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 first fall Speak Out! in October 26th, 2016 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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

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. 

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