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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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We are holding our first fall Speak Out! in October 26th, 2017 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.

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.