he didn't hold back like he had other times. I don't remember much other than it hurt so bad and I was so scared while it was happening. Afterwards my whole body was throbbing. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

I wish that I could just drill a hole in my head and share all the emotion that I feel after finally sharing my story. Not just THE story, but MY story - the one with out censorship, with all the doubt, fear, and blood curdling hatred that boils inside me. Coming out as a survivor, the world looks at you differently sometimes - "Oh, that's her, she was raped." - any of that sound familiar? You know, those small talk pity phrases that eagerly prompt a change in topic - that eagerly pry for something to gain from your vulnerability. Are you afraid of men? Are you going to start dating girls? Why do you always talk about it? Is that why you're so political? You're never going to attract anyone with all your hate. Hate. Hate. What is hate? My story, I never told it in whole - they just weren't ready to hear it. It fucking sucks. Actually, it's so grueling that, it makes me cringe too, and I'm telling it - it ACTUALLY happened to me. But,even though I found solidarity....no one felt like me. No one understood the unforgettable feeling of head banging; the smell of fresh, living blood; the bold, piercing eyes that distracted you from the name, that choked your words away and did not let you speak. While sometimes we hurt, we're bruised, but never broken. Sometimes, it stings to think about it, to talk about it, to stand when others pity about it. But there is something about letting your heart take the wheel, and about finding your courage to be. Just be. Be the survivor. Be the student. Be the friend that skypes till 3am (despite timezones) and make her feel damn great. Be the voice that can change things. 
I still feel guilty calling it rape.

Rape is something you hear about, this awful, terrible, violent occurrence, nightmarish in its retelling. I have spent so long telling myself that what happened to me wasn't rape. That it wasn't as bad as what other people go through. That I was overreacting.

I had been dating you for so long. On and off for six years. You had been my first. My only. And you knew I was head over heels for you. You were my everything.

That weekend I had driven four hours to see you. I had just come to be with you, to talk and kiss and hold your hand. You brought me to a party with a bunch of your friends that I didn't know. You proceeded to get drunk and high, eventually yelling at me that I was a slut.

I remember crying in an empty room while the party raged on without me.

We went back to your place early. I remember feeling responsible for making you leave. Like I was a child who had to be brought home and tucked in because I couldn't interact with these people. You knew how uncomfortable I was. You were completely silent during that ten minute walk. I just remember apologizing. Like I had done something wrong.

It's still not quite clear to me how things happened the way that they did. All of the sudden you were on me, as though the events of the night didn't count. Like you were entitled to it because I was there.

I didn't say no.

But I was crying the whole time.

Just after it happened was probably the worst experience of my life. Laying wrapped in your arms after you had passed out, confused and upset, tears still streaming down my face.

You had taken pictures. I deleted them while you slept a drug-induced slumber.

I remember convincing myself that night that it wasn't rape.

I hadn't said no.

You were my boyfriend. I trusted you. I didn't know a world could exist where that wasn't true.

You apologized in the morning. So all was forgiven, right? Because little things like this happen every once in a while.

It took four years for me to come to the realization that you assaulted me. Took advantage of me. Disrespected me.

Raped me.

It's still hard for me to digest this information. I still care about you. Sometimes still talk to you. Still trust you.

I've never told you how I felt that night.

Never told my perfect, respectful, trustworthy, gentle, current boyfriend, who I will probably marry. I think I'm still ashamed. That telling him would somehow make me seem like less. Like it was my own fault.

Besides. I didn't say no.

There are so many things I can tell myself I should have done. I should have spoken out. I should have told you to fuck off. I should have stayed home. But the "should haves" do me no good. All I can do is learn from my experiences and use them to make myself a stronger person.

What you did to me was rape. I know that now.

And I will NEVER let someone treat me the way you did that night again. 
Worthlessness - that night of confusion and agony - fear of doubt and judgement and a loss of identity. Waking up, shattered, stains so large that the fabric itself was drenched beyond explanation. Questions, assumptions, rumors, denial - the cycle of reconstruction that stabbed me with self-hate, and the fears of losing ground, faith, friendship and self. Memories of crossing a 13.1 with focus and pride still fresh, but overshadowed by the hopelessness of embarrassment - every pair of eyes at the gym will judge this body that no longer belongs to me alone. Morality lashing and burning at my heartstrings - does this God still love me? That night, that night - where was my God, my friends, my courage. 

