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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

It was a frat party. Don't tell me I was dumb for drinking the pj, because I've already heard it and I already know it. I'd been to this house a few times, and knew some of the brothers as great guys. I felt comfortable here, but I shouldn't have. It was alumni weekend, and the place was crowded. I split up from my friends to ask a brother, one that I didn't know but had seen around, to show me to a restroom other than the one that was overflowing with people (and a questionable-looking floor). He took me somewhere, saying something to another brother on the way there. I was lead down a hallway on the main floor to a restroom, and turned to say thanks to the brother who lead me when I was pushed backwards into the room. Before the door was shut and locked, the brother I'd asked came in - along with two other guys I'd never seen. They started saying shit. About how a girl doesn't ask a brother for the bathroom unless she's a slut. About how they were alumni and they 'ruled this bitch.' Whether they were talking about me or the frat is unclear. 

I told them I just wanted to go to the restroom while they pulled their polos out of their pants. I told them I wasn't a whore while they unbuckled their belts. I told them my friends would be looking for me as they pushed down their pants. And I told them I didn't want it as they pinned me to the floor and shoved their body parts inside of me. 

I'd sworn when I was younger that I wouldn't be another statistic. I'd been molested by my grandfather throughout my childhood and I'd heard that people who were abused previously were more likely to be abused again. As I lay there, one man holding my wrists, another my feet, while the third... my mind swirled, wondering if it was a nightmare, like I so often have. I thought about the bathroom - how white it was, a brother had left their toiletry bag on the counter, the toilet needed cleaning. I tried to think of everything except what was happening. I left the room after they were done with me - throat hoarse, clothes and hair a mess, face smeared with tears and other things. They'd taken me, taken my ability to say no, and taken my dignity. They'd degraded me and ruined me. 

I didn't tell the police. I told my close friends, and they tried to get me to, but after the court cases with my granddad and the humiliation, anger, and depression I felt when he was acquitted of every charge against him, I didn't feel like going through that again. I didn't want to feel like a monkey in a cage again. 

I haven't gotten over it completely. I've had breakdowns while intoxicated. I've been irrationally frightened of men for next to no reason - other than that I've been physically harmed too many times by the male sex to trust anyone fully without years of proof that they aren't going to hurt me. I'm not one of those people who goes around telling their story to incriminate the Greek system or men in general. I'm a member of the Greek system and I still know a lot of great men. But I don't feel safe at Carolina anymore. Not just because of being raped. But because of the nonchalant - or worse - victim-blaming attitudes that I have encountered. Rape culture exists, and it exists here. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

We weren’t even dating. We had been an on again off again couple my freshman year of high school. He was older than me and I thought that was cool and that made me someone to have someone older like me. He had randomly called me one day and asked me if I wanted to hang out. I was all for it--anything to get away from home (my parents were in the process of dragging out a long and bitter divorce. They were still living together at this point). I just thought we were going to drive around and talk, which we did…initially. I wasn’t paying attention to where we were going, just spilling my guts out to him about how miserable I was. Next thing I knew we were pulling into some sort of truck holding area (a year or so later I discovered where he took me). We were talking and next thing I knew he was telling me how much he missed me and was trying to pull me closer to him. I was guarded since we weren’t dating and kind of just ignored him. He begged me for oral. I told him no. He pulled my head down to his crotch. I sprung back up and tell him no again. He told me he wasn’t taking me anywhere (aka back home) until he got what he wanted. I felt so trapped. After a while and after more repeated requests, I did what he asked and he drove me home. We never went out again needless to say. I felt disgusted with myself. Maybe if I had waited him out longer none of it would have ever happened. I should have known what he wanted calling me up like that. I was na├»ve and stupid. I told my mom what happened. She used it as ammunition against my father; lying to him and telling him that I said he was cut from the same cloth as that guy (I’m not a fan of my father at all but I never said that). I only learned about that after my father confronted me about it. I felt betrayed all over again, this time by my mother who I told that to in confidence and she swore she wouldn’t tell anyone. Then my issue disappeared and they argued amongst themselves again. A few months (probably closer to a year) after it happened I get a call from the guy. Evidently he had been at my dad’s house and my dad had told him how that was unacceptable behavior (how you have a civil conversation about that, I’m not sure). The guy called me and cussed me out and said he did nothing wrong and that I was a willing participate. All I could say was “no means no” and I hung up the phone. I still had to see him around school and unfortunately he hung out with the same people I did, so I saw him even after he graduated. I’d like to say I’m over it. I’m not over it, I’ve just moved past it. I still think about it from time to time which makes me mad at myself to even let him and that situation enter my mind. It’s almost like he still has the control, even when I haven’t spoken/seen him in years.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I laughed. The first thing I remember when I look back is that is that I laughed. The morning after, after his friends who I have never met came and retrieved him from my room (which to this day makes me queasy), I called my friend and told her what had happened over the past few hours. How I had wanted him to come over, how I was the slightest bit tipsy, how we had started off our evening with the cursed ‘what are you doing?’ text. How when he came over he reeked of alcohol and was bragging about how he beat up some guy who looked at his friend wrong. I still ask myself, what was I thinking? Was I so into experiencing college that I was willing to do this for that so called fun random hook up? I was. However I didn’t know exactly what I had gotten myself into. I thought that if we made out a bit and cuddled I would feel satisfied. Mutually beneficial, yeah? Instead, what I got was fear, pain, and feeling completely and utterly out of control. My no’s went unheard. His pleas for sex and more were denied over and over again, but he continued to press on. I knew he had had several partners and I wasn’t comfortable with his penis being anywhere near my downstairs and I had to fight, continuously, to keep that from happening. We settled on oral. There are still things that I am not comfortable with to this day, that men who are completely innocent have had give up (with no complaints). He put his fingers in me. Despite my clear “NO. STOP.” He put his finger in a part of me that I never wanted a man to touch. He did it twice. Both times I had to force him to stop. Both times I justified as him being drunk and me ‘leading him on’. I was so humiliated that I had to laugh as I confessed to my friend. I was the one who felt guilty and dirty. I pulled my panties back on and fell into a twisted sleep, afraid that he would try in the middle of the night, again, to pressure me into something that I explicitly wasn’t comfortable with. I laughed. I told my friend and I laughed. I spent two years feeling shame, feeling like I had to make light of a situation that was anything but. I spent two years casually avoiding him. Of fielding off his “Do you hate me?” text. Two years of being embarrassed of the rumors he spread to our mutual friends, but being too afraid to tell the truth. Three years later, I still feel shame. I still wonder if I’m being silly, or dramatic.

