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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.

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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.

Friday, November 13, 2015

It is odd for me to write about my experience, despite trying to tackle it more times than I can count. I was still trying to understand and make sense of my sexuality and gender identity in college, and saw this as a place to become who I truly was. When I came to college I was nervous and insecure and in the process of developing an eating disorder that I wouldn’t recognize until a year later. My first weekend here a guy I had met when I came here for orientation invited me to watch a movie at his house with his roommates. He was a senior and lived off campus. I remember wondering what his roommates were like and if we would be friends. It was so new to me that I could make friends so quickly in college and I was excited and nervous at the same time. We get to his apartment and we are watching the movie. He starts bringing me alcohol. It was my first time trying it and I felt so grown up. He kept handing me drinks and I kept taking them. I didn’t realize how drunk I was until I got up to go to the bathroom and almost fell back down. I had to hold onto something every step I took. I must have had 7 or 8 drinks, and for my first time drinking, it was enough to leave me with the strange feeling that I only had a small part of control over my body. When I got back, he was still sipping on his first drink which was surrounded by the empty bottles that I had. When I sat back down, I closed my eyes and tried not to get sick. He put his hand in my hair and I froze. I still remember the chill it gave me -- i was smart enough to know what was going to happen next. His hand kept touching my body and I remained silent and stiff, focusing on the movie, hoping this would all go away and disappear. I distinctly recall feeling a wave of anger toward myself -- feeling stupid for not knowing better, thinking that I had put myself in this situation -- a thought I would hold onto and tear up my insides for the next year. He kept getting closer to me and I kept still and I said “I don’t know.” He stopped for one second and continued. He said something that I forget, all that mattered was that he had every intention to keep going. Again, I mumbled “I don’t know.” He kept going. I remember that he felt so heavy on top of me and I kept trying to focus on the movie and leave my body and this couch. I felt so tight and nervous, like a corpse and I was being buried under him. I kept waiting until he would be done. For months I was so angry at my stupid self. “I don’t know” That’s all I could say? I felt so fucking dumb. I should have just said no. Better yet, I should have known; I should have pulled it together and pushed him off and ran out, but I didn’t. I waited. I waited until he would take me home and I could sleep. He was my first kiss, my first date, my first anything. I felt so passive, but angry -- angry at myself for the longest time. I remember thinking that it was normal and that sex was supposed to make you feel guilty and sad and make you cry. I thought that was normal. For a year I felt bad about myself and who I was. I felt like I had given away a part of my soul. It never occurred to me that maybe it was taken. Sometimes when his face would pop into my head I would have to run to the bathroom and would stay in there for twenty minutes crying, or kneeling over the toilet heaving. It felt like my body was trying to force something out and never could. Whenever I was alone I would scream. At myself, at him, at God, anyone. I would would lock myself in the bathroom when my roommates were gone and let out all the tears, sometimes just laying on the floor because standing was too much. Some days living feels like too much. I’m not here to tell you that I am better, or that recognizing it for what it was has completely healed me. Sometimes I think I am a monster -- for all the hate and anger I hold in my heart, for the pain I want him to feel. It does scary things to you and makes you different, but there is healing, and I am healing. I am not better, but I am getting there. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Honestly, it was only this past summer that I realized that I was raped. Something in my mind told me that boyfriends don't rape their girlfriends, and I think it was this idea that kept me from realizing how broken I'd become. He was my first boyfriend and I was 16. His crowd of friends was a group I'd always wanted to be a part of, so when we started dating I was constantly surrounded by a new set of people. This group liked to drink and have small parties together, and desperate to prove something to by new boyfriend, I decided to partake. I'd started binge drinking at 12 years old as a way to further my bulimia and depression, a habit I continued until about 14 or 15, so drinking again after a couple years of being clean was something I thought I could handle. I was wrong. Hunched over a toilet for an hour, I was an embarrassing mess. My boyfriend was clearly embarrassed, so maybe I thought that I had to make it up to him. In any case when I was done vomiting and went to find him, he asked if I wanted to go to bed and I agreed, clearly tired and ready for sleep. But when we got to the room and I collapsed onto the bed, he didn't join me. He was still standing when I opened my eyes. I was still to drunk and tired to even ask what he was doing. He took off my clothes, but only the ones impeding his assault. I remember clearly that he didn't even kiss me, that that was so strange to me and something felt wrong. I wasn't moving on the bed. He eventually started, and all I really remember was how wrong it felt. He was taking my virginity and I felt like a dead fish, unmoving and cold. And when it was all over, I kept thinking that boyfriends don't rape girlfriends, that this was just what sex was. A few days later, he broke up with me. A few months later, I was cutting again. My anxiety went from manageable to severe and I was in and out of the hospital for the panic attacks and seizures that came as a result. I tried to commit suicide. Someone found out I was cutting myself and I was put into therapy. And even though I stopped hurting myself by the time I entered college, I was still broken. I throw up or cry after having sex, and refused relationships for a long time because I felt to damaged to have a relationship. My anxiety still causes me to have seizures and I am overcoming depression. This past summer, I timelined my life only to realize that my relapses began after that night; it wasn't just me or my personality that was damaged, it was my first boyfriend that pulled the trigger and decimated my happiness. Boyfriends can rape their girlfriends. It's wrong, it's painful, but it's true. And it took me years just to realized the effect that night had on me. Today, I'm in love. Even still, I am guarded and cautious, too afraid my love will be used as ammunition against me. I at least know that I'll be strong enough to take the blow, that no matter how much I'm threatened I will survive. For me to even love someone is powerful, but for me to be so in love with myself speaks volumes. No matter how it happened, how much this event destroyed me, I'm not going to just give up on the rest of my life. I can't afford to, my life is beautiful now. 
I was at a party, a small house party at my best friend's house. This friend's boyfriend invited some dudes who showed up, strangers who refused to leave when asked. I was standing alone when he caught my eye, as he talked with his friend, winking, pointing, making it obvious that I was the object of their discussion. He walked over. He handed me a drink that tasted strong, but I was already drunk enough to not care. The night blurred on with more drinks, smooth talking, a laugh, more shots, a touch. He led me to a bedroom, or so I'm told. I don't remember entering that room. I don't remember him locking the door. I don't remember my friends knocking, demanding that he open up. I don't remember telling him it was okay to do with my body what he pleased. I do remember waking up naked next to him whose name I did not know. The soreness and the blood in my underwear told me what my memory couldn't. My friends say it wasn't rape, but the absolute disgust I feel when I imagine what he did says it was. My sister told me it wasn't rape, but the ten pregnancy tests I took out of anxiety, the constant nausea that didn't leave for six months, and the feeling of absolute worthlessness that still threatens to make an appearance tell a different story. Society says it wasn't rape, but the fact that I had to ask my friend to change his fucking cologne because I felt on the verge of a panic attack every time I smelled it, because it was the one my rapist wore, says it was. I'm tired of pretending it didn't happen. I'm tired of accepting the blame. He raped me. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

