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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.

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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.

Friday, October 4, 2013

I honestly have no idea when the molestation started but I didn't realize what was happening until I was in High School. I remember always noticing something was off, like my closet light being on when I woke up in the morning and knowing that it wasn't on when I went to sleep. Then I would wake up and he would be in my room just staring at me. I would tell my mom about it and she would talk to him about it. I noticed a hole in my shower that could be peered in to. Then one night I woke up to him pulling the covers off of me and I knew. I knew that everything I had been feeling in my gut was right, I finally had the proof I needed. I went to my mom and other people who I felt were supposed to protect me. My mom said that he had denied it so vehemently that I must have dreamed it.
After that I couldn't sleep. I swear that if someone so much as touched my doorknob I would wake up. It got to where I couldn't handle people touching me, even a pat on the arm would freak me out. I would sleep under my sheets with them safety pinned to the bed around me so that there was no way he could touch me. I begged and begged my mom for a new door knob that locked and for my birthday one year I finally got it. I started to feel safe again. I could sleep through the night. Then I noticed the lock pin missing from my door. So I started using the handle of a small paint brush to lock my door. I didn’t realize how good he was at picking locks. I woke up to him grabbing me, I yelled and started crying. 
He tried to comfort me.
I asked him why he did it.
He told me I had a nightmare.
My mom came in. 
The next day I came home from school with a deadbolt on my door. I cried. I cried with a relief that I cannot describe.
And I slept.
Though knowing that I was safe, I feared for future girls, future victims. I wondered at what my responsibility was to these nameless girls who did not yet exist, but could. I felt that I could not get my true justice, being that my own attacker was a member of my family. A family that I was unwilling to test and see on whose side they would stand. My biggest fear is that he would be able to take all that was good from me. 
I am lucky that shortly after I left home my abuser was arrested for a victimless crime and is now a registered sex offender. Now he will be required to let people know who his truly is and what he is capable of wherever he goes. 
So now my work begins on the other parts of me he twisted. I wish I could say he was the only one who twisted me, but that would be a lie as there has been another since. I have to learn to trust people. I have to develop a comfort with my sexuality instead of fear. I have to learn to not be afraid of what is in the dark. But I do know that I never wanted or asked for any abuse I have received, just as no woman ever has. We are not just the victims of these abusers; we are the victims of a society that perpetuates a dialogue that females should be on constant guard from every possible threat, even while sleeping and that if something happens then we didn’t have a good enough guard up. We are victims of a society that perpetuates sex as a valuable rite of passage for manhood and as a woman’s disgrace. 
I pray that one day I can walk down the street without purposefully avoiding groups of men and that one day catcalls won’t make me want to vomit. I pray that one day everyone will truly understand the damage done through sexual abuse. Whether that abuse is violent, brief, seemingly gentle or lasts for years, it is abuse and will take much longer to recover from than the time it took to inflict it.

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