"And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking." —Audre Lorde
"I felt like I was underwater my whole life.Every time I got a breath of air, something triedpulling me down and would succeed for a long time."
“They pushed me on the floor and said,'Maybe you shouldn't drink so much.'They laughed, high-fived each other, and left.”
"So, here I am. Here's my story.Here's to me being vulnerable.Here's to me getting the help I deserve and need."
"The few people I opened up to didn’t believe me,or did nothing about it, so I learned very quicklyto be quiet about uncomfortable thingslike sexual abuse."
"I've brought it up once, making it lightheartedand laughable. When they laughed, when theycalled me "weird" for it, it crushed me."
"This is not okay."
ANONYMOUS"Rape is not an act of sex.It is an act of power and control."
CARLY"I couldn't even admit to myself that I was raped.Maybe he just wanted me? Maybe it was an accident?I can't believe the things I used to tellmyself in order to cope."
"When I see a red truck I panic.The nightmares are back, haunting my sleep,but I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.I know that I have people that are standing beside me."
"I went to the police, who cataloged my bruises,and then told me there was nothing they could dobut mandatory anger management classes.That was all the punishment he ever got."
"I was two months into my first year at the university, two weeks into the run of my first collegiate play, and two beers in at my first college party. Rape changed my world in one night."
AMBER"They don't tell you that the act of rape itselfisn't the worst part of what you will have to face."
R. PRESTA"sip sweet the honeyed succorof this Loving Cup we sharetaste now gentle thoughtswrapped in drops of golden kindness"
ANONYMOUS"It hadn't occurred to me that I couldsay no until I was about eight years old."
"Sharing my story is the hardest thing I've everhad to do. But how can I expect to be the changethat I wish to see if I can't share my voice?"
"I took a 12-hour round trip drive to Las Vegas andgot the pill there. I hated myself for doing it.I hated the thought of being a killer.I had always been pro-life before.Now I know the importance of choice."
MIQUELLE"I am not done healing and I don't know if therewill ever be a day when it is not in some formof thought. But I'm fighting."
JEN"It first happened before I could walk, andcontinued for years after."
ANONYMOUS" I thought it was normalYou knowBoys wanting to touch youThat's what my mother said anyway"
NELLIE"I felt spooked, but fine, the next day. It just feltlike a bad nightmare or story. I thought I'd beable to bounce back. "
ANONYMOUS"Eventually he stopped, but I was terrified he wouldstart again. Mentally holding my breath, I waiteda safe amount of time and "woke up." I'm disgustedthinking about it now—the fact thathe'd do that to me while I was asleep."
ANONYMOUS"I think I'm afraid that these were just minorinfractions, but they had such a largeimpact on me."
LAUREN"She would sleep, the monsters under the bedwould visit, and she would sleep again. Shestopped dreaming in color. As time dragged along,heaving forth the days and trickling through thenights, the monsters got braver. And scarier."
ANONYMOUS"It took me close to a year, but I made it out,happy and free. It has now been four years sincethe incident. I came out stronger, moreconfident, and triumphant. I am a survivor."
COURTNEY"My body has been degraded and used for decades,since I was a little girl. I don't know why."
HANNA"I don’t remember the rest of the day, but I doremember walking home in tears afterwards,because I was scared to legitimizewhat had happened."
ALLIE"It's been almost a year and a half since reporting tothe police and I feel that, slowly but surely, the blacktar I've become so familiar with is finally starting totransform to something more light andrefreshing, like water."
anonymous"'If you go around saying that's what happened,I'll mess you up.' I haven't spoken of it since then."
anonymous"I finally reported my older brother to two differentpolice departments a week ago for the physicaland sexual abuse I was subjectedto by him when I was a child..."
STACEY"Embrace vulnerability. Speak out about yourstory—don't minimize it. Our vulnerability makes usstrong; it makes us courageous. We are all imperfect,but we are worthy of love and belonging."
ANONYMOUS"'Wow, you really are gay.' And then he kept going."