It wasn’t rape. I asked him to come over. I laughed.

But why then do I still feel dirty? Why then do I still cringe in certain situations? Why can a finger and a few ignored NOs have such an affect on a person? And most importantly, why are things like this still happening and why are we blaming ourselves? I laughed. It took years for me to even realize how wrong he was. I laughed. I experienced sexual assault and I laughed. 

Please label this as anonymous but you can use it how you wish. Thanks for providing this space.

Monday, October 6, 2014

I never said no.

I never said anything that I can remember, in fact. I might have even said yes—I was so intoxicated that I can’t remember. All I remember is suddenly ending up naked in his bed and suddenly he's inside me. I couldn’t feel anything, I felt trapped inside of my own body. I didn’t want it, but I couldn’t break through the intoxication to express it. I hate myself for getting so drunk. If I didn’t drink so much, I wouldn’t have let it happen. If I wasn’t drunk, it wouldn’t have happened.

I can’t call it rape, I can’t even call it sexual violence, because it wasn’t violent. I don’t have the authority to call it that. To him, for all he knew, it was consensual. I have no idea how drunk he was. It was just a drunken mistake. So why does it make me want to cry every time I think about it? Every time I relive the fuzzy details? Every time my friends talk about the guy “I had sex with.” The guy my roommate knows, who’s a “good guy,” who “would never do anything to you.” So what did he do?

I can’t claim to be a survivor, because I was never in danger. I can’t claim to be a victim, because I don’t know that he was a perpetrator. Apparently he bought me a drink, but I was already too drunk to remember taking it. Maybe he should have known better, maybe he was trying to take advantage of me, but how come my roommate who was with us didn’t do anything to stop it? She was sober. He wasn’t. How sober wasn’t he?

I wish I could tell a better story. I wish I could remember the details. I wish I hadn’t gotten so drunk. I wish I knew what to call what he did. I wish it hadn’t happened. But I’m afraid to tell anyone else about it, because the very reason it happened is the reason so many wouldn’t understand why it hurts so much when I was too drunk to feel it. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I want to thank Project Dinah for hosting Speak Out.

When I was a first year, I walked past the Pit when Speak Out was happening, and stopped to listen to one or two stories before leaving.

Sophomore year, I planned to go the event, and stayed the whole time.

Junior year, I was finally comfortable submitting my story to the blog, but didn’t go to Speak Out because I wasn’t ready to hear my story out loud.

Senior year, I went and was so happy to have found this amazing, supportive community. When the mic was open to everyone to speak, I wanted to get up and say what I’m typing now, but was still scared to attribute my story to myself. That’s why I wanted to post it here, anonymously.

So, I just want to thank you for this event, and this community. Even if I’m not ready to say my story out loud, being able to post it to this blog, and knowing this event exists, has helped me so much. I am so grateful for Project Dinah and the work they do.

Y’all are amazing. 
I'm a survivor of rape. It happened at a college party when I was a senior in high school. It took me months to start feeling "normal" emotions again, and even longer to learn how to have sex without feeling like falling apart afterwards. I healed. I still think about it every once in a while. But, this isn't completely about my own assault. 

A year ago, my sister just brought it up sort of casually. She mentioned this creep who was my age; he tricked her into coming into his house, saying they were gonna get food. All of his friends were in on it, and there was this whole plan for him to "get laid". I thought it was a joke, but then she said “Wait. This is serious.” It was just my sister and this guy in his house. He tried to have sex with her. He kept touching her down there, and she kept saying stop, because that's what you're supposed to do, right? We both thought that saying "no" and "stop" would be enough, because that's what everyone says, right? We were taught no means no. No means no. We both thought everyone knew this until it happened to us. She had to sleep over at his house because she didn't know where she was. She told me "Man, I've been feeling awful lately. 3 am felt awful to wake up to." She sent me poems she wrote. Eventually, she healed, but like me, she still thinks about it sometimes. 

That shit will stay around for the rest of our lives. But I've almost forgotten the way his hands felt on my body, in a way that made me want to never be touched again, and I've stopped really thinking about the look my friend gave me when he brought me plan b at 7 am the next day, and I've mostly forgotten how that rape joke I heard weeks later felt like a stab in my chest. I think we will be okay.
After surviving a very traumatic assault the fall semester of my freshman year, I dissociated myself from a lot of what happened, but I would get flashbacks of this stranger at a party forcing his dick into my mouth. I heard the sounds of his moans and remember the feeling of not being able to escape, held down by him and by the inability to escape what happened. I thought I moved on, but I remember seeing him on the P2P and walking back to his dorm with him, where he assaulted me again. I was supposed to get closure and talk, but it just brought all of the pain to the surface. 

It was at this point where I started looking to other survivors. I learned more about the resources I had and I got better. I dealt with my pain and I got stronger. 

The next year, I was assaulted again, once by an acquaintance and a few times by a close friend. The semester continued on, and so did I. My friend stalked me and harassed me, but I was forced to keep him in my life. I tried to tell him I didn’t have feelings for him, but he told me that he I shouldn't let other things get in the way of our relationship. But I didn’t let all of his behavior trouble me, because I was bulletproof. 

For Halloween, I’m a queen. I go to Franklin Street with my friends and end up at a party where I meet Wolverine. I agree to go back with him. Little do I know, my drink was spiked.

He practically carries me to what he claims is his house. We go upstairs and start kissing in the middle of some lounge area. He forces his fingers up me, like he was trying to stab me with them. “Stop! It hurts” and he agrees to stop, but the next thing I know he’s jammed his fingers up me again. This back and forth goes on for a while, until I can’t take it anymore. I have to run into the bathroom, because I’m in so much pain. 

