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!

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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.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

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.

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