ANONYMOUS"He got on top of me again—with his son inthe room—and started taking my clothes off again."
ANONYMOUS"I knew that this was not what I wanted and Iwas afraid to say no, because I didn'twant him to get mad."
MALLORIE"When others shared their truths on this siteaccompanied with a smiling photo ofthemselves, I felt resentment. How couldthey be smiling when I felt I was drowning?But now I understand."
kari"As I slowly listened to the message he stated thathe knew I had a child and that the child was his.I fell to the floor. My whole body was shaking.I couldn't think straight, I couldn't breathe.."
ANONYMOUS"This was my coping mechanism. I believed that if Icould make myself believe that I did not care aboutwhat had happened to me—what was happening to me—then I was free from it."
ANONYMOUS"There were bruises all over my face. What hadhappened to me? How could I let thishappen to me?"
ANONYMOUS"He would tell me sorry afterwards. He would saythat he had figured things out and that itwouldn't happen again. And then it would. "
CHANDLER"I pushed these traumatic experiences down, triedto pretend they didn't happen so that Icould function and forget. But you can't."
ANONYMOUS"I became disabled in 2012 and entered theassisted living system in the state whereI live that same year..."
LILY"I feel bad for that person, but that person is me,and I have to live with that for the rest of my life."
ANONYMOUS"The second time, he succeeded. In betweenthe two, I gave up music, pawned my guitar,and stopped singing in church."
ANONYMOUS"I was five. I was a happy little boy intee-ball. He was 14."
ANONYMOUS"I didn't understand. He was my friend. I trustedhim. I thought that he of all people wouldlisten when I said no."
LEANDRA"No matter how hot the water got, no matterhow much soap I put on my body,I could not get clean."
ANONYMOUS"The first time he didn't even look at me,and I couldn't shake the feeling of being dirty."
ANONYMOUS"I went home and a month laterI found out I was pregnant."
ANONYMOUS"It wasn't until a year and a half of marriage andtainted views of marital relations being wrong,that I finally opened up."
ANONYMOUS"What happened, I'm not sure. But his jokes startedtwisting. He'd ask what underwear I was wearingor what cup size bra I wore."
ANONYMOUS"I knew him. I trusted him. And then I feltan overwhelming sensation; I'd felt this before."
ANONYMOUS"He took the one pure thing I had left.He stole it away, and I am filled withso much regret."
KENNEDY"I never thought he could be capable of such a thing. He was better than that.He had to be better than that."
ANONYMOUS"I put food in my mouth to fill in the missingholes for years. Then I tried starvingmyself later down the road."
TORI"As I looked back on that night, I thought about whatI might have done differently. I blamed myselfeven in knowing that it was not my fault."
ANONYMOUS"'You’re so tense…you need to relax,' he scolded.I squeezed my eyes shut, tightly gripped the sheets,screamed in my head..."
ANONYMOUS"I'm in my late fifties now and have hadconsiderable difficulty developing closefriendships, be they with males or females.As for dating, I'm a walking disaster."
ANONYMOUS"I thought I was just one of the rest of my fellowfemale population with body image issuesand poor self-esteem."
EMILY"I did nothing wrong when I was violently attackedand gang raped on February 27, 2011, yet I’vespent the last five years silent and ashamed."
ANONYMOUS"I still struggle with feelings of guilt for reporting(despite the fact that the report went nowhere),playing what-if, wondering why Icouldn't just stop drinking..."
ANONYMOUS"At recess he would try to kiss me, but theresponse I got when I told a teacher was,'Oh, don't worry, it's just because he likes you.'"
ANONYMOUS"In my head, I convinced myself that it wasconsensual because I stopped fighting him."
MARGARET"In social work classes I never understood why,when reading case studies, women in abusiverelationships stayed with their abuser. I neverunderstood until it happened to me."
MACIE"Everything about my babysitter was sharp.Her eyes, her mouth, her fingers and her bones."
