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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My sophomore year of high school, I was sexually assaulted. The odd thing about this incident is that I didn’t even realize it until I got to college. At a youth group dance in Charlotte, I was dancing with a boy. The things I remember about him are that he was an obnoxious kid and very drunk that night. All of a sudden, he deliberately put both of his hands on my boobs. I immediately moved his hands away but I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything. At the end of the song, I grabbed my friend’s hand and quickly walked away, commenting how weird and annoying that was. But, I danced with that kid until the end of the song. After he had essentially groped me. 

The reason I didn’t remember this happening wasn’t because my brain blocked it out due to extreme psychological distress. I simply forgot about it because it really didn’t have any major effect on me. 

This is my third time attending SpeakOut, and every year, I debate whether or not to submit this story. I have previously and repeatedly decided against it because it doesn’t even compare to the pain shared by the other survivors of rape and repeated sexual abuse that submit to this blog. However, I finally decided that my story is important. 

Now, as a passion feminist and advocate for survivors of all forms of sexual and interpersonal violence, I wish that I had become angry at this boy. I wish that I had turned around and yelled at him. I wish that I had yelled for everyone to hear, and I wish that he had become so embarrassed that he never touched anyone inappropriately again, and I wish that I had talked to my fellow chapter of girls about it later. 

The reason that these things didn’t happen was because I didn’t know it was that bad. Annoying and inappropriate, yes, but not bad enough to warrant the label “sexual assault.” I didn’t realize that this one incident reflected the power dynamics between men and women, and that observers would probably blame alcohol or my low-cut dress for his inability to control his sexual urges. I am upset at myself that I, as a smart, confident, and educated teenager, didn’t recognize the oppression acting directly upon me. I am upset that high school students, especially in a youth group setting that is highly-educated about topics such as alcohol abuse, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, and body image, are not educated about sexual assault prevention and support for survivors. I am upset that we are socialized to think that behavior like boob-grabbing and cat-calling is okay under the excuse that it’s just “guys being guys.” 

I now realize that it’s important to speak out even against seemingly insignificant incidents like mine, because if they go unnoticed and unacknowledged, violence is perpetuated in our society. If we educate our world, and especially young people, about sexual and interpersonal violence, talk back to individuals who commit these acts, and empower survivors to share their stories, eventually we can stop these incidents from happening.

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