Courage......Courage, no she never left my side.
Courage pulled me away when he was pulling me with yes
Courage woke up with me the morning after and gave me the strength to cry.
Courge gave me the focus to see fear, and the power to look in the eye and challenge it.
Courage picked up my confidence and fueled it with the passion to not just speak, but shout all that he expected to mute. 
Courage is with me now, and together we will take life by the lapels.

Courage is why I am a survivor. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dear Friend:
It has been about two months or so since I’ve had a long conversation with you, and well, I thought it be just to update you on a lot of things. First off, I would just like to say that the only reason I am writing you this letter, is because, quite frankly, the detail in which I am proceeding is a conversation that am still very vulnerable to have in person – and is something that we will not have the time for in the near future.
We left our friendship on an odd note, the eve of your birthday, for which we were both excited for. The night was rushed, and the days leading up to it were testing and memorable – but there was something that was wrong with me those nights that only now I can fully process.
Just a few days before your birthday, we went out to a party and what I thought happened to me that night was actually greater than I wanted to believe. I don’t remember seeing much of you, and it has been through painful, spotty recollection that I remember the face of the guy who I thought I only kissed that night. I told you the morning after that I thought he only grabbed me, but something else happened that night. That night, I was sexually assaulted – and it was a reality that I only accepted days after your birthday, after I was told by the hospital that I had signs of internal trauma and vaginal damage. Damage. Damage.
The morning after my assault, I woke up to a bed soaked in blood, and with a pain that made me feel unclean, used, and worthless. I was sure it was just my period, but it was a pain that didn’t go away after a few days – no, it got worse and worse. After the doctor told me what my body showed, I realized that the effects of my assault were more than just physical, they were mentally scarring. It is a scarring that still affects me today, and as my mentor said, that will affect a survivor for years – me, a survivor; that was the point in which I realized that my life would never be the same.
The night of your birthday, even though I was not aware of it, was the first time I was triggered. For some reason, being around strangers, your not wanting to move, my need to get you home brought my first flashback – my first full recollection of my assault. It had nothing to do with you, but just the feeling that everything was my fault; everything from that night to everything I thought I did to our friendship.  I’ve had this bruise that has only made me more and more introspective for the past eight weeks.
I never heard what happened to you.
I never heard from you, really.
I only worried, I only thought.
You wanted space, and then, after a while, you sought me here and there. But often times, I felt that you couldn’t even look at me straight, that you just wanted to eventually make amends. You’ve probably reached out to me at least five times “Let’s get together” “Lets catch up at the end of the week” ”Let’s meet up before school is out.” This letter is only in your hands because we are both out for the summer, and we never met. Texts were never answered. Business took the wheel.
But this is by no means an attack on you, and I am by no means ever one to be passive aggressive. I just wanted to let you know that I am hurt. Even two months later, those unanswered, never realized catch-ups, the lack of time every round - it hurt, my friend. They hurt because, I am not, and never will be mad, angry, upset at you – no, I never really care much about myself; that’s my problem really.
I am writing this letter, because I have fully suppressed these feelings for a very long time, and well, it’s time I let them out just for a bit.
I valued our friendship a lot, and I will not lie and say that I did not think of you those times when I felt most vulnerable – when I was out and saw a familiar face and wondered if that was the guy who did that to me; when I drove past Sunrise on my way to the OCRCC and thought of warm biscuits; when I just wanted someone to tell me that God still wanted me, even though a part of me was taken away, and even though I was crying and felt alone in my prayers.
This letter has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to write, and I want you to know that if you wish, you need not say anything in return.
I just want you to know that there is no malice in it.
There is no blame extended, no hatred sent in an envelope.
No, this is simply a note to a friend; everything that I had to say.
I want you to know that I just could not keep these feelings shut.
But, we are Resident Advisors. It’s our job to keep the tides calm.
But, I have courage.
Courage, no she never left my side.
Courage pulled me away when he was pulling me with yes
Courage woke up with me the morning after and gave me the strength to cry.
Courage gave me the focus to see fear, and the power to look in the eye and challenge it.
Courage picked up my confidence and fueled it with the passion to not just speak, but shout all that he expected to mute.
Courage is with me now, and together we will take life by the lapels.