After having escaped my past abusive relationship in the physical sense, I knew there would be emotional work to do, but I had no concept of the degree to which this trauma would impact me. I physically left my abuser several years ago, but did not instill "no contact" until early this year. I feel like that is when the true healing began for me. Between seeing a therapist who specializes in abuse/trauma/PTSD, joining a support group for DV survivors, beginning an antidepressant, and doing a LOT of personal work (journaling, writing, reflecting, reframing), I am starting to have more good days than bad. However, it makes me sad to know that I am still very much resistant/afraid when it comes to dating and intimacy. I grieve the loss of my innocent, open, loving, somewhat naive self that will not (can not) exist in the same way ever again. I am committed to helping to raise awareness about relationship/interpersonal violence and the devastating effects it can have on a person's soul and life experience. I never believed this could happen to me--I came from a "normal, happy, good" family. And yet, it did. I am grateful for a forum where survivors and others can share their thoughts and experiences. Thank you ! : ) 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My friend had been crushing on a foreign exchange student who was in America for two years. On his last night in America, we all went to different bars around Chapel Hill and showed him around the place. Because my friend never told him that she liked him, he was completely clueless the entire time, and attempted to hit on me. I was very aware of my friend's feelings for him, so I dodged his advances. By this point in the night, my friend and him had managed to become completely blacked out, while I remained a buzz that allowed me to be coherent. My friend began noticing his obvious advances towards me, and became visibly upset. I attempted to calm her down and insisted that I did not want anything to do with him, but despite that, she left. My other friends had walked home by then, so I had no choice but to walk this stumbling stranger back to our place, where he was crashing on the couch for the night. 

It was the longest walk from He's Not back to my place in my life. The entire time, his attempts to try and convince me to hook up with him were unwavering. He pulled me towards him, pushed me against things, lifted me up and insisted on not moving until I kissed him, among other things. At one point he pushed me up against a tall tree with his body and would not move until I obliged to his kisses. When I finally did, he was all over me, his hands trying to pull down my shirt and get into my bra. I was so anxious about how I had zero control over my body, zero say in what I did or didn't want to happen. I had never felt so much anger towards my friend for leaving me with a monster, or towards the monster himself who was doing what he wanted with me. I managed to pull away and drag him back to my friend's place, and I literally ran to my bedroom, locking the door behind me. Even while turning the lock I can hear him tip toeing in the hallway down to my room, where he proceeded to knock on it. When I ignored his initial attempts the banging got louder and louder, and his pleading for me to unlock the door was relentless. He begged and pleaded for me to unlock the door, insisting that he only wanted to cuddle with me, and only wanted a decent place to sleep. Feeling anxiety in my own home was something I was unfamiliar with, and it was a feeling that remained with me for weeks afterwards. Eventually one of my roommates woke up and demanded that he return to the couch, but the terrifyingly unsafe feeling remained. 

My friend did not speak to me for a few days afterwards, adding to the additional feelings of nausea and anxiety that ruminated with me. I'm thankful that my attacker was too drunk to go through the rape entirely, but the feelings of helplessness with my own body remain. As time has passed, the anxious feelings and thoughts have lessened, but sometimes a certain smell or song from that night will bring it all flooding back. I am not completely healed, but time has made it better. 
My ex-boyfriend was abusive. I was so entrenched in rape culture that I couldn't see it until a year after we were broken up.

He was controlling, jealous, and very scary when he got mad - although he never hit me. He just attacked my sense of self, my emotional state, and my mental capabilities. I was completely dependent on him for my self-esteem, just how he wanted it. He was financially dependent on me, but somehow it seemed that he called all the shots. He would be terrible and mean to me one day, leave me begging for his attention, and then the next day he would call me crazy. The day after he would act normal, and take me out on an expensive date (that I paid for), making me feel guilty for wanting to save money. I tried to forget the bad times and only believe in the good.

He took my virginity. I had thought I wanted to have sex with him, but when the time came I wasn't actually ready. Oh well. Once we did the first time, he would never take no for an answer whenever he wanted to again. I didn't realize this was rape. 

Over and over again, he would use me as a sex object. Only there for his pleasure, unless he needed something else - then I was there as his personal bank or his verbal punching bag. He depleted me in so many ways that made me increasingly dependent on him for all of my validation.

I didn't know he was abusive. I didn't know he raped me. If you asked me why I stayed, I could only tell you that I didn't know I had to leave. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

All I wanted was to have one last night to blow off steam before classes started for the spring semester of my freshman year. I wanted to go out with my girlfriends, and find a cute boy to dance with. I wanted to go home alone.

I did not want to be raped.

I was sober; I think he was, too. I didn't pay too much attention to our surroundings. I was at a frat party, where I knew some brothers, and I was not worried. I didn't notice that he was isolating me, separating me from my friends until I no longer recognized anyone in the room.

I grew up street-smart and would have never pegged myself as a statistic. But that is just what I became.

He asked me if I wanted to meet up with my friends in his dorm room - he said they had left with his friends. Since we had all met as a group, I believed him. I said yes.

That's the only "yes" he received from me that night... Not that it mattered.

I was sexually assaulted in near silence, which in a way was more menacing than any words could have been. I kept saying "no," I told him he was hurting me, and I tried to get him off of me. Unfortunately, he had about a hundred pounds on me, and I was completely pinned. Later, he would say that the bed was too small for us to be in any other position. He would say that I consented. That despite the fact all of my clothes were on, I asked for it. He would say that I had self-esteem issues, and that's why I wasn't comfortable taking my clothes off.

