"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
JENN"It first happened before I could walk, and continued for years after."
ANONYMOUS" I thought it was normal
Boys wanting to touch you
That's what my mother said anyway"
NELLIE"I felt spooked, but fine, the next day. It just felt
like a bad nightmare or story. I thought I'd be
able to bounce back. "
"Eventually he stopped, but I was terrified he would
start again. Mentally holding my breath, I waited
a safe amount of time and "woke up." I'm disgusted
thinking about it now—the fact that
he'd do that to me while I was asleep."
ANONYMOUS"I think I'm afraid that these were just minor
infractions, but they had such a large
impact on me."
"She would sleep, the monsters under the bed
would visit, and she would sleep again. She
stopped dreaming in color. As time dragged along,
heaving forth the days and trickling through the
nights, 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 since
the incident. I came out stronger, more
confident, 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 do
remember walking home in tears afterwards,
because I was scared to legitimize
what had happened."
ALLIE"It's been almost a year and a half since reporting to
the police and I feel that, slowly but surely, the black
tar I've become so familiar with is finally starting to
transform to something more light and
refreshing, 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 different
police departments a week ago for the physical
and sexual abuse I was subjected
to by him when I was a child..."
STACEY"Embrace vulnerability. Speak out about your
story—don't minimize it. Our vulnerability makes us
strong; 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 in
the room—and started taking my clothes off again."
ANONYMOUS"I knew that this was not what I wanted and I
was afraid to say no, because I didn't
want him to get mad."
MALLORIE"When others shared their truths on this site
accompanied with a smiling photo of
themselves, I felt resentment. How could
they be smiling when I felt I was drowning?
But now I understand."
kari"As I slowly listened to the message he stated that
he 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 I
could make myself believe that I did not care about
what had happened to me—what was happening
to me—then I was free from it."
ANONYMOUS"There were bruises all over my face. What had
happened to me? How could I let this
happen to me?"
ANONYMOUS"He would tell me sorry afterwards. He would say
that he had figured things out and that it
wouldn't happen again. And then it would. "
CHANDLER"I pushed these traumatic experiences down, tried
to pretend they didn't happen so that I
could function and forget. But you can't."
ANONYMOUS"I became disabled in 2012 and entered the
assisted living system in the state where
I 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 between
the two, I gave up music, pawned my guitar,
and stopped singing in church."
ANONYMOUS"I was five. I was a happy little boy in
tee-ball. He was 14."
ANONYMOUS"I didn't understand. He was my friend. I trusted
him. I thought that he of all people would
listen when I said no."
LEANDRA"No matter how hot the water got, no matter
how 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 later
I found out I was pregnant."
ANONYMOUS"It wasn't until a year and a half of marriage and
tainted views of marital relations being wrong,
that I finally opened up."
ANONYMOUS"What happened, I'm not sure. But his jokes started
twisting. He'd ask what underwear I was wearing
or what cup size bra I wore."
ANONYMOUS"I knew him. I trusted him. And then I felt
an 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 with
so 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 missing
holes for years. Then I tried starving
myself later down the road."
TORI"As I looked back on that night, I thought about what
I might have done differently. I blamed myself
even 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 had
considerable difficulty developing close
friendships, 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 fellow
female population with body image issues
and poor self-esteem."
EMILY"I did nothing wrong when I was violently attacked
and gang raped on February 27, 2011, yet I’ve
spent 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 I
couldn't just stop drinking..."
ANONYMOUS"At recess he would try to kiss me, but the
response 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 was
consensual because I stopped fighting him."
MARGARET"In social work classes I never understood why,
when reading case studies, women in abusive
relationships stayed with their abuser. I never
understood until it happened to me."
"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't
figure out why until I saw him pop up
on my social media newsfeed. I then
experienced my first panic attack."
ANONYMOUS"He threw me to the ground, and his thumb pressed
into 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 regularly
by the person who I thought loved me started
to take its toll."
MARY JANE"I was 17. I knew nothing of love. I knew nothing
of rape. I couldn’t have told you the difference
at 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, or
being 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 my
leather jacket, just to make the bruising
“symmetrical” on my body. I report it the
police officer on campus. "
JESSICA"I thought that if I just kept reminding
myself that I'd done nothing wrong,
it would eventually get better."
KATIE"I refuse to allow his broken definition of intimacy
to 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 when
a hero of mine turned into a villain."