I never want my residents to feel lost.
My girls will not fear.
I will be strong for them.
Friend, may you only find happiness in your path.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer session II had started up, and we were overwhelmed with chemistry work and labs. The concert became a bright spot, a reprieve I looked forward to. The concert went surprisingly well. The singer was spectacular and I enjoyed myself. During the concert, he told me he liked somebody else and I breathed a sigh of relief. I chalked up all of his previous actions to the flirting of an inexperienced boy.

On the way home though, things took a turn. We stopped for food. On the way back to the car, he locked me out. I banged on the window, but he told me I had to dance to get back in. The lot was filled with truckers taking a rest stop, and I was hugely embarrassed.

Driving back to Chapel Hill, a Lady Gaga song came on. He told me he liked her music, but didn’t like what she stood for because homosexuality was a choice. He then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to marry somebody like the lead singer of The Band Perry because she was a virgin and girls today were “slutty whores.” I stayed silent and hoped we were close to home.

We finally reached Chapel Hill. I was staying in Everett for the summer, but Raleigh Street was under construction. He mistakenly went down the road, only to find that it was blocked. I told him that if he could turn around, I would walk from Spencer parking lot. He pulled in and shut off the car.

I thanked him for taking me and hugged him good night. When I pulled away, he told me to wait a minute. At this point, he hops over the console and pulls me into his lap. I was shocked, but not enough to run screaming out the door. His face was so close to mine, and I turned away. He told me he wasn’t going to kiss me because I had mono, didn’t I remember? He started to rub my legs and now I was becoming alarmed. He trailed his hands up my legs and up my skirt and grabbed my underwear. I jolted away, and he said he wasn’t going to do anything, as if offended by my reaction. I remember at some point saying that it was wrong, that he liked somebody else. He told me she had a boyfriend. I lurched for the door, and desperately he told me to straddle him. I lunged out, and he asked from the open car door if I would be around that weekend to work on chemistry.

I walked back to my dorm, but before I could even open the door I was assaulted by a series of texts.

12:12 AM: “I’m sorry about that. It won’t ever happen again. I feel terrible.”
12:16 AM: “Like that was impulses and lust. I’m sorry I like you as a friend but my guy mind takes control every now and the. That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
12:16 AM: “Please forgive me for it.”
12:23 AM: “And I’m guessing you’re probably asleep. So I’ll just see you tomorrow or something.”
12:25 AM: “ But text me back tonight if you can. That way I won’t be worrying if you’re mad at me or not.”

I didn’t quite know what had just happened. Was it just the mistake of an overly eager guy? Was I overreacting by being frightened? I brushed my teeth and before I went to bed, I decided to send a conciliatory text. For all I knew, he could be obsessive, chemically imbalanced, and capable of physical harm.

12: 40 AM: “Hey, I’m up, I’m just getting ready for bed. I forgive you. I was just confused because you said you liked somebody else and I thought we were friends.”
12:45 AM: “Yeah we are only just friends. I promise I’m not a bad guy. I just get trapped by lust every now and then. And I hate it. I do like someone else but it’s pretty much a waste for me to like them. But I’m really sorry, it was wrong against you and against me. It will not happen again, I assure you.”
12:49 AM: “I believe you. I know you’re not a bad person and I had a really great time tonight but I don’t like feeling like a piece of ass and I think I earned more respect than that.”
12:51 AM: “Yeah, that’s why I feel bad. You’re not just another piece. I haven’t ever had any pieces. I disrespected you and hopefully the concert kinda makes up for it.”

After this occurrence, the person in question texted me a few more times. I never responded. If by chance we met on campus, he acted as if we were best friends. I removed all forms of communications from him.

I spent so long after that feeling ashamed of myself. I was, after all, a level headed eighteen- year-old. I was never guy crazy – I didn’t fall over myself to meet anyone, or pretend I was one of the boys. I could usually tell the bad ones. So how did I not see this? How did I not connect the dots? I should have known better.

