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.

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. 

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