READ + VIEW
ANONYMOUS"I struggled to date again. And I couldn'tfigure out why until I saw him pop upon my social media newsfeed. I thenexperienced my first panic attack."
ANONYMOUS"He threw me to the ground, and his thumb pressedinto my carotid artery. I couldn't scream,I couldn't breathe."
KATELYN"I will never forget the first time I was raped.I locked my door and slept with the lights on.As years went on, being assaulted regularlyby the person who I thought loved me startedto take its toll."
MARY JANE"I was 17. I knew nothing of love. I knew nothingof rape. I couldn’t have told you the differenceat that age."
CAROLINE"When I found my bra, it was ripped down the center.I felt waves of nausea and anxiety wash over me—what happened last night? "
ANONYMOUS"It is not my fault. Consent of a minor is not consent.Even if i enjoyed it as a child, it is NOT my fault."
KELLEY"I remembered seeing him naked really often, orbeing in the bathroom while he showered.Were these acts acceptable?"
MARGARET"Finally it was MY turn to make a decision.The most important decision of my life:to not let this define me."
ANONYMOUS"Days later he bites my other arm, piercing myleather jacket, just to make the bruising“symmetrical” on my body. I report it thepolice officer on campus. "
JESSICA"I thought that if I just kept remindingmyself that I'd done nothing wrong,it would eventually get better."
KATIE"I refuse to allow his broken definition of intimacyto steal more of my life than it already has.I will not be silent."
ANONYMOUS"Being awake just once even, is a memory so vivid,I don’t think I will ever forget it; the night whena hero of mine turned into a villain."
ANONYMOUS"I was admitted into therapy but I refused to tellanyone his name. I was trying to protecthim. For what?"
"No passionate, sweet kissesNo lying in each others arms Sharing in the momentI felt like a check box on his daily planner"
ANONYMOUS"He brushed it off and only said that he had forgottenwhat a big deal girls made of losing theirvirginity. A week later, I had my firstpainful herpes breakout."
CAITI"I woke up on the floor between him and my friend.I thought I had won the battle, but my friend hadinformed me otherwise."
ANONYMOUS"But maybe that’s all I’d been taught, how to bea nice girl. Nothing of what sexual assaultwas, or what my feelings were, or how toprotect myself, or how to run."
JAM"After that night, I bled for two weeks straight,like my body was trying to shed the memoryfrom the inside out."
ANONYMOUS"Something snapped, maybe one too many scaldingshowers or my mind hit its maximum amount ofpain and shut off and reset, but something changed.I decided this wasn't the end.There was more, I was more."
BRIANA"I never would have thought that the silence thatsurrounds my assaults would be more painfulthan the experiences of assault themselves,but it is."
ANONYMOUS"At 16, I was going back to high school after summer.At 18, he was going to university. I went back to high school a victim of rape.He went to university a rapist."
HALEY"I was 10 when I met the person who would teach methat coercion was part of a healthy relationship."
RACHEL"I was raped by my babysitter. I am a woman andI was raped by a woman. I was in second grade."
ANONYMOUS"it became apparent to me that the seizures weremore specifically triggered by interactionsrevolving around one individual, one smirkingindividual sitting across from me in history class"
LAURA"After we married, the physical abuse started. Hisjustification was he never hit me on my face.But my body was always covered in bruises."
EMILY"As I watched someone run a stop sign thatmorning, it hit me that I was naïve to thinkthat everyone stopped at the signs. That everyonerespected that word for what it was."
NATALIE"An eating disorder, drug dependency, risky sex,bad boundaries, and fear of failure. I did it all.My biggest fear, however, was being seen:having someone know mystory and accept me."
CHELSEY"I wasn’t attacked in a dim alley or tied up in adark basement. I was simply an 18 year old whohad put her trust in a seemingly-loving person.My rapist was my boyfriend."
EMMYLOU"I made my plan to take a Lyft homeby myself crystal clear and youchose to manipulate my future. Thisis on you, and I won't hold the painany longer."