Eventually, I'm ready to leave after what seems like a lifetime and I go to get my phone, but it’s dead. I ask him to let me charge it somewhere, but he’s too busy playing a game. I take my crown and phone and leave. I start walking in some direction, but I honestly don’t know where I’m going. By some miracle, I find my way to Franklin Street, but I’m livid at this point. I couldn’t accept that it had happened again after I survived so much. I think to myself that I could have prevented this. I finally see people and some guys attempt to catcall me, but I tell them that if they even dare to look at me that I’d chop off their dicks. I felt like I was going to explode. I regain some strength after this and convince myself that I dealt with it. I see a familiar face and walk back with them to my dorm

I arrive at my room and overhear my friends comforted that everything is okay. I knew I couldn’t tell them, so I charged my phone and texted the only person I knew wasn’t going to feel bad, my stalker. I let myself be comforted by the person who was sucking the life out of me, but I thought I didn’t have anyone else. The night ends and I move on, because that’s all I can do. For weeks after, it hurt to pee and it hurt to use a tampon for months after, but eventually the pain went away.

I’m sure everybody would be shocked to know that all of this happened to me. How can one person go through so much and function normally? I don’t really have a great answer to that. Somehow, I did it. Being assaulted as a survivor and an ally was the hardest and most shameful experience for me, but I think I’ve moved on enough that I can accept that I didn’t have a bearing in what happened to me. This stranger hurt me and I didn’t do anything to deserve that. 

I’m putting myself back together again. I’m happier than I’ve been in years, even though I’ve lost so much along the way, but I don’t let it bring me down. It’s been hard. There is no denying that, but I wouldn’t change it. All of this pain has helped mold me into this beautiful and compassionate person. I found this love for people that touches the core of my soul. My life is so clear to me and I know good things are on the way. 
Honestly, it feels very scary to write this down. To write this here gives this incident some level of reality I’ve spent years trying to ignore. In all honesty, I still think it wasn’t that bad. Maybe that’s me internalizing my oppression, maybe that’s me trying to ignore reality, but I do know now my silence contributes to a society that ignores these kinds of problems, and one must “Speak Out” to break the silence. I may never care to seek help, but I know others will, and I can’t stand the thought of my silence getting in the way of what they need from society, so here is my contribution:

It was sophomore year of high school, and I was on crutches because I had injured my foot. My friends had taken it upon themselves to carry my backpack for me various times throughout the day, between classes, to the cafeteria, and even to my dad’s car at carpool after school. I remember thinking how nice everyone was to me, and feeling so glad that I had people who cared. The thought never occurred to me that any one of them would do harm to me, but it happened anyway.

He had always made it a joke of touching me, he played with my hair, poked me at my sides, and I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed it. I liked the attention he gave me, so whenever he crept into my personal bubble, I thought nothing of it. It was just how he played around. Then one day, while he was carrying my back pack for me to the carpool area, he bumped into me hard enough to knock me off my crutches. I held on to the exterior wall of the school in an effort to keep my balance on one foot and asked irritably, “What was that for?”

He just laughed in response. I remember rolling my eyes and wondering why it is boys have to be mean to you to show that they like you.

“Could you grab my crutches for me at least?”

He didn’t say anything, he only got very close to me. He then promptly groped my breast.

I tried to push him away, and chastised him, “Hey, what the hell. Don’t touch me there.”

He only laughed again, and smirked in a way I’ll never forget. A mixture of the look “you know you want it,” and “I don’t even care if you don’t.”

It was also at that moment I had realized how alone we were. The entire courtyard was empty, and inside the school wasn’t much difference. The chance of someone seeing us was extraordinarily low. To this day, I still wonder if he planned it that way or just saw the opportunity and seized it.

I knew I couldn’t run, so in a hopes to appeal to any decency he had, I asked again for my crutches. “Come on, my crutches please? I can’t stand on one leg all day.”

He didn’t even give me a response, He jut groped me again and then made an effort to take off my shirt, that smirk still on his face. 

I tried to push his arms away, but he was too strong. In shear panic, I gave up the defensive maneuver and slapped him across the face. I hit him so hard my hand burned. 

He stopped and glared at me. I could see a red mark forming on his face. 

I took the opportunity to try to shove him away again, this time succeeding in creating some distance between him and me. I knew I only succeeded in moving him though because he didn’t care enough to push back. That thought made me feel extraordinarily weak. 

“You’re such a slut.” He said it so flatly I wondered if he even knew that I didn’t like what he was doing to me. He then stormed off angrily, back into the school building. 

I remember standing there in such confusion. Everything happened so fast that I wasn’t really sure it even happened. I remember taking solace in the thought though, “This isn’t that big of a deal, he didn’t rape me.” 

I never mentioned the incident to anyone at school, and went around in the following weeks as though nothing happened. The only difference was that I made sure that I never talked to him again. 

I made a huge effort to forget that the incident even happened, and told myself constantly no one would believe me or care if I said anything. What he did wasn’t that bad, and besides, he was a fairly popular kid in a small school. They would probably think I’m just some jealous, attention-seeking whore. 

Today, I know it was wrong of me to have not said anything, and let others know what happened. I feel a nagging sense of guilt about that, but I also know that realistically I can’t do much about it. So here, I write this now, telling my story, both to purge the guilt but also in hopes that someone will hear this and realize why they should seek help. I implore you, please don’t think you’re not important enough or the incidence wasn’t that big of a deal, please, Speak Out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I still don't remember exactly how it happened. 

I remember the night in bits and pieces. I remember drinking. I was 19, in a foreign country, and so being able to legally drink was still a novelty. It was our last week of the summer program and we were having a party. We invited the friends we had made in our 6 weeks there. I had a crush on this guy and I was so excited that he had come. 

The night started out well. Everyone was having fun and dancing. But he kept giving me drinks and shots and eventually I was too drunk to protest. 

I don't know how we got to my room. All I remember is that suddenly we were sitting on my bed. He was kissing me, making me touch him. I remember being confused. I had never had a guy be interested in me before, and I was telling myself I should be happy for the attention. But I also felt uncomfortable and scared. I knew I was really drunk and I was blacking out. But I couldn't seem to get out the words. The rest of the night gets hazy. I remember him forcing me to give him a blow job. I remember the pain when he was inside me, as I protested saying it hurt and i wanted to stop. He didn't listen. It hurt for a week afterwards. 

