Welcome to the SpeakOut! Blog

Break the silence that surrounds sexual assault, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, relationship abuse, stalking, hate crimes, and identity-based violence. Share your story here on our anonymous blog.

To speak about an experience with any form of interpersonal violence is difficult, but it is also empowering. Breaking the silence reduces shame and helps others to speak out about their own experiences.

End the shame. Be empowered. Speak Out!

Thank you for Speaking Out! We would love to get your permission to share your testimonial. If you would like to allow your testimonial to be used at a later Speak Out!, please let us know by making a comment or a note in your testimonial.

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.

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.