When he was done, I was frozen in terror. I thought he would hurt me, but he told me to clean up and let me leave. I ran out of the building and kept running until I found a friendly face at a bus stop. This face lived on my hall, and immediately knew something was wrong with me. This face was my hope and my reason for not falling to pieces right there. This face got me back to my room safely.

It took me over a year to put words to what happened to me. It took me over a year to connect the blurry, fragmented dots into one smooth horror story. I lost a lot of friends I had thought would be in my life forever. My family tries, but they couldn't possibly understand the hell I live each day. I have found support and strength in the stories of other survivors; they (you) pull me through my darkest times and inspire me to keep living. Survive and thrive, and never let your rapist win. You are better than your rapist. Even when you can't get out of bed, or you are curled into a ball of anxiety, you win with each breath you take. And always remember: it was NOT your fault. 
Unfortunately through an acquaintance who lived in my apartment met this post doc. Initially for some reason I ignored him and after my acquaintance graduated the post doc befriended me. My mind said don't talk, don't smile, but somehow I started talking with him.

He texted and asked me if I would like to buy groceries and took me to Indian store- his roommates were with us. I began being comfortable, ignored whatever my brain had told me before. The next week, he invited me over to his apartment because 'he was scared to be there alone since his roommates were not there'. I went, we had coffee, talked about research, school, life, he seemed nice. I started liking him.

From then on I started spending time with him watching movies, cooking meal together and so on. He slowly began spoiling my confidence- he told me that I am fat, no one will hire me, told me I look ugly, my clothes are really bad, etc. He started his "Hot and Cold campaign" where he will make me feel bad and later would apologize or come over or meet me to make up for it. I felt worthless, started to look upon him for everything- I would ask him if its OK to eat this, wear this shirt, proof read my e-mails before I send them, etc. He told me that he has had sex over 500 times with various girls and I was surprised because he appeared really nice, he asked me if I had any, I said I would like to save it for my husband. Then he questioned my girlishness and said I am a lesbian because I never engaged in any sexual activity nor had a boyfriend. I told him I am from the culture where parents want their kids only to study and not have boyfriends and added that I also went to all girls University. He laughed.

There was these 2 weekends- labor day weekend and a weekend after that when none of my roommates were home and I was so scared on that labor day weekend because my phone could not be recharged. I requested him to spend time with me at my apartment- he refused, then came over and would be very nice. The next weekend, I had my qualifying exam scheduled the next Monday. He made me drink beer (that was first alcoholic beverage that I ever had) that Saturday the Sep 6, 2014 and then talked non-stop all about studies and time was past midnight when he asked me to sleep over stating that we both were drunk therefore it is not safe for me to walk to my apartment. He then switched off the lights and shortly after pulled his study table drawer, took something in his hand and pulled my long pajama pants along with my panties. I said I don't want this, begged him to stop, he quickly wore the condom while I still asked him not to, raped me, pushing blanket inside my mouth when I screamed. When done, he turned the lights on had a smile on his face and said there was blood on it and sealed the condom in a freezer bag and threw in a carton which he uses as a trash can. I was crying- he told me to go wash my parts because there are "condom chemicals" which will hurt me. I cried, he hugged me and said this is how the first sex will be and gave me milk to drink and sleep. He added that I should mark this day- the day for the first time I had beer and sex.

The next morning everything seemed so normal, he made coffee for me, washed his blanket, pillow cover and bed cover (which he washed the day before), cut his nails and asked me to shower because I looked dull. The same evening I asked him what did he do the night before- he smiled and said 'I wanted what I gave you. If you go and tell others about it you will be ashamed because no guy can rape a fat girl'. I was shattered and broken.
Even this day that has not left me, I have night mares, my basic sense of trust is broken, I don't want to be noticed and above all the school found him 'not responsible for any policy violation' which makes me feel dumped. Finally here I am, wasted a year's time, still in shock, surviving with PTSD, my colorful dreams are now far unreachable with a last chance to find my PI if not I will be failed and thrown out of school.

-A survivor struggling to live.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I still love the man who raped me. I still love the man who beat me. I still love the man who sued me for 'emotional trauma' for breaking up with him. I still love the man who told me he would kill himself if I ever left. I really hate myself for being able to love someone who held me down, beat me, and didn't stop until I had covered him in blood because I was too small for what he was doing to me. I was only fifteen. He was eighteen. I barely weighed 90 pounds and he could pick me up with one arm. He took me to a park at midnight once, and he locked the door and told me we weren't going anywhere until I "made him happy". I still have scars from him. And I still have scars on my wrist from when I thought that I could never escape him unless I killed myself. I would have married him. I would have run away with him. But I didn't. I think of him every single day. I think he's married now. And I'm alone. But I'm safe. And I'm here, at the school I always wanted to go to. And I'm getting an education and I'm gonna spend my whole damn life making sure what happened to me won't happen to other little girls in love. Kyle, fuck you. I'm stronger, and I'm bigger than you'll ever be and I'm not your little pet anymore. I'm a big, strong woman and there's nothing you can do to hurt me. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I’ve been through so much worse that I don’t feel justified in sharing this story. It pales in comparison to the assault my first-year and the stalking and assaults that happened the year after that, but no matter how hard I try, I’m going to have to let the pain in. All I’ve felt these past months is empty. 

He was charming, and he cared about feminism. He was a graduate student, so I trusted him. I’m not sure quite why, but he didn’t seem threatening to me. I ~thought~ that he was different.

So when I texted him to meet me on my birthday, I didn’t think that it was going to be much harm. I just wanted to see him and spend some time with the people I liked. He was completely sober, but I was close to black-out drunk. He left his apartment to see me, even though I was clearly not in a state to be interacting with him. I know that a good person would have taken me home or not came. I technically know that it’s a big deal that he took advantage of my weakened state, seized the opportunity, but I cant shake the feeling that all of this would have been so different if I never sent that stupid text. I “know” it’s not my fault, that he should have known better, but I can’t help feeling that I could have prevented him from hurting me. How dare I let myself think I could trust someone?

I remember sitting in TOPO, and I remember walking to his car, because it was “right there.” I don’t remember saying I wanted to go to his place. I felt sick, but he was so strong, you know, and supported me to his car. We go to his place, and I’m taken to his room. I’m not sure how I got to the bed, but at some point my dress is off. I remember flashes of him holding my arms down. I try to break free, but he just holds me down harder. He gets off on it. I’m turned face down, and he’s on top of me. I can’t breathe, but I hear his panting on my ear like a fucking dog. He touches me everywhere with his, his fingers. I ask him what he’s doing, but he just responds by saying, "pleasuring you." It’s sick. My body responds, but I don’t want it to. At some point I fall asleep, but I don’t know how or when. I’m gone.