And then it finally occurred to me that he should have known better. It is not my duty to walk around afraid, hedging bets on which guy will grope me first, on whom I can trust to be alone with in a motor vehicle, with whom can I eat lunch without them feeling as if I owe them. It is not up to me to refrain from wearing skirts. I should not need to size up each male I meet on their potential to harm me. I said I was confused when really I was outraged. Concerts are not free passes to sexually assault your company. And nothing makes up for it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Despite the pain they’re filled with, so many of these posts are beautifully written. I’ve always wanted to turn my hurts into something hauntingly lovely in its fucked-up-edness, Lolita style, but my story still feels ugly. Enough for now just to write it down.

For three years, beginning when I was fifteen, I was in a verbally, and occasionally physically, abusive relationship. We believed that we loved each other and that we would get married, and it never occurred to me that abuse happens even in high school, even in your first relationship, even when you are practically still children. When I was with him I felt dirty and empty and useless and scared, and I didn’t realize how wrong it was until years later. That’s not really the problem anymore, though; just how the problem arose.

The problem is that in fictional portrayals, the abused girl realizes her strength and immediately finds a man who respects her and loves her – when from what I’ve seen, bad relationships are followed by self-loathing, sexual recklessness, and shattered confidence. I know that I have not had it nearly as hard as many of the people posting to this site. I know. But too many times I’ve woken up the morning after and cried on my floor, brushed my teeth, scrubbed my skin, and brushed my teeth again. Too many times I’ve been too scared and confused to try to say no, or I’ve been ignored when I do. Too many times I’ve been screaming in my head and not known how to scream out loud.

My body is mine and I want it back. You can’t touch it unless I want you to, and if I don’t want you to, don’t try to convince me. I’m sick of not feeling like I can respect myself and I’m sick of not feeling like others should respect me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I was about to start my senior year in high school. I was so excited for all the events that I would get to finally take part of that year. I was finally clean from drugs, had over come my eating disorder, and was ready for a fresh start. Two weeks before school started, he raped me. The one man who I thought a woman could always count on. The man that was supposed to teach a woman how other men should treat her, how to get respect, how to not let anybody ever hurt them.

I wish my mother would have believed me two years ago. Maybe this could have been avoided. I wish she believed me now. I wish it never happend. I wish I didn't have to run away because of it. I wish I could sort the thoughts in my head that have kept me up at night for the last 3 years. The thoughts of not knowing what to call him when I see him every time I go home. Are you really my father? no. You are a monster...disguised by a joke, a "hard working man", nobody knows what names you called my mother, sister and I, or what you did to me. Even after I told you to stop. Even after I ran away.

How do I tell the man I love now what has happend to me? how do I get him to understand? Does this make me less of a woman? How do I tell him I can never fully be his because you decided to claim me? and you continue to claim me saying i'm yours. I lost the baby you forced onto me...I guess God had mercy on me.

I hope to one day be able to look into the eyes of the man I once called father and say, "i forgive you". Maybe then and only then will I be able tolive again. you broke the heart that was once so full of life. So happy, and ready to start fresh. You killed me when I was just about to start living. When will I taste life again...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dear 16 yr old Lisa,

