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 first fall Speak Out! in October 26th, 2017 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, 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.

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