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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.

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.

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