The next morning my roommate and all the other students in my program were talking about it as though it was a normal hookup. They joked and smiled and I played along, and even managed to convince myself, for a while. That I was just making a big deal out of things. That I was drunk, so it was my fault. I chose to drink, I chose to go with him to my room, even though I didn't consciously remember that decision. I convinced myself it was just a "bad hookup".

But I couldn't stop thinking about it every night. I couldn't sleep. I was constantly thinking about it, replaying it in my head. By the time school started again, I would sometimes cry silently before I finally went to sleep.

But I never told anyone. I never did anything. I was convinced it was my fault, that it was not "that bad", that it couldn't be rape.

That year I took a course on Leadership and Violence Prevention and joined Project Dinah, and it really made me face what had happened. But it also made me incredibly guilty. I was constantly telling other people to report, to speak out, to not be ashamed, that it wasn't their fault. But I couldn't believe those things for myself, and I felt like a hypocrite. How could I tell other survivors to not be ashamed when I still blamed myself? 

At Speak Out that year, I promised myself I would let my story be heard. It is now my last chance to fulfill that promise before I graduate. So here it is.
I was thirteen years old when I fell in love with a boy. Except, he was not a boy… he was a man. He was eighteen years old, five years my senior. And what I felt was certainly not love… a crush, maybe, but at thirteen I couldn’t even begin to comprehend was love meant. He was everything I ever wanted in a boyfriend, so when he began to molest me behind my parents’ back, I didn’t understand that what was being done to me was wrong.

It wasn’t until he was pinning me down on my parent’s bed, crushing me beneath the weight of his body so he could shove his hand up my skirt, that I realized something might be wrong. He kept whispering “be still, I’m not going to hurt you. I’ll only go in a little bit”, and just like that, his hands fought their way up my thighs, tearing through my innocence in one fatal swoop. I fought hard against him, begging him to get off of me, but he laughed in my face. I was fifteen years old. He was twenty.

That day, I locked myself in my bathroom, unable to comprehend what had just happened to me. I vomited into the toilet as hot tears ran down my cheeks. I told myself that he loved me, and that what he did was normal… because that’s what boys and girls did right? I hated myself for crying, I thought that it was my fault for not wanting him, and that I was the one who wasn’t normal.

When I was seventeen, he raped me. To this day, I will never forget the look on his face when I told him no….and he told me yes. He thinks I don’t remember but I do. I was drunk, he forced so much alcohol on me, even pouring it down my throat at times. He carried me back to him room, threw me on his bed, and locked the door behind him. I trusted him so much, so when he began to enter me, I cried out…mainly out of disbelief. I had clearly told him no…maybe he just didn’t hear me? So I laid there…numbly, limply, and with each impaling, violent thrust, the life drained out of me more and more until I resembled a hollow shell, lonely and terrifyingly empty.

Now, at nineteen, I am strong. I will not remain a victim of what was done to me. This man, this coward, this monster of a man, might have stolen my innocence and my childhood from me, but I refuse to let him steal my future. I am thankful every single day that I walked away from him. And to anyone out there tonight who thinks they are trapped in an abusive cycle, please know that there is another way for you, and that you have more strength than you think, and most of all, you are not alone.
We were in love. We were meant to be together forever. At least that’s what I told myself.
It didn’t start out as abuse. We held hands, we kissed, we cuddled, we went on dates. We were normal. We were in 8th grade when we began dating, 9th when I told him what my uncle was doing to me, 11th the first time he hit me, and First years when the bruises became too hard to hide.

I thought he was protecting me. He didn’t want me staying out late, he didn’t want me wearing revealing clothes, and he didn’t want me alone with guys. Then one day he found out that I had been hanging out with a guy and he broke up with me. Just like that. I cried, I begged, I pleaded for him to forgive me.

When we got back together rules began to be made. I had to respond to his texts within a certain amount of time so that he always knew what I was doing. I had to answer all of his phone calls. I had to check in with him so that he could make sure I was “safe.” If I didn’t, there were consequences. It started off as name calling and threats to leave me. I became so afraid of making the wrong decisions I got into the habit of asking him before I did anything—he liked that.

I remember the first time he hit me vividly. We were arguing over whether I could go to Governor’s School. I finally said that I was going and that I didn’t care if he didn’t like it. The next thing I knew I was on the floor and my face was red with his hand print. He apologized. He got down on his knees and cried at my feet for what seemed like hours.

When I got back from Governor’s School it continued. He would go through my phone daily, he would hit me when I disobeyed him, and he chose what college I would attend based on their distance from him.

After entering college I was raped at a party—a party that my boyfriend had told me not to go to. When I told him what happened he said it was my fault and the next time he saw me he forced me to have sex with him. He said that it was my punishment for being such a whore. Then he broke up with me. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, and a few weeks later he took me back. But he wasn’t the same. The smallest things set him off. He began to hit me for random things: tripping over rugs, taking too long to shower.

In between these violent spells we were a normal couple. We held hands, we laughed, we kissed. He would say things like “you’re everything to me” and “I would die without you,” and I said them back. Every hour of every day was about him and what he wanted me to do and what he thought about what I was doing and wearing and going.

I remember the first time my roommate questioned a bruise on my arm. I made something up like “oh he was drunk, it’s no big deal.” I remember her shock, and I remember thinking that she just didn’t understand. She became my best friend. She made it harder for me to make excuses for him, and when things got good she reminded me of how bad they could get. Then one day, during finals week, he broke up with me again. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, but this time I had my roommate. She held me, she comforted me, she told me I was better than the names he was calling me, and she stood up to him for me.

I started to realize that the guy who kissed me under the stars and the guy that punched me in the face were the same person. I realized that he didn’t change, that he had always been the same, and once I saw that he did not change into this monster, I began to understand that he would not stop being this monster. That summer he begged for me back, and for a few weeks we dated. Everything was perfect until I made plans with someone else without asking first, and he hit me. I ended things with him, I moved away, and I began to heal.