ANONYMOUS"I was admitted into therapy but I refused to tell
anyone his name. I was trying to protect
him. For what?"
"No passionate, sweet kisses
No lying in each others arms
Sharing in the moment
I felt like a check box on his daily planner"
ANONYMOUS"He brushed it off and only said that he had forgotten
what a big deal girls made of losing their
virginity. A week later, I had my first
painful herpes breakout."
CAITI"I woke up on the floor between him and my friend.
I thought I had won the battle, but my friend had
informed me otherwise."
ANONYMOUS"But maybe that’s all I’d been taught, how to be
a nice girl. Nothing of what sexual assault
was, or what my feelings were, or how to
protect myself, or how to run."
JAM"After that night, I bled for two weeks straight,
like my body was trying to shed the memory
from the inside out."
ANONYMOUS"Something snapped, maybe one too many scalding
showers or my mind hit its maximum amount of
pain 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 that
surrounds my assaults would be more painful
than 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 me
that coercion was part of a healthy relationship."
RACHEL"I was raped by my babysitter. I am a woman and
I was raped by a woman. I was in second grade."
ANONYMOUS"it became apparent to me that the seizures were
more specifically triggered by interactions
revolving around one individual, one smirking
individual sitting across from me in history class"
LAURA"After we married, the physical abuse started. His
justification 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 that
morning, it hit me that I was naïve to think
that everyone stopped at the signs. That everyone
respected 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 my
story and accept me."
CHELSEY"I wasn’t attacked in a dim alley or tied up in a
dark basement. I was simply an 18 year old who
had put her trust in a seemingly-loving person.
My rapist was my boyfriend."
EMMYLOU"I made my plan to take a Lyft home
by myself crystal clear and you
chose to manipulate my future. This
is on you, and I won't hold the pain
ANONYMOUS"They hurt me, but I thought that was
how teen boys showed they cared. So I let
it continue . . . for 4 days."
ANONYMOUS"The dedicated dancer often views their teacher as
much more than the title of a "teacher" and they
become life-long mentors. They see you grow up,
they see you at your worst, at your best, they
give constructive criticism."
ANNIE"I would complain to my caseworker and she
would take me out of one home and throw me
into another. Every home I was placed in seemed
to have the 'older brother.'"
ANONYMOUS"This a beginning, middle, and an
end 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 women
do best. You survived.' I did survive.
But I want more than that.
ANONYMOUS"I mastered the art of separating my mind from my
body and blacking out, needing so badly to
be anywhere else."
KELLY"End using the day after pill as penance, because
it's 2015, and 'date' and 'rape' can exist in the
CAMI"Understand that what was done to me has made
me has made me kinder, more forgiving, and more
sensitive 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 stream
down 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 pieces
of a soul glued together with the gentle and
unconditional love of the people who
surround me every day."
COLLOR"After he's done, I'm sitting in a corner crying in
silence when he whispers, 'Don't forget to bring
your homework next week, I might give you
ASHLEY"I feel trapped in the back of my mind, struggling
to find my voice. 'No," I say quietly."
elisabeth"All the evidence is there. My story never changes
like his has. It's like they are treating him as
MATTHEW"When I come to consciousness, I'm not relieved
I'm dreaming, because it's not a dream,
it's a memory."
SARAH"Our bodies will often remind us of the aspects of
our lives that we attempt to forget. Take the time
to 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."
I'm still here"
CASSIDY"I started college at seventeen. It started out
alright. Then I met my neighbor."
ANONYMOUS"I cringe and I cry and I call for help in an empty
home. My humanity, as delicate as a bow, taken
from 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 never
enjoy being with my husband."
JOCELYN"That was the first time I was raped. It was also
the first time I had sex. I should have let my
parents call the police."
VANESSA"What I was never told was to watch out
for people who were close to me. I didn't
know what was happening was wrong, I
only knew something wasn't right."
TAYLOR"Relinquishing the ownership of
violation of my humanity has been one
of the most painfully exquisite quests of
my 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 like
the imprint of lips..."
TAYLOR"This is about reducing the risk, so my nieces
never need to feel the desolation that I felt
when I heard those final words:
'I am a man now.'"
"The minutes of the mornings spent in front
of the closet deciding if your skin is thick
enough to brave the bullets today..."
EMILY"It is important to know that even though someone
'didn't mean it like that', they did. There really
is no other way to mean it."
PRICE"I have seen her draw strength from speaking
about her experience and it makes me happy
knowing she is becoming more free."