I woke up, and I didn’t know where I was. Naked and confused, I found his arms around me and his dick between my legs. I took a minute to process, but I got good at shoving it down. The room got blurry and I rushed to find my clothes. I felt so ashamed. As he offered to drive me home, I saw the word “feminism” on a book on his desk. I wanted to throw up on it, but I just tried to ignore it so I could get home. He noticed that I started crying and tried to reassure himself. "You wanted this, right?” What a joke. 

When I am finally back at my apartment, I spent 2 hours in the shower. I felt the unexplained bruises he left me with — the ones left while I was asleep. A week later, I can still feel the bruises on my thighs, near my vagina. I keep getting this weird watery discharge and pain near my vagina, but I know he didn’t penetrate me when I was awake. I didn’t get my period for more than 2 months after the incident, but the 3rd month I can finally get some solace knowing that I’m not pregnant. 

To this day, I still hate the fact that I don’t know what he did to me while I was sleeping. What made him think that he was entitled to my body? He should have known better.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The day after you raped me, after I spent all morning with you, I went to my best friend's J's dorm and told him I had sex with you. Because I didn't know how else to phrase it. Because I couldn't explain why I didn't push you away or scream or why I fell asleep immediately in your bed after. I didn't know what it meant to not be able to remember most of the night before, and my best friend worked with me for a month before I could even label my experiences. He helped me cut contact with you, and you told all of your friends about how I was a bitch for not trying to hang out with you again.

You unfriended me on facebook, and called it cleansing. You posted things on your tumblr about how you were so glad to have gotten rid of this toxic person from your life.

You weren't the victim.

You didn't have to deal with an inability to trust, aversion to touch. You didn't disassociate. You didn't struggle to keep up with classes when all you wanted to do was sleep. You haven't had to learn how to reclaim and love your body. And you've effectively cut me out of my life but I am not allowed to forget you or what you've done to me.

Last weekend marked the 3rd anniversary of the night you raped me. You can go back to Durham Pride. I can't. I can't listen to wye oak without wanting to vomit. I can't go bowling in raleigh because you mentioned that you wanted to go there once. I can't eat NY Pizza.

When I was planning J died, I was ready for a lot of things. I collected pictures, put together 2 terabytes of music for his mom to play in his room. I wrote down everything I could ever remember doing with him so that when his sister grows up I can tell her who her older brother is. I was learning to deal with the disappearance of the one person who knew everything about that night, a story I don't think I can ever tell again. I was even ready for the possibility of you showing up. So I didn't break when I had to look at you in the 5th row while I delivered J's eulogy. I was prepared.

But how the fuck dare you come into my space at reception, and plant yourself directly in front of me for half an hour when I couldn't get away. How dare you taint everyone's last goodbye to J, and what did you think you were going to achieve by daring me to make eye contact with you?

When I submitted to SpeakOut two years ago, I was still angry and raw. Everything hurt and I saw you everywhere. 

Now, not so much. When you made your seating choice, I felt a lot of things. Anger. Disgust. Hate. But I didn't feel fear. Because you don't hold any influence on my life anymore.

I am still working through a lot of things. Losing J has left me reeling in that the one person that would ever know the entirety of what happened has gone. I don’t think my experience will ever exist intact again. I’ve had people assume I wasn’t a survivor. I’ve had people shut me out because I’m a survivor, or because I wasn't a type of survivor. There are still days when I’m a puddle of tears, or I can’t school. But while you caused all of that pain, I don’t have to associate it with you anymore. Your face doesn’t pop up randomly, and I am no longer scared to run into you. Because i’ve done that already, and I didn’t break. J was our last common connection, and right now, I’m hella excited about never having to see you again. 

It happened over a year ago. 

It took another month to realize I had been raped, another 3 months to begin processing it. That’s nothing compared to 8 months before I could talk to anyone about it.

Because my rape wasn’t violent, it wasn’t a stranger. It was a night in a college dorm room where I wasn’t heard when I said no, I was too scared to make noise and attract any attention. To have to explain how I got into this situation, a night where everything happened too fast to react to before it was over.

“You don’t want this to end here, do you?” 

But I did.

I hate that I didn’t say more, louder, fight back. I hate that I kept it to myself for eight months because I was too ashamed to go to anyone, too scared to talk about it, because once it’s aloud, it’s real. I hate that I didn’t have the courage to confront him, to tell him that I consider him a rapist when he probably sees me as “that Bitch that led him on.”

He contacted me for half a year afterwards. That’s half a year to confront him about that night. Six months of chances I didn’t take. It’s a full year for him to do this to someone else. That’s hard to get over, I’m not sure I ever will.

That night in Fall 2012 taught me how dangerous the world is. It’s the night that causes me to walk at night with a can of pepper spray in one hand and my keys Wolverined in the other. Even though if I were really in a serious situation, neither of these will be of much use. At least now I can even walk alone from Morrison to Davis at 8 pm on a well lit street without inducing a full on panic attack.

That night has made me so paranoid about my surroundings that when I had the opportunity to spend 3.5 weeks in Bangkok, the number one tourist destination in the world, I spent a total of 5 nights out of the dorms past 10. Of which only two were spent in the actual city. Because Bangkok might be a tourist hotspot, but it’s also #1 in sex trafficking, a threat that all of a sudden seems much more tangible.

There are nights I wake up in a panic wondering if what I had experienced was really rape or if it’s a sick, desperate, ploy for attention. That the identity that has been forced upon me, the one that I’ve been slaving away to accept is completely artificial. Because no matter how many times I remind myself that mainstream media’s definition of rape is limited, that bruises and scars aren’t necessary to be violated, it doesn’t stick. 

I’ve lost friends because of this. Friends that I loved for years that couldn’t understand what I went through and why all of a sudden I acted so differently. Friends that simply didn’t want to hear it.