It’s been a year since I left him, and I still jump when I’m touched and have nightmares and get confused when my boyfriend doesn’t control me, but I’m improving. I’d like to say that it was that last hit that gave me the strength to leave him, but it wasn’t: it was my roommate—the girl who spent hours and hours telling me I deserved better and continues to help me through it today.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

“Isn’t that the guy you blew?”
My friend’s casual comment hung in the air for a long moment. I didn’t know how to respond.
“Um… I wouldn’t exactly put it that way,” I said weakly.
We were sitting at a restaurant eating Sunday brunch together, and she was telling a story involving a mutual acquaintance.
“That’s not exactly how it happened,” I tried again hesitantly.

Why is it so hard to label something as assault?
For me it’s because I don’t want to consider myself a victim. Or even a survivor. Thinking about it makes me feel weak and ashamed. I’d honestly rather put it out of my memory, pretend it didn’t happen.

“The guy you blew.”
I mean, that’s true. His penis was in my mouth.
Does it matter that I was so drunk I barely remember it? Does it matter that he pushed my head there? Does it matter that I told him I didn’t want to, fruitlessly offered up excuses, tried pathetically to protest?
I had walked home with him. I had let him take off my bra. Are those steps promises for more?
He didn’t rape me, not in the traditional sense. I blew him.
So was it assault?
Does it matter? My friend at brunch didn’t care.
Funny how it feels like I don’t have the right to decide.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I am a victim, I am a survivor, but most importantly that is not all that I am. I am also a student, a friend, a daughter, a girlfriend, an animal lover, a Christian, an amateur cook, a Netflix junkie, and an advocate for equal rights for all people.

I still jump when someone touches me, I still just generally hate being touched at all. I still can’t sleep through an entire night without medication or a nightmare. I never take my eyes off of a drink—even in casual situations. I still cry. I still have flashbacks daily. And I still can’t bring myself to tell those closest to me what happened to me.

The first time I was assaulted was in high school. I went to the police who asked questions like “what were you wearing,” “are you sure you said no,” “are you sure you didn’t imagine this,” “the court process is difficult, are you sure you want to go through with it?” 1. I was 14—why did it matter what I was wearing when a grown man who called himself family decided to touch me? 2. I was legally unable to consent, but, for the record, I did say no. A lot. 3. I am sure that I did not imagine it. I am sure that the memories are as real as the nightmares I still have to this day are. 4. Is a scared and traumatized 14 year old girl even able to adequately make the decision to or not to press charges?

He was found guilty, but he never saw the inside of a jail cell or did any type of community service.
The second time I was raped was in college. I was at a party and I was drugged. It wasn’t even until one of my friends posted a picture with a year later that I was able to put a name to the face. I spent months in my room crying after that. I couldn’t go to class. I couldn’t focus on anything. The night of being choked and hit and held down by a strange man just kept replaying in my head. Memories I had spent a year repressing all flooded back at once—all because he had a name.

At some point we, as an entire society, as people of all gender identities, must stand up and admit that gender based violence does exist and that gender inequality is prevalent. Yes, women can vote now, but they still cannot walk on the streets at night or leave their drink unattended. A serial killer and serial rapist, Ted Bundy, said that, to him, violence wasn’t about violence, it was about control. And that’s what is happening to someone when they are being assaulted—someone taking control.

We are asking why women stay rather than why their partners hit them. We are asking why someone was out alone rather than why did someone take advantage of that situation. We are asking why a woman chose to wear revealing clothing rather than why did someone force her to take that clothing off. What does it say about society when it is the victim’s morals that are questioned? Why is it when nobody is found guilty that society looks at the victim and says “well it must not have happened then?” If someone breaks into your home, and the perpetrator is never found, does that mean you staged the whole thing? Why does it matter if you previously consented to sex with that person or if you have a history of sleeping with people? What if that person that broke into your home said “well she/he let me into her home before and she/he has a history of hosting gatherings so I thought it was okay to enter without her/his permission?” We have to stop blaming the victims, starting holding the perpetrators accountable, and attack the problem at its root. We need to change the questions we are asking because we currently aren’t getting to get right answers, and we have to work together as a society to do so.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

“You can go back home if you want. But if you do, then I’ll tell my parents everything we’ve already done. I’ll tell them it was your idea.”
How an eleven year-old child ever learned to manipulate that well, I will never know. My parents always told me K* (the neighbors’ daughter) was “bossy,” and that I shouldn’t listen to her if she told me to do something I didn’t want to do. They gave their advice like it was easy to follow. But then again, they probably never imagined she could corner me as expertly as she did; that she could violate my body and make me feel like it was my fault. They probably thought she was, at worst, making me give her my ice cream money or something. 

K always knew the exact words that would keep me trapped in her bedroom with its pink walls and Britney Spears posters, a torturous cell of shame with a candy-sweet exterior. I can only guess that she modeled her threat on a similar one that someone else once delivered to her when she was my age, or younger even. Abuse is, after all, a pain that is transmitted like disease; you have to have gotten it in some way or another in order to give it. 

At the time, I was eight years old, standing barefoot on the plush carpet of K’s bedroom, staring blankly at her butterfly comforter on top of which the “dating game” almost always took place. She made me be “the boy” every time, which even then I found ironic, because the game hinged on revealing, using, and abusing the body parts that distinguished me as a girl child. I think, perhaps, the first time we “played the game,” I was excited, filled with a child’s curiosity; I had never been allowed to see another person’s body freed from clothing before and she told me she would show me how to kiss. I knew from enough movies and television that it was best to learn how to kiss as quickly as possible, so I figured it was a fair offer to take up, and I agreed. I saw it as a learning experience that would put me ahead. I never imagined that her kisses and her touch, the oppressive weight of which I endured for three years, would be the first and last ones that my body would feel for the next ten years. I never thought I would have to be asking myself, at the age of nineteen, whether or not it was her fault or mine that I consistently push away all the men who interest me, even the ones I want so much to touch, and kiss, and love. Am I afraid that some of the pain she gave to me will rub off on them? Or am I afraid that they might still smell the scent of her on me, like fruit body spray, sweat, and shame? 

I have done a decade of hard work to recover the few memories I have from those years, and I am sure there are still many locked away in the deep recesses of my mind. Yet, every time I bring a new one up and attempt to dust it off, I feel stronger and stronger for having survived and inspired to be an ally for other survivors. Because I have felt the pain of sexual trauma and emotional abuse on my own body, mind, and spirit, I know the importance of stopping their infectious spread by giving people an alternative model for processing their own trauma. Survivors need to know that asking others to help you hold your pain is not the same as passing it on to them. Speaking out, letting others know what happened to me has become the key to my own freedom that I was not able to access at the age of eight. I hope my abuser has found a better way to deal with her pain by now, wherever she may be. 