I know that you are scared and confused right now. You were just raped, you are feeling physical and emotional pain you don't know how to deal with. It's ok to feel pain it only makes you human. Don't listen to Satan's lies you aren't weak and it's not your fault. You are going to get angry, you are going to be sad, you are going to want to blame yourself. You are going to look in the mirror and hate your reflection staring back at you. You think you are alone, you feel lost, and you are going to find comfort in that bottle of alcohol. Alcohol is going to introduce you to your safe place in your mind where everything is ok because you can't feel anything. Being numb is your safe place but you aren't safe there! The enemy is taunting you with flashbacks, and you are reliving that awful day in your mind. The enemy invades your safe place and is leading you to alcohol. He is filling you up with fear, doubt and hate.
My dear sweet Lisa this is no way to live but don't fear sweet angel redemption is coming! God is looking out for you, He loves you, He forgives you for being angry at Him, and He will bring you Light! You won't be living in darkness forever. I wish I was there to comfort you and lead you in the right direction. I would tell you that God loves you, just call on Him! He will carry your pain for you. This pain is too much for you to carry all by yourself, give it to Him. Please don't take that drink! Don't drink that glass of vodka you are going to be raped again. I know you are hurting and confused. That new dream you had, that nightmare was just God telling you what happened to you last night. He wants you to know because your body is going to hurt everywhere. You are going to be hungover and you are going to have some bruises on your back from the back of the truck they laid you down on. Yes! I said they, there were two of them and they took turns. You are going to doubt and think that your mind is playing tricks on you but that is just Satan, "The Father of Lies" he wants you to think that you are going crazy. He doesn't want you to know the truth but God is going to send a girl to tell you that everything you saw was real. You aren't crazy and please don't hate yourself. I know that your parents are mad at you for coming home drunk and wearing nothing but a bathing suit, but they love you. It's ok to tell them what happened to you. It's ok to just confide in your Mom if you want. It's going to cross your mind for years to come but don't worry my sweet angel redemption is coming. In God's time they will know the truth and you will feel God's courage and strength. The chains that the enemy used to hold you down will be broken. One day you will be free!!
Right now you feel unworthy of love, you feel broken, damaged, and you have become a prisoner of your own mind in that safe place you created. You started a dangerous love affair with beer and vodka. You don't realize it but it's leading you to dance with the devil. You are going to dance with the devil for years to come, but don't cry my love. God is going to cut in and lead you in a new dance. Your new dance with God will be the most beautiful dance in your life. The twirls and dips will be healing, the leaps you make will be bigger than you ever thought possible. You will be lighter than you have ever been and as you two take your bow there will be a joy in soul you have never experienced before.
I know right now you can' t see anything but fear and torment your first attacker comes to visit you often. He shows up at your house, your school functions, and hangs out with your friends. You feel fearful because when you see him you remember that awful day. You remember the coldness in his eyes, the weight of him on top of you, the tight grip he had on your wrists, you can still feel the ever increasing heart beats in your chest as you feel his wet lips on your neck. He triggers those memories when you see him, but when he sees you, my darling he sees your strength and he becomes fearful. He saw how you fought that day and sees how everyday you walk a little taller, and speak more clearer. You are stronger every time he sees you! You are too broken to see that God has given you His courage and strength to look your enemy in the eye and rise above him. When you walk away from your attacker you are both fearful. You my sweet angel fear the devil you see inside him and your attacker fears God because God is shining through you!!
My dear God is protecting you he hasn't left you nor will He forsake you. The enemy keeps harassing you he is taunting you and using people in your church to shun you. He is using them to bring you back to the bottle. You are even more broken than before because the enemy has told you that those people that rejected you at church is a reflection of how your earthly father and heavenly Father feel about you. It's a huge lie that will believe and drink away for years to come. Don't fear my dear Lisa, redemption is coming!
You walk around in a daze because that "safe place" you've created in your mind is filled with chaos, confusion, fear, and doubt. Satan doesn't want you to know how strong you are he is slowly chipping away your confidence. He is leading you down a path of darkness that is filled with men that see your innocence and take advantage of your vulernability. Don't give yourself to those men, don't lie in that bed with them they don't know how special you are. You stand outside of yourself and see a different person in that bed. You are protecting your soul and you are watching your hallow shell in that bed. Don't let this define you, Satan has labeled you as a weak, empty, and soulless victim. You don't know this yet but you are a strong, courageous survivor. The enemy doesn't want you to know this truth and his sole agenda is to keep you from your day of redemption through God. It's coming soon keep pushing through the pain.
You are losing battles with the enemy but fear not for with God the war is won! God always wins just reach out your hand to Him He will pull you up and walk with you. God is protecting you, you are older now and are moving to the other side of the country. He is also going to bring you friends and people whom you will feel safe with. You don't see it though you are blinded by the enemies lies. You are too broken to see that God is with you and redemption will be here soon! You have now started to tango with the enemy. He has you close to him and his lead is strong. The bottle is now your sanctuary and you are about to fall down into a well of danger. You are about to face evil again, you my sweet angel are going to be raped again! This attacker is evil in it's truest form. He is going to taunt you, hold in his laire against your will, he will violate your body and insult you he will even laugh in your face. Fear not my love you will rise above this, redemption is just around the corner!
You are stronger than you think and you will reach out to your safe people. They will encourage you to keep fighting, God will use them to tell you to not let this rape define you! You will go back to what you know, the bottle and you will drink yourself numb. God is crying for you, He wants you back, and He is about to free you from the enemy! In the midst of your love affair with the bottle and your tango with the enemy God cuts in! God is about to lead you into the arms of your husband. A handsome angel is going to rescue you from your dangerous affairs with bad men and the bottle. You will be timid and shy at first, the enemy will tell you that you aren't worthy, but you follow God's lead through this man. You will tell this man of your brokenness and he will love you through it. You see a light for the first time in a long time. He leads you to break your chains of silence and telling your family about your past. Lisa my sweet angel redemption has begun!
You have started on your path to redemption and the lies in your mind are being quieted by God's truths and promises for you. God gave you a beautiful wedding to the love of your life. He didn't want you two to go through healing and redemption by yourselves. You are going to see glimpses of God's love for you through your husband's eyes. You and your husband are now walking on God's path of redemption for you. God is leading you to a class called How We Love so that you can recognize where your brokenness comes from and has given you tools to overcome it. Then God will lead you to a class called Rooted at Mariners Church and you will share your brokenness with a group of women. These women embrace you and they don't shun nor do they judge you. You will have a moment during your prayer time where you will hear God's voice for the first time. He will tell you to surrender your pain to him that you have been carrying a burden for too long and too large to carry it on your own. You will surrender your pain to Him and your chains of your past will fall to the floor. You will feel safe and freedom for the first time in your life!! You will praise God and thank Him for never leaving your or forsaking you. You will get baptized with your husband holding hands. You and your earthly father will share a special moment and this moment kick starts forgiveness in your hearts for each other. Redemption my sweet girl is continuing!
You will go through Rooted again because you are seeking and searching for your purpose. You will continue to heal and share your story with the men and women in your group. This is when you embrace yourself as a strong and courageous survivor. God tells you to go out and tell your story to many you are, "Breaking Your Silence 4 Healing". My sweet angel God is going to use your story to tell others of His love and faithfulness for His children. God has given you redemption, He has put a new mirror in front of you. You will have a hard time accepting this at first, but once you look again you finally love who God made you. MY LOVE REDEMPTION IS HERE, IT'S NOW AND YOUR SOUL IS HEALING!! God stripped away your pain, brokenness, and your distorted view of yourself and NOW these three remain: FATIH, HOPE, AND LOVE. But the greatest of these is LOVE. (1Cor 13:13) My dear sweet 16 yr old Lisa God is healing you, making you feel safe, freeing you from your chains, God is the redeemer of your past. He loves you and will never and has never left your side. Praise be to God my Savior, my Redeemer!!!