But I’ve also become so much closer to many other people. People willing to buy pregnancy tests at 8 on a Wednesday morning to help me deal with my paranoia, Friends that were okay with me showing up at their door unannounced and sitting in their rooms for hours without any explanation. People who still sit me down and remind me constantly that it wasn’t my fault, that I’m worth something, friends that insist on walking me home even though it’ll add an extra twenty minutes to their own commute. 

Many terrible things happened that night in Fall 2012, but I’m sick of obsessing over them. Sick of the nervous ticks that appear every time I try to tell this story, the fear that I’ll be rejected for what has happened to me. 

I’m done with it. I’m done being a victim. I’m tired of living in fear of a memory and an overactive imagination that has constructed each and every way I can be taken advantaged of. I’m fortunate enough to have the support of some of the beautiful people in the world, and this really strange sense of empowerment, the knowledge that I can face anything because I’ve already been through one of the most terrifying things that can happen to a person. I’ve seen evidence of my own healing. The anxiety isn’t nearly as bad as before. I’m learning to control it. Fall 2012 is a sick place to draw strength from, but better me than him. It’s been a year. I’m ready for change. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

This summer was supposed to be the best one of my life. A free plane ticket to Europe, free housing, a stipend, what could go wrong? I certainly never thought I would be here, writing this story to be read aloud in a sexual assault.  

I went on a daytrip by myself, excited to be on my own for once. I had a fantastic day, I was able to explore and go at my own pace. I decided to stay a little later than I planned to watch a soccer game in the square, because I figured I would be fine getting home, mistake number 1. The soccer game was great, and even going back to the train station I felt completely safe. I sat down, thinking about my amazing day when a man came up to me and started a conversation. He seemed nice, and we got along well. We found out we were on the same train going home, so we ended up sitting together, mistake number 2. We sat down and I sat diagonally from him, making sure not to touch, but he moved so he was across from me. He started to touch my knee and then my arm, holding my hand, I shifted every time he touched me to try to get him to stop. By the time he had my hand in his, caressing it lightly but very sexually, I started to freeze. He pulled me over next to him and put an arm around me. I started shrinking against the window as he began to caress my arm. As he leaned in to kiss me I pulled away and repeated No multiple times, he stuck his mouth on mine anyway, but eventually stopped. He put his arm back around me and started to caress my breast and kiss me on the neck. I froze once again and then realized that he wouldn't take no for an answer, so when he went to kiss me on the lips this time I didn't say no. He started to kiss me and I didn't kiss back at first, but realized once again that being frozen wasn't making him stop either, so I figured I would give him what he wanted to make sure I could get away. As we began to kiss he would move my hand to his crotch, and make me rub it to feel him getting harder. He would aggressively pin my shoulders against the window, and bite at my lip or tongue hard. We were on the train for two hours. Two hours of him kissing me, trying to penetrate me and succeeding mostly, trying to finger me despite me crying out in pain, trying to get me into the bathroom to give him a blow job. When we got home he started to ask me where I lived. I didn’t want him to know because I was deathly afraid at this point, so I gave him a bogus address. He followed me to the bogus address and when I told him we were almost there he started to kiss me again and asked me to go into the dark park close by with him for 5 minutes maybe 10. I said no a couple times and he eventually started to pull me towards the park. He sat me on a bench and started to kiss me. He grabbed my hand and put it on his crotch as he was pulling out his penis. I wrapped my hand around it to get him off as soon as possible so I could leave, when he said no, with your mouth. I said no over and over while I shook my head, but he grabbed me and pushed me on to his penis. He held me down there until I thought I was going to pass out, when he finally let up a little, and I could breathe he pushed my head up and down. He said faster, faster and then said wait. He pushed me off of him, got up and started to masturbate, coming into the bushes. He looked at me and said Did you like it? I crossed my arms and said yes, watching him start to walk out of the park, expecting me to follow him. Eventually he left and I went to a bar to find a cab to get home. The nice bartender gave me some free water and then called a cab. I got home, ran into my coworkers, pretended like nothing happened, and then got in the shower for almost an hour. I went to work the next day and told no one what happened. 

I struggle with the fact that my body responded during the rape. Despite my mind screaming, my body responded, and he took that as an excuse to continue. When I told the woman at the consulate that, she told me that there really wasn’t enough evidence to go to the police. Even though she didn’t say it out loud, she essentially said to me, you consented, don’t try and pursue justice, he only physically held you down during oral, and that doesn’t count as rape. Eventually I was able to go to the police from the encouragement of the women at the clinic who did my STD testing. The police were very kind and very confident that he would in fact be arrested, and possibly serve time. Once I finished with my part of the police work, I realized I couldn’t stay when I felt so incredibly unsafe everywhere I went, so I went home. I spent the rest of the summer in bed. I had a pregnancy scare, got diagnosed with PTSD, found out the soft tissue in my neck was damaged, and got diagnosed with mono. Every night it took me hours to fall asleep and when I did the smallest noise would wake me up. I didn’t eat much because I was never hungry. I thought about suicide quite a bit. 