(*Name has been changed to protect the anonymity of my testimonial) 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'm not entirely sure if this is considered sexual assault, but it still makes me feel gross.

Last year, I had alcohol/drug-related problem and would frequently black out after a night of substance abuse. But I was careful to make sure I didn't drink at parties or anywhere there were strangers. I figured it would be okay as long as I was in my room, not disturbing anyone or being disturbed by anyone. Some of my unc friends knew about my drug habits, including him.

I don't really remember the circumstances around how this happened. I barely even remember the event. I must have blacked out because I only remember flashes of it. I remember him putting his arm around me, and me pushing it away. I remember wanting to throw up at the look on his face. But when I woke up the next morning, he was gone. Everything seemed normal, so I figured it was a dream.

He texted me a few days later asking if we were okay. I had no idea what he was talking about. He described what had happened. We were both in my bed. He was feeling me up, and apparently I was doing the same to him. I didn't remember any of it.

He says it was consensual, and maybe it was. I'd been high around him before though, and I know the last time that happened, he was adamant that I "couldn't give consent." He said I didn't seem high or blacked out or off to him. Maybe I wasn't. Maybe I just forgot. I'm not sure.

But he also knows I'm gay. He knew about my drug habits. I thought he should have realized I would never have wanted that if I weren't incapacitated. I also feel like if I were incapacitated, it should have been fairly obvious.

This year, he lives down the hall from me. Some of my friends think I'm overreacting, and maybe I am. But I can't help but feel betrayed. He was a friend I trusted, and now I get panic attacks whenever I pass by him or see him. And he's probably going to be a doctor one day because he's smart enough to get into a good med school. And it makes me sick knowing the type of power he could have over an unknowing/unwilling patient.
I was a junior in high school when it happened. I still don't know if I could call it "violence", because that has a certain connotation. But it was certainly a violation. I was volunteering with Habitat for Humanity- we used to do an event called ShackAThon, where you built a little hut out of cardboard and decorated it and slept in it in a parking lot for a night to raise awareness for the homeless (and money through sponsorships).

He was a really popular kid in school, and he's never really talked to me. That night, he came to hang out in my little box house, and I thought it was weird, but also awesome. I thought he sort of hated me, so feeling like I might actually be "cool" was amazing for my awkward self.

I don't remember how we fell asleep. It must've happened while we were talking late into the night. When I woke up though, he was holding me, and I guessed I was okay with that. Maybe he was interesting me, and who doesn't love cuddling? But then I noticed he wasn't asleep, and his fingers were creeping into my waistband. I wiggled and sort of snorted to make it seem like I was slowly waking up. He moved away. But after I'd lain still for a while and I guess he thought I was asleep again, it continued. I didn't know what to do.

I just stayed awake all night, wiggling as necessary to try to escape, sweating and wondering what I would do if he ignored my "waking" motions. I never said anything though, because I thought that's "just what boys did". What could I expect, anyway? I was sleeping in a tent with him, of course he was going to touch me. (I wish I could go back and tell my 15 year old self that that's now how any of this actually works...)

In a nightclub in Mexico 4 years later...THAT was far more violent. Dancing with a seemingly-kind stranger suddenly turned into him violently shoving his hand up my skirt and into my body, all the while I screamed at him to stop and hit him. He held on to me so tightly that I couldn't get away, and no one could hear my protests over the music. He kept whispering in my ear that I should go back to his place with him. I won't ever be able to thank my best friend enough for finding me in that club and noticing that something was very wrong.

It's weird that I still consider myself lucky. Like I have no reason to complain or to use my experiences as examples of sexism and sexual wrongdoing, because it could have been so much worse. And I don't know how to be there for those who have experienced levels of hell far deeper than those I breached. I feel lost and I feel sorry.

Monday, September 22, 2014

my testimonial is that i have never been a victim of any kind of sexual abuse that i considered serious enough to even remember. is there a place for this in this project? because i think there should be. 
This blog is a space for any and all experiences with sexual and interpersonal violence, as long as the story comes from your own personal experience. We welcome you to share your story or comments as long as they are respectful toward survivors. We believe that each person's experience with sexual and/or interpersonal violence is worthy of being shared.

- An Administrator
Having attended Speak Out for several years, I have come to recognize an interesting paradox surrounding the issue of sexual violence. Sexual assault feels so personal to survivors--it represents an invasion of one's most personal space and the stripping of one's own bodily autonomy. However, after having heard stories of friends and loved ones, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing "personal" about them. As friends, parents, administrators, and those outside of the event, it is often easier to personalize these events, to say, "What were YOU doing? What were YOU wearing? What did YOU tell him/her." We want to understand these events as a response to one's personal choices, rather than as something that can happen to anyone, regardless of appearance or behavior. We don't want to accept that these events are not, in some way, spurred by those affected, because this would confirm that we are all at risk of being subject to this violence ourselves. I have not been a victim of sexual violence, but I don't think it is the consequence of some "correct" behavioral choices I have made or the protective measures I have took. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. We need to "de-personalize" these stories by making them, not about the survivors, but the perpetrators of these crimes. We should not force survivors to carry these events with them as "personal baggage," but should take them on as collective cultural baggage. By validating survivors' experiences and recognizing the political significance of these events, we can work toward ending rape culture and sexual violence. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

It started when I was six years old. He was an extended family member at around 11-12 years old the first time. He told me he wanted to play "Titanic," a game where he would "save me" by pushing me down and laying on top of me. Even then, I knew something was off. For the next six years, whenever I would see him, my stomach would lurch because I knew he would do his best to get me alone. He usually did.

Initially, it was just laying on top of me, even when I begged him to stop. As I reached 9 years old, his hand began to slide down my shirt and wiggle around. I was confused and scared. I remember looking in the mirror as I was getting ready for dinner parties with my extended family and messing up my hair, so I wouldn't look attractive. I thought maybe if I looked ugly he would stay away. In fact, I used to beg my mom to let me wear casual clothes to events like that. That wouldn't stop it either. Later, I would realize that it didn't matter what I looked like, he would have probably done the same thing.

