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 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.