This summer did not go according to plan. And now I’m here at school trying to pick up the pieces of my soul that he shattered. Before this incident, I had had my first kiss, but that was the extent of my sexual encounters. My first intimate encounter with a man and the loss of my virginity are now forever linked with the feeling of fear and that I was near death, a lust filled aggressive monster, and an unspeakable amount of pain. It doesn’t seem fair that he probably thinks it was nothing, just a scared little girl that he had to seduce to get her to fulfill his needs. 
My freshman year of college I attended UNCW. During my first semester I got sick. I have been sick most of my life but this flare knocked me out pretty bad. But I was tired of letting my illness ruin my life. So I asked a boy in my freshman seminar class who was a music major to teach me to play the piano so i could take a secondary piano class the next semester. After our class ended around 7pm we walked to the Arts building together and I shared my story of illness and frustration and allowed myself to be vulnerable for the first time in years. We walked into the practice rooms. He closed the door. It was soundproof. He asked me for a hug. I gave him one to be nice. But he didn't let go. He kept jabbing his face towards mine trying to kiss me, his breath fogging my glasses and his body pressed against mine. Taken aback I asked him what he was trying to do. I had never kissed anyone before. I told him. I asked him to please teach me the piano. That's what I was there for. He backed off and showed me some simple steps, laughing cruelly at my mistakes. He jided me about not having kissed anyone. I stood up. I told him he was being mean. He backed me into a corner, again pressing himself against me. He told me if I ever talked back to him again he would bitch slap me and imitated the motion of smacking me across the face. I slid out from under him. I said excuse me? Are you kidding? He backed me into another corner, jabbing his face at me like a beady eyed bird. I could feel his stomach pressed against me. He then said I couldn't do anything about it because he was a man. Because he was bigger than me and stronger than me. And that I couldn't tell anyone. I pushed him off me. I grabbed my bag that was behind me in that corner and ran. He called after me that he was joking but I ran out of that building and rode my bike back to my dorm as fast as I could. The next few months were torture. I was an art major and a music minor so I had to see him every day. I remember giving a presentation to my class and he didn't take those beady eyes off me the entire time. I was afraid to go out alone. I would barricade my door at night because he knew where I lived and I was afraid. I remember the night I filed a report to the Dean's office to arrange a no contact order. He called my phone twice and texted me 3 times. I hid between the shelves in the corner of the library until my roommate could come walk me home. I felt so much guilt and I still carry it around to this day. "Maybe I just overreacted" I tell myself. "He was only joking." "I wasnt raped. It cant count as assault. He didnt even kiss me." Eventually I couldn't stand the fear I was living with every day as I walked into the arts building for class. I didn't feel safe. I couldn't go into the practice rooms at all even though I needed to to practice my vocal solos. They scared me too much. I intentionally showed up to class late since he had a class before me in the same classroom so I could avoid running into him. I lost 30 pounds and began a rapid spiral into an eating disorder. I just wanted to saw off the parts of my body he had touched and since i couldnt do that i was going to starve them off. I couldn't live like that any longer so I left. I transferred schools leaving behind my friends and teachers and connections because I couldn't live with it any longer. I have since stopped studying music and I haven't concidered learning to play piano since that night. But I feel safe. And that is more than I could say two years ago. I guess you could say I have trust issues. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I didn't think it could happen to me while I was in college. 
It happened, first, when I was between the ages of 5 and 8, but I didn't think it could happen again, now that I had already experienced it. 
Well it did. 
I only had one drink at a co-ed that I trusted. Then, I went alone to another fraternity. 
Then I went to another...one far away from campus. Not that many people have heard of. But nonetheless, it happened. 
He drugged my drink with aderol. I know, because he mentioned that he sold it while we were at the party. But it was too late by that point; you see, I already took my first sip. 
Afterwards I found myself on the ground in front of the house. there were no neighbors awake, and the people that were outside didn't notice me throwing up on the ground. 
Thankfully, my best friend came to get me in time before something worse happened. 

So to my fellow survivors: I want you to know that you are not alone. You are the strongest, loveliest, and most important person to me right now. You are the reason I still fight. You are the reason I still continue to live and be brave, when i thought the easiest thing to do was end it right there. So if you ever feel alone, know that the person whose post you are reading loves and cares for you, even if you aren't aware of it. 

I was sixteen then, bright and hopeful for my future as a student, but I was very lonely. Back in my previous school, I had no friends or anyone to talk to. I wanted to have someone who I could love and who would love me back. I had my parents with me, yes, but they were rarely emotionally supportive of me, so I wanted to look for support somewhere else.

Then, I saw him... a tall boy with blonde hair and icy blue eyes. I instantly was infatuated with him. He said he liked me and that he wanted to be there for me.

At first, everything was rosy and beautiful. He took me out on dates, and I would play the piano for him telling him how much I have loved him. Then things started to change. He started pressuring me to have sex with me, since we both loved each other very much. Due to being raised Catholic, I adamantly said no to him and he became more distant and stopped holding my hand or showing affection in public. He blamed me for the relationship going sour and told me that I was holding out on him and being a selfish girlfriend.

I felt so bad that I "failed" him that, one day, when I decided to play piano for him, I let him have sex with me. It became heated, and we ended up on the floor of the piano room; at first, I felt excited and loved for once in my life.... Then, I felt the sharp pain in my nether regions, and told him to stop, but to no avail. The pain was so much, and I just froze and could not scream for help. I pleaded with him to stop, but he said that it was wrong for me to stop him, and if I did not want sex, I should not have led him on.

I felt so terrible and hurt that I cried myself to sleep that first night. Even if I cried in my bed afterwards, I kept going back to him in hopes that he would love me. People have asked me, "Why did you not leave?", and all I have to say is that, during that time, all that mattered to me was feeling like I was loved for once. I did not know what love was, so for me, sex was the closest entity to it. 

The painful sexual experiences went on for two years until I came to UNC-Chapel Hill this year. At UNC, I felt that I would never ever find someone who would like a broken girl like me. But during my first few weeks here, I found out that sex can be a beautiful union between two people who love and respect each other, regardless of gender or sexuality. 

It is hard to fight the pain and struggle of not trusting anyone when you are in new relationships with people; however, I can assure anyone that there is still hope. Everyone deserved to be loved and respected. Just hold on, have hope, and remember that there are still good people in this world. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

You never expect your innocence to leave you so early in life.

You never expect that someone you love and care about so much can do something so harmful.

At the time, I didn't know it was wrong. I was young and clueless, and for so long, I had used that as an excuse for what happened. But now I know that it's not my fault.

We were both young. I remember going down to his room after school and just hanging out, talking about Pokemon and Gameboy games. When he asked me to lay with him on his bed, I didn't think anything different of it. He was family, and this was totally okay because we were just two children.

I don't really remember a lot of the details about it now, but I do remember the feeling of guilt and disgust I felt with myself after we were found out. I remember sitting in the bed of my father's truck while he was washing something, holding back tears as I could feel his disappointed silence penetrate the air around me.

All I wanted was to play computer games with one of my then favorite people. Sometimes I wonder if I was too scared or too distracted to say no when he would sit behind me not wearing any pants, and he told me to take my pants off. When I felt his body against mine as he laid on top of me on his bed.

Sometimes I wonder if any of this really means anything because I don't remember explicitly saying no. But I know that I didn't want it, even though it felt good. My body felt like a betrayal, and I was torn between two completely opposite feelings.