The last time was when I was 12. His family had just bought a new house and was having a housewarming party. My mother made me wear a really nice outfit. Looking in the mirror before we left, I wanted to puke. My breasts had gotten bigger and so had my hips. I wanted so badly to be invisible. Before we left the party that night, I went upstairs to look for my brother. I didn't find him, but my attacker found me. He said he wanted to play a game and pushed me over. He tried to tried to reach into my top. I wasn't having it this time.

I crawled out from under him and turned around. I told him I knew what he was doing and that he better stop. He played stupid and pretended like he was just having fun. I ran away that day, and never looked back. That night, I cried myself to sleep, as I finally realized what had been happening to me all those years. That kid took advantage of another kid, a much younger one. He will never know the depth of the anxiety he has caused me, and how delayed I became when it came to boys and growing up. To this day, I still have a hard time making physical contact with people. I still am not comfortable being too close to guys. I was violated, I was taken advantage of, and I was manipulated. It becomes hard to trust people, and harder to trust yourself.

My attacker attended UNC and is now in medical school. He's going to have a great life and bright future. I hope that whatever he was going through was a curious phase, but if I find out he ever did/does it to anyone else, you better believe I'll send his ass to jail. I feel guilty for not reporting him, but it would honestly tear my family apart. I also know there's no evidence, no nothing. But, I'll have my eyes wide open. He better keep his hands to himself.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

If you knew me, you would know that I am a women’s studies major, an artist, and even a poet. You might consider me bubbly, insightful and hopefully hardworking.
But if you really knew me, you would know my story. You would know why education is my number one priority and you would know why I am who I am. If you really knew me, you would know that I am a survivor.
Five years old: He lays me down, hold my wrists and gives me the worst pain I’ve ever felt.
Five and a half: The same thing, except my teddy bear was watching.
Six years old: Another time, but after his drunk friends had left the house.
Seven years old: Left me in a closet for two days straight after telling him it hurt.
Eight years old: I cried in the bathtub telling my mother I didn’t want to go to Daddy’s house anymore.
There was other abuse like leaving me in closets with the doors locked for days at a time, or shoving me into my bedroom after hitting me with his fraternity paddle. Not to mention the many times that he would start to cook for me, drunk, and leave it on the stove to burn, leaving me hungry until breakfast the next morning where he would fight through his hangover and attempt to feed me cereal. I was screaming and crying in the bathtub one night before my scheduled time to see him and at that moment, my mother knew something wasn't right.
She didn't know that he beat me, raped me, starved me, and even tried to abuse a friend of mine. She didn't understand what I had gone through; she didn't know all of the details then, just like most people don't now.
I couldn't handle the thought of keeping it a secret and trying not to cry when people use the "r-word" as a derogatory term. I tried to hold it all inside for so long and couldn't handle the pain that I was feeling. People didn't realize that although I was happy on the outside, I was screaming on the inside. It was a hole of darkness that I walked around for years, and fell in at night in my dreams.
This whole concept of “rape” didn’t hit me until I got older- and it made me sick. I developed bulimia in middle school because I thought that by throwing up I could get out all of the toxins that he put in my body- that maybe I would become pure again.
My junior year of high school I finally said something, and decided to press charges. What was worse was that the district attorney said there wasn’t enough evidence and that was the end of it. I could never find justice.
My senior year of high school, he chased me down the hallway of my school after telling the front office that he was my father and he was looking for me. Of course they let him in. But because they didn’t have the documents saying he couldn’t see me from when my mother took me away from him, he was let go and all I could do was get a restraining order.
If you really knew me you would know that I have survived a lot. I have had to survive the adjustment of moving away to a residential high school alone, with the fear that my father would follow me- and did follow me. I have had to survive the words that he said when he would leave me nasty messages on my voice mail and even survive the news that after finally pressing charges, there was nothing that could have been done for lack of evidence.
What he did matters because it has shaped me into the person that I am, but the past is the past, and there is nothing I can do to change it. I had to move forward, and I am.
When people ask me how I go through my day without crying or getting upset, I say that it is because no matter what, I am a survivor, not a victim.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Every time I confide in someone that I've been sexually assaulted, I feel a twinge of guilt. Guilt because I fear I don't "deserve" to identify as a sexual assault survivor, that my assault wasn't traumatizing enough. Then anger at the fact said guilt exists in the first place, a byproduct of the entire social construct that inhibits the understanding of consent and permits rape culture to persist. 

I was assaulted by my first boyfriend. I fell asleep while we were watching a movie on my bed. He woke me up by unzipping my jeans and pulling them off. I barely had time to say "what?" before he inserted himself in me. It was over within minutes. I didn't say a word the entire time. I couldn't. I barely comprehended what was happening.

Afterwords, in shock, I told him I didn't want him to wake me up by having sex with me again, how I hadn't wanted that. I remember how upset he was, how he accused me, "and you just LET me?" and before I knew it, I was the one comforting him, telling him "No, it's fine. I just didn't have the time to decide whether or not I wanted it, but that's okay. Just for next time, now you know." 

I remember taking myself to the shower and mentally forcing myself to squash all unease — It was okay. He didn't mean to make me feel uncomfortable. He loved me. We talked about it now. It was okay.

I stayed in that relationship another six months without thinking about the incident. After all, it was okay. We talked about it. It wouldn't happen again.

I broke up with him for other reasons later on. It wasn't until after the break-up, after I distanced myself from the unhealthy emotional dependence, that I could recognize what happened to me was assault. My consent had been violated. The worst part? I couldn't even see it at the time. 

I lost all faith in myself, in my own judgment. There were many months I walked around feeling a wounded animal, doubting my ability to ever trust myself again.

But here's the thing. I didn't let him do anything. It wasn't my job to say "stop." It was his job to ask what I wanted.

When I realized that, I began to heal. I began opening up to those around me. I learned to trust myself, take pride in myself, again. Where I once thought I couldn't ever open myself up to another relationship, I look forward to sharing my life with someone in a healthy, meaningful manner.