ANONYMOUS"They hurt me, but I thought that washow teen boys showed they cared. So I letit continue . . . for 4 days."
ANONYMOUS"The dedicated dancer often views their teacher asmuch more than the title of a "teacher" and theybecome life-long mentors. They see you grow up,they see you at your worst, at your best, theygive constructive criticism."
ANNIE"I would complain to my caseworker and shewould take me out of one home and throw meinto another. Every home I was placed in seemedto have the 'older brother.'"
ANONYMOUS"This a beginning, middle, and anend to my silence."
ANONYMOUS"I was startled by loud noises. I was easily irritated.I started having flashbacks and nightmares.I asked God to take my life. I lost friends."
LUCY"My therapist once told me, 'You did what womendo best. You survived.' I did survive.But I want more than that.
ANONYMOUS"I mastered the art of separating my mind from mybody and blacking out, needing so badly tobe anywhere else."
KELLY"End using the day after pill as penance, becauseit's 2015, and 'date' and 'rape' can exist in the same sentence."
ANONYMOUS"Understand that what was done to me has mademe has made me kinder, more forgiving, and moresensitive to others around me."
ANONYMOUS"I read the article. How he was arrested with"trophies" and with photos from the victims.All with the same story; that was my story."
BONNIE"He covered me in hot, sticky, suffocating tar.I can't look at my body the same way I used to.Everyday I feel it. It covers me."
LAURen"I close my eyes tightly and pray. Tears streamdown my cheeks, but I don't make a sound.'This is why I hired you,' he whispers in my ear."
ANONYMOUS"I am stronger. I am a mosaic—once-broken piecesof a soul glued together with the gentle andunconditional love of the people whosurround me every day."
COLLOR"After he's done, I'm sitting in a corner crying insilence when he whispers, 'Don't forget to bringyour homework next week, I might give youextra points."
ASHLEY"I feel trapped in the back of my mind, strugglingto find my voice. 'No," I say quietly."
elisabeth"All the evidence is there. My story never changeslike his has. It's like they are treating him asthe victim."
MATTHEW"When I come to consciousness, I'm not relievedI'm dreaming, because it's not a dream,it's a memory."
SARAH"Our bodies will often remind us of the aspects ofour lives that we attempt to forget. Take the timeto acknowledge where you have come from and where you are."
NINA"I did not want pity. I did not want antidepressants.I wanted by childhood back."
JOCELYN"1,885 dayscountless tearsI'm still here"
CASSIDY"I started college at seventeen. It started outalright. Then I met my neighbor."
ANONYMOUS"I cringe and I cry and I call for help in an emptyhome. My humanity, as delicate as a bow, takenfrom me with one swift pull."
HANNAH"I don't need any more pity.I need my value back."
KYLIE"I laughed. I blamed myself.I wondered what I did."
ANONYMOUS"My body still doesn't feel like mine. And it hurts.It hurts because I know that I may neverenjoy being with my husband."
JOCELYN"That was the first time I was raped. It was alsothe first time I had sex. I should have let myparents call the police."
VANESSA"What I was never told was to watch outfor people who were close to me. I didn'tknow what was happening was wrong, Ionly knew something wasn't right."
TAYLOR"Relinquishing the ownership ofviolation of my humanity has been oneof the most painfully exquisite quests ofmy life. And now, scarred yet thriving—I fear nothing."
FORTESA"'Boys will be boys' turns into'that's how he shows his love'and bruises start to feel likethe imprint of lips..."
TAYLOR"This is about reducing the risk, so my niecesnever need to feel the desolation that I feltwhen I heard those final words:'I am a man now.'"
"The minutes of the mornings spent in frontof the closet deciding if your skin is thickenough to brave the bullets today..."
EMILY"It is important to know that even though someone'didn't mean it like that', they did. There reallyis no other way to mean it."
PRICE"I have seen her draw strength from speakingabout her experience and it makes me happyknowing she is becoming more free."