Nothing will ever feel the same as that rush of relief and fear that I felt when my mom found out, when she saw that his zipper was undone and that we both looked nervous. I never want to feel the way that I did those days ever again.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I post my story every semester. There is just something therapeutic about it being told, even if I’m not the one telling it. 
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 started dating, 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 broke the rules, and he broke up with me. Just like that. I cried, I begged, I pleaded for him to forgive me, and I promised I would obey him from then on.
When we got back together more rules began to be made. I had to respond to all of his texts, answer all of his calls, and check in frequently. I didn’t, there were consequences. It started off as name calling and threats to leave. I became so afraid of making the wrong decisions I got into the habit of asking 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 GSE. After what seemed like hours, I finally just said I was going no matter what he thought. The second I was on the floor with my face red from his hand print. He apologized and cried for what seemed like hours.
But when I got back from GSE 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.
After entering college I was raped at a party—a party that my boyfriend had told me not to go to. I told him and he said it was my fault. The next time he saw me he forced me to have sex with him, and 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 and he began to hit me frequently.
People always ask me “if it was that bad, why didn’t you just leave?” And it’s simple 
In between these violent spells we were a normal couple. We went on dates and he bought me flowers. I never had to hold open my own door and sometimes he would randomly make my favorite foods for me. 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, and I thought that was how it was supposed to be. 
Then one day, I got caught. I remember the first time my roommate questioned a bruise on my arm. I remember feeling nothing but shame and 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 he broke up with me again—I was heart-broken, but this time I had my roommate. She held me, she comforted me, and she even stood up to him for me.
Over time 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 broke a rule, and he hit me. I ended things with him, I moved away, and I began to heal.
It’s been over 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 months convincing me that I was worth more, told me what a healthy relationship was like, supported me after the break up, and continues to be by my side today. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

I experienced sexual assault. It feels so strange coming out of my mouth---I've said it a few times to myself out loud, yet somehow it feels like I'm not really talking about myself, but someone else. In some ways, I was someone else. I went to another school before UNC, and I was in a top tier sorority. We were expected to go out and party almost every evening, and we did a lot more than drink. Every day was a party filled with beautiful people, and I felt so special being a part of it. One evening, we were mixing with a frat I didn't know very well for Valentine's day and there were two bowls of punch. One was red and one was pink. When I reached for the pink punch, one of the brothers said "I think red is more your color" and winked at me. Being the outgoing flirt I'd always been, I snatched the cup from his hand, winked back, and said "I think you're right" and gulped down that punch without a single thought crossing my mind. Within the hour everything started moving in slow motion and the music became muffled. All the sudden I felt like I was walking in quicksand. I could barely move my legs. The guy who gave me the punch started flirting with me as he slowly started leading me up the stairs. I had no control of my body. I wanted to stay still, but he was in control. I followed him up to a room and he shut the door--putting a chair under the doorknob. Then all of a sudden he spun me around and stuck his tongue down my throat and his hand up my skirt. I resisted, but he just gripped my arms harder and pinned me against the wall. My body had gone dumb and all I could do was scream. I screamed and screamed and screamed, but the music was either too loud or nobody cared. Luckily, one of the brothers knocked down the door just in time because he needed to use the bathroom. I bolted and ran into where the main party was. My clothes were ripped, tears were streaming down my face, but everyone looked in another direction. Nobody spoke to me. They just kept the party going. It's interesting how "sisterhood" works sometimes....I later learned that the frat we mixed with is known as "the frat that rapes you"---that shouldn't even exist. Anyway, I am no longer there and I am surrounded by people who love me. I'm even trying to participate in a real relationship, but sometimes my body shuts down during the physical stuff, particularly if I get flipped around suddenly. Everything just goes black--numb. I think he just thinks I don't want him or something, but that's not true at all. I don't want him to ever feel like that. I really like this guy a lot, but I don't know how to talk to him about it without freaking him out. I hate that this happened.I hate that this is messing with my relationships. I hate sexual assault--not just because of what happened to me, but because it's so normalized. Sexual assault is not normal. It's scary. It's disgusting. It doesn't discriminate. It can happen anywhere. To anyone.
My assaults left me broken and shattered. It created an obvious aversion to sex, but tainted the rest of my life as well. I didn’t feel for such a long time that I forgot what it was like to be sad, let alone be happy. When the emptiness faded away, it wasn’t long before the pain set in. Every moment of every day was a battle. I was constantly fighting to get myself to do anything. I felt nothing, and by lying on my bed I could be nothing, pretending my existence made no impact. It was nearly impossible to get out of bed most days and I often slept through important meetings. No one said anything, but the idea was that I was lazy, even worst unapologetic. I didn’t care about school, and I used alcohol to numb myself. I was invisible. All of my thoughts and struggles were non-existent. 

Eventually things got so difficult that I couldn’t take the pain anymore. With therapy, things started to seem brighter but not for long. After a semester of therapy, I was forced into the summer, far away from getting help. I was alone and the depression swept in again. I never responded to messages and I barely talked to anyone. I festered in my pitying and depression, refusing to seek help or acknowledge my friends. Because I didn’t have access to alcohol, I used pills to numb myself. I haven’t told anyone this, but I tried to kill myself over the summer. I swallowed the pills and hoped that the pain would ease away, but I was so lucky that they didn’t. As the impact of what I had done hit me, I ran to the bathroom and forced the pills out. Vowing to never let it happen again, I stopped abusing drugs. The pain was unbearable, but I started looking to my friends for support. Things began to look up, until my friend decided that she couldn’t take on my problems, even though I never asked her to. She completely invalidated my experience and tore me apart. 

The assaults were hard, but the response of the ones that I thought I loved and cared about were even more unbearable. The pain inflicted on a stranger I could have found a way to cope with, but the hurt that my friends had inflicted shaped my view of the world more than I could have anticipated. She closed me off, and it feels like I didn’t even have a choice. How can one trust again, when the one you trust the most takes your weaknesses and breaks you down, ripping apart every last piece of what’s left of your dying spirit? While I didn’t turn to harming myself, I spent all my time alone. I went to class, and then locked myself in my room. I was always lonely. I spent so much time around people, but there was no one really there. 

