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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.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I've found that people don't enjoy hearing these stories. They don't like hearing that I was molested by my uncle. They don't like hearing that I was drugged and raped upon entering college, and that I vaguely remember the experience. And they certainly don't like hearing that I have flashbacks to those events throughout my daily life, at night, during exams, while talking to friends, while cuddling with boyfriends…

You see, we live in a society where rape is the victims fault. "How many boys have you slept with?" "Were you intoxicated?" or my personal favorite: "Are you sure you said no?"

I was a freshman in high school in March of 2008 when my uncle began touching me. He snuck into my room at night, he pretended to tickle me, and he was doing it to my cousin, too. He would lay beside me and rub his erect penis on my thigh… He would grab and fondle my breast and vaginal areas. This continued until September of 2008. In December of that year, my cousin spoke out about it. Until then, the only people who knew were my best friend and my boyfriend. Nobody else. Long story short, word got back to my father who insisted we press charges. So we did.

Everything after that was a blur. All of the questions. All of the trial dates. All of the appearances. Two things stand out in my mind: the detective saying my uncle was preparing me for rape.. and the judge saying “guilty.”

I testified for over an hour. Question after question. Having to tell every gruesome detail with my grandmother, mother, father, two uncles, two aunts, and three younger cousins all in the courtroom. I had to listen to my uncles and aunts and cousins testify against me. I had to watch my mother silently cry as I recapped how he would touch me. I had to comfort my father as to prevent him from committing a homicide. And I had to watch my uncle walk out of the courtroom after just being found guilty of two counts of sexual battery. You see, the way the law works, since he did not ever make skin to skin contact, he was granted a PJC. Meaning it is no longer on his record, and he suffered no consequences other than a pat on the hand.

He friend requested me on facebook a couple weeks later. He left voicemails on my phone during trial season. He would text my father requesting we drop the charges. And end the end he was granted a PJC because the judge didn’t want me to have to go to a higher level of court. I was diagnosed with chronic PTSD, and quit going to therapy after I asked my pastor for prayers and he responded with “this is something you should be ashamed of. Don’t tell anybody else.” So I didn’t speak of it again. To anybody. Until now. 

He gets to go on with his life and I am left with nightmares and daily reminders of what happened. He won. I don’t feel like a survivor because he killed so much of me with a simple touch. Maybe one day I’ll be able to let my boyfriend tickle me. Maybe one day I’ll be able to cuddle. Maybe one day it won’t freak me out for someone to randomly touch my arm or leg. Maybe one day I will sleep for more than 2 hours without waking up from a nightmare. Maybe one day he will disappear from my memory. Maybe one day I’ll be able to talk to those with the same name as his. Maybe one day I’ll be able to look my mother in the eyes without remembering the pain I caused her. Maybe one day I’ll be able to visit my father’s home again, a place I haven’t been since the abuse because it’s too painful to sleep in that bed and sit on that couch and cuddle under those blankets. Maybe one day…. 

But tonight I will lie down. I will silently cry until I can stay awake no longer. I will again try to convince myself that it wasn’t my fault. I will wake up often, sweaty, crying, trying to escape. I will realize that my nightmares are based off of reality. And tomorrow I will put on a smile and walk around as if nothing is wrong, only to have memories of him touching me pervading through my brain. 

I am numb… I am broken… But I will not be silent any longer.

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