Love You Always,
30 yr old Redeemed Lisa

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I did not report... because I used to love him, because I still cared about him, because I told him to get that condom.

I did not report because I was wearing my shortest short skirt and my fuck-me heels, because being in bed and being cuddled by him felt like one of the safest places in the world. Because crashing at an old's friend and ex-boyfriend's seemed far safer than braving the two night buses and the street where the scary boy follows me home every so often.

I did not report because I am angry at me. He betrayed my trust, but I got me raped. Or assaulted. Or taken advantage of. Or whatever that grey area is between consent, non-consent and acquiescence. I was not there for me.

I could have left. I have a phone and one can find taxis even in Hackney. I could have moved to the sofa. I am a feminist, he thinks he's a feminist, I know that women tend to appease rather than fight.

Yet as the 7am light hit my groggy head, and we'd been drunk, then asleep and then we were awake again and the number of No's! was getting embarrassing, he raised his voice with me and I gave up. I gave in. I was not there.

This is why I do not report.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I was drugged.

Just typing those words pains me, scares me to death. If it weren't for friends who intercepted me at the bar, things could have been much, much worse. I still feel sick at the thought of a bar or alcohol, and it's been hard just to eat the past few days for fear it will all come back up once I remember that this happened to me.

The knowledge that this happened to me is still a foreign concept. I can't imagine where I would have woken up and in what state I would be in if it weren't for the intervention of friends.

I release this memory (or lack thereof) so that others may know that this CAN HAPPEN TO YOU. I know we've heard this a thousand times over, but it never sank in until I was that person that it happened to.