Cut forward a few months and things are bit better now. I’ve started to let myself be open with others, and I think it’s really begun to change me. The days really look brighter and I’ve found myself smiling about so much more. My life has started to seem worth living. When I share this story, I want survivors to know that it does get better. There are days where I saw no future; I couldn’t even see the next hour, forget the next day. I want you to know that your strength is incomparable. Things are going to be hard. I won’t lie to you about it. Even after it gets better, it can get worse. But after that rainstorm, there will always be a brighter day for you. When it seems like there is no hope, no future, I want you to know that I have unbelievable hope for you. Your future is going to be wonderful and the light inside you will nourish so many other lives. You mean something to me, and so does your future. When the world comes to you with its weapons and words of hate, let me show you that your love can transform even the darkest of ways. Like the lotus, you will grow through the mud of your fear, struggles, and pain and show the world that it can't break you, but it makes you more beautiful. So I beg of you, keep fighting. I know it’s not fair and it’s hard, but keep fighting and a time will come when you won’t even feel the weight of your battles. Fight and one day you will be free. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

I adored him. I thought he was funny, I thought he was smart, and most of all I thought he was my friend. After it happened, I sat in agony for weeks trying to figure out if I wanted it, if I was truly so evil that I was the one who seduced him into it. When I tried speaking out after it happened, every sign pointed to me. He wrote it off as a mutual mistake. He never apologized. The others condemned me too, saying that I was flirtatious and probably wanted it too. Many people thought I was being dramatic. They were disgusted that I would ruin the reputation of a friend. 

The truth is, I am afraid. I am afraid that you will know who I am. I am afraid that you will know who my attacker was. I am afraid that you will not believe me, because he really is such a good kid. 
I want nothing more than to scream his name out. I want people to be disgusted with his behavior, not mine. Most of all, I want everyone to be careful--don't assume that your friends can do no wrong. 
I am a very open and honest person. I’ll tell everyone almost anything about my experiences and myself. However, there is one thing that I’ve talked about with very few people on this earth. I haven’t even told my best friends that both of my high school boyfriends sexually assaulted me. I was young and na├»ve and believed the first one when he said that sexual intimacy was something that had to come with love as he touched me in places I didn’t want him to. It ate me up inside because I didn’t realize that this is what assault is. I was religious at the time and felt horrendously guilty for going “too far” with him. I didn’t realize that the nightmares I had about the experiences and the pictures I sent him were probably from minor PTSD. I told my second boyfriend about how I went “too far” and he insisted that he deserved to do everything that my first boyfriend had even though I didn’t want to do it again. He kept touching me and touching me as I begged him to stop. He later forced me to touch him too.
I only realized that I had been sexually assaulted when I took a special topics class in the Communications Department. While going through the process of creating our show about sex-ed topics, I realized that it wasn’t my fault. Being guilted into saying yes wasn’t my fault. Being touched when I didn’t want to be wasn’t my fault. And I shared my experience with this group of supportive people. I ended up writing and performing a poem for our show about sexual assault and consent and performing it for high schoolers. It was definitely the most cathartic experience of my life but I still haven’t told most of the people closest to me. I haven’t figured out how to yet. But I just wanted to share my story and reiterate that sexual assault isn't just rape that happens in alley ways late at night by some stranger in a mask. It's mostly performed by people who the victim trusts. And even being touch in places when you don't want to be counts. And no, it's never ever ever ever EVER the victim's fault.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It happened my first semester freshman year. We were in the same small class, but I was having a hard time finding a study buddy since everyone knew each other already. I feel like this was the reason he chose to talk to me - because I didn't know anyone. It started off as innocuous study sessions. Then he started complimenting me on what I wore. He'd tell me I was beautiful and smart. That I was cute and that he was surprised I'd never had a boyfriend before. I started thinking, "Yeah he's an asshole in class, but he's nice as a person." He proposed the idea of napping together, and I said I was fine with it. I got a text late at night around 3 am from him asking if it was ok to come over. I said no because my roommate hadn't gone home that weekend. He kept asking and wheedling so that I finally caved, thinking we would only be sleeping. The first thing I noticed was that his eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol. I crawled back in bed and didn't realize that he was taking off his clothes until he was only in his boxers. We were making out, but I kept getting nervous my roommate would wake up so we went to the bathroom and locked it. I remember glancing at myself in the mirror and thinking that I looked confused. Next thing I know, we were on the floor and he kept trying to pry my legs open. I kept saying no, but he wasn't listening to me. I just closed my eyes and hoped he'd get tired or frustrated and just stop what he was doing. He finally did and I opened my eyes to find semen on my stomach. He handed me toilet paper, unlocked the door, got dressed and told me to meet him in the lounge so we could talk. He told me that he had a girlfriend and that they were technically on a break, but that I still shouldn't tell anyone about what had happened. "You were saying yes, right?" I couldn't tell if he was trying to make a joke or if he was serious. I felt like crying, but I nodded. Maybe if I told myself I wanted it, I wouldn't feel like I was a "victim". 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I said yes. Here I was, in a completely different country having the time of my life. I had been at a rager- don't tell me I shouldn't have had 'that much.' Everyone forgets their limits sometimes, no matter how careful they are. In my mostly drunken stupor, I agreed to meet up with someone I had been talking to on Tinder. This all seemed perfectly normal to me. He'd pick me up? Awesome. I didn't want to walk anywhere. And next thing I know, there I was, in this guy's flat. Allowing myself to be undressed. There were no sheets on the mattress. Somehow, I didn't mind. I remember consenting to sex. I remember that he was completely sober, and I remember saying "just use a condom, just use a condom." In the dark, I heard enough confirmation that, despite protest, he was agreeing to use protection. I'm thinking to myself that everything is fine now, because even though we are strangers, we are being safe. I'm thinking all of this until I feel him...dripping off my stomach. I am immediately shocked and ask him why he told me he was using a condom, when he clearly had not. His only answer was "Oh, I couldn't stay hard. Don't worry, I'm clean." In my reduced state of awareness, I had failed to notice this switch until it was too late. He threw a towel too me and exited the room, where I could hear his flatmates just outside, congratulating him on what he had just done. He drove me home, and admitted to having a previous 25 sexual partners.

Although I said yes, I had never felt so used, so violated. I was so scared, and I still am. Despite what was welling up in me when I realized what this man had done, I remained quiet on the way home, too shocked to say anything. I doubted that something like this would ever happen to me. I'm careful, I watch myself, I carry a whistle for fuck's sake! Nothing though, no amount of preparation or prevention could have stopped this. I feel stupid for letting this happen to myself, and stupid for being drunk enough to let my body be treated this way. I don't know what I will do now, because I feel like I cannot talk to my friends at home in the states.