To my fellow survivors and anyone else reading my story, I leave you with this:

Sexual violence comes in all forms. No one experience is "worse" than another. There is no guilt in being a survivor. There is pain, pain that shouldn't ever exist in this world... but more importantly, there is strength. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

I grew up religiously watching Court T.V. I knew what rape was. I knew it happened through physical coercion. I knew it happened at the hands of some stranger at a party or a deserted parking deck. And, of course, I knew it only happened to women.
I had just turned 18. He was a year younger. We got out of school early for snow, and I drove him back to his house while his parents were still at work. We had been dating for four months, and we had been having sex for about three weeks. Neither of us was experienced.
He had chosen to be the receiving partner when we became sexually active, but he told me daily—sometimes multiple times a day—that he wanted to reverse roles. Eventually, I agreed. We went through all the preparations; he even lit candles. But when it came to the last moment, I panicked—I wasn’t ready. He told me I was overreacting and that it wasn’t that bad. I apologized to him, pleading for him not to be upset—and then: “you can’t just change your mind.”
He forced himself into me. After an initial shock, I shoved him away. It was all over in less than a minute.
He apologized, saying he didn’t mean for it to hurt. He then prompted me to apologize for being unfair.
I did.
His parents came home an hour later. We ate dinner and watched a movie with them, and I pretended nothing was wrong. I bled from the tearing for three days, and I pretended nothing was wrong. Over the following six months, I stifled panic attacks during anal sex, and I pretended nothing was wrong.
It took a nasty breakup and a heart-to-heart with a friend my freshman year to accept everything about it was wrong.
Because of that afternoon, I have married sexuality with anxiety. Even when my next boyfriend tried to do everything right, I spent our intimate moments trying not to cry and counting the minutes in my head until it was over.
Society tells you it wasn’t assault because you were in a relationship. Society tells you it wasn’t assault because he was younger than you and because you’re a man. Society tells you it wasn’t assault because he lit candles. 
Society doesn’t tell you that you have to avoid Bath and Bodyworks now because the smell of their candles makes you vomit.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer session II had started up, and we were overwhelmed with chemistry work and labs. The concert became a bright spot, a reprieve I looked forward to. The concert went surprisingly well. The singer was spectacular and I enjoyed myself. During the concert, he told me he liked somebody else and I breathed a sigh of relief. I chalked up all of his previous actions to the flirting of an inexperienced boy.

On the way home though, things took a turn. We stopped for food. On the way back to the car, he locked me out. I banged on the window, but he told me I had to dance to get back in. The lot was filled with truckers taking a rest stop, and I was hugely embarrassed.

Driving back to Chapel Hill, a Lady Gaga song came on. He told me he liked her music, but didn’t like what she stood for because homosexuality was a choice. He then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to marry somebody like the lead singer of The Band Perry because she was a virgin and girls today were “slutty whores.” I stayed silent and hoped we were close to home.

We finally reached Chapel Hill. I was staying in Everett for the summer, but Raleigh Street was under construction. He mistakenly went down the road, only to find that it was blocked. I told him that if he could turn around, I would walk from Spencer parking lot. He pulled in and shut off the car.

I thanked him for taking me and hugged him good night. When I pulled away, he told me to wait a minute. At this point, he hops over the console and pulls me into his lap. I was shocked, but not enough to run screaming out the door. His face was so close to mine, and I turned away. He told me he wasn’t going to kiss me because I had mono, didn’t I remember? He started to rub my legs and now I was becoming alarmed. He trailed his hands up my legs and up my skirt and grabbed my underwear. I jolted away, and he said he wasn’t going to do anything, as if offended by my reaction. I remember at some point saying that it was wrong, that he liked somebody else. He told me she had a boyfriend. I lurched for the door, and desperately he told me to straddle him. I lunged out, and he asked from the open car door if I would be around that weekend to work on chemistry.

I walked back to my dorm, but before I could even open the door I was assaulted by a series of texts.

12:12 AM: “I’m sorry about that. It won’t ever happen again. I feel terrible.”
12:16 AM: “Like that was impulses and lust. I’m sorry I like you as a friend but my guy mind takes control every now and the. That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
12:16 AM: “Please forgive me for it.”
12:23 AM: “And I’m guessing you’re probably asleep. So I’ll just see you tomorrow or something.”
12:25 AM: “ But text me back tonight if you can. That way I won’t be worrying if you’re mad at me or not.”

I didn’t quite know what had just happened. Was it just the mistake of an overly eager guy? Was I overreacting by being frightened? I brushed my teeth and before I went to bed, I decided to send a conciliatory text. For all I knew, he could be obsessive, chemically imbalanced, and capable of physical harm.

12: 40 AM: “Hey, I’m up, I’m just getting ready for bed. I forgive you. I was just confused because you said you liked somebody else and I thought we were friends.”
12:45 AM: “Yeah we are only just friends. I promise I’m not a bad guy. I just get trapped by lust every now and then. And I hate it. I do like someone else but it’s pretty much a waste for me to like them. But I’m really sorry, it was wrong against you and against me. It will not happen again, I assure you.”
12:49 AM: “I believe you. I know you’re not a bad person and I had a really great time tonight but I don’t like feeling like a piece of ass and I think I earned more respect than that.”
12:51 AM: “Yeah, that’s why I feel bad. You’re not just another piece. I haven’t ever had any pieces. I disrespected you and hopefully the concert kinda makes up for it.”

After this occurrence, the person in question texted me a few more times. I never responded. If by chance we met on campus, he acted as if we were best friends. I removed all forms of communications from him.

I spent so long after that feeling ashamed of myself. I was, after all, a level headed eighteen- year-old. I was never guy crazy – I didn’t fall over myself to meet anyone, or pretend I was one of the boys. I could usually tell the bad ones. So how did I not see this? How did I not connect the dots? I should have known better.

And then it finally occurred to me that he should have known better. It is not my duty to walk around afraid, hedging bets on which guy will grope me first, on whom I can trust to be alone with in a motor vehicle, with whom can I eat lunch without them feeling as if I owe them. It is not up to me to refrain from wearing skirts. I should not need to size up each male I meet on their potential to harm me. I said I was confused when really I was outraged. Concerts are not free passes to sexually assault your company. And nothing makes up for it.