Shared Stories

“I was raped by my father four days before my sixteenth birthday.”

By an anonymous contributor

I was raped by my father four days before my sixteenth birthday. We were together in the hotel sitting at the bar and drinking. Now I understand that I should not drink and he should not give me alcohol. But what is done is done. And regret is a waste of time. At night we went to our room and I fall asleep. I woke up because he was touching me. I was too drunk to understand what is actually happening until he started raping me. At one moment he stopped and went to smoke on the balcony. He thought that I was asleep all this time but the point is that I wasn’t. I was confused, angry , disappointed and upset at the same time. Everything in my head mixed and the only one thing that I knew that this is my chance and I have to run. And I ran as fast as I could. I had only one t-shirt on me , I was crying and screaming. I came to the reception and they called police. The whole night I spent in the hospital, than in the office and only next day evening I came home. I was completely broken. I didn’t know what to feel. The first week was the hardest. I was just trying to mentally survive. And I did it. The most important thing I understood is that how this situation will affect me is my choice. And if I don’t want it to ruin my future life than it won’t. I just told myself that I’m stronger than that. That the stupid mistake of my stupid father won’t change my mental health. So, I want to tell you now that your mental health is your choice. You are stronger than you think. So, don’t let this affect you.

Shared Stories

I was 15 years old and an exchange student in a country with a significantly different time zone than my home

By an anonymous contributor

It was a week to christmas when my host dad sexually assaulted me. I was 15 years old and an exchange student in a country with a significantly different time zone than my home. I wasn’t entirely happy in my host family but couldn’t pinpoint to why that was. Was it awkward me, the different culture or the family?

So I neglected my feeling and didn’t say no. It started with the little things that I didn’t like like him touching me when we were playing around, but it never struck me as being on purpose, so I let it slide.

That day, the week before christmas, I late and everyone else slowly went to bed, leaving just the two of us in the living room. We talked about something, I don’t remember what, when he started touching me. I managed to get out and go to bed somehow but wrote my biological mum that I needed to talk to her. The next day we skyped and I told her, crying. I don’t know how I managed but it was early afternoon when my host mom got a call that I would be picked up and needed to pack because I had accused my host father of sexual assault.

Not only was I not aware of me accusing him, but also not prepared for my host family knowing that. My host mum confronted me when I got my suitcase if it was actually true and wouldn’t believe me. My host sister and I sat there crying while I packed.
Then I was picked up and had to tell my story multiple times even though I wanted to be let alone, treated as stupid because people believed my language skills to be inferior and finally left with no option at all.

There was no proof of course, so I didn’t sue and I wonder to this day if this was the right decision. Of course I know that he wouldn’t have been convicted (rightfully so), but he would’ve had a record. I don’t know if he ever assaulted anyone else, but if so, wouldn’t that partly be my fault?

Shared Stories

“I don’t like to tell people how I met my boyfriend, and neither does he.”

By an anonymous contributor

I don’t like to tell people how I met my boyfriend, and neither does he.

The reason? Harv (Names have been changed) and I had never met until the night of his ‘initiation’ into a gang. The ‘initiation’ consisted of finding a girl and raping her. Harv, being eighteen at the time, wanted to get into the gang; he needed the money that would come from sex trafficking.

I didn’t get raped far from home: I was walking home after I finished babysitting my best friend’s kid, as he was out with his wife. His house was not far from mine, a mere mile. The night was warm, and I decided to walk home. I was seventeen at the time.
Between my street and my best friend’s was a school and a field. I took a shortcut across the field.

There was a group of young men huddled around a bench. Some of them called to me, varying from “Hey, sexy,” to “Nice tits.” I knew I was relatively attractive, and I fit the description of a Disney princess well – blonde, slim, doe-eyed, and was used to thins kind of thing. I ignored the men and kept walking, at least until one of them pushed another towards me.

This guy, to put it simply, was hot and strong. The Ken doll to my Barbie looks. Except, my prince wasn’t charming. My fairy tale was a horror story. I jogged to stay away from him, but eventually he caught up to me. His first words were, “Hey, babe, I don’t bite.” He caught me by the shoulders and pushed me down to the grass, earning cheers of approval from the other men.
When I screamed, he covered my mouth and handcuffed me, then proceeded to pull down my pants, then his, and rape me. When he was done, he left me lying on the field and walked away, not looking at me twice.

I got home in two hours. I knew it was not my fault, and that I was not guilty. That night, I called the police and reported being raped. Coincidentally, in a week, there was a night that the local college was open to anyone who wanted to speak up against sexual assault. I signed up, and my name and picture were put on the website advertising the event. I wrote a letter to my attacker, referring to him as ‘you’.

On the night of my speech, I waited backstage anxiously, listening to other men and women speak up against rape. Before I went on the stage, the guy who had been on before me gave me a hug and told me it felt awesome to speak up. Empowered by his bravery and happiness, I climbed up on stage.
I scanned the full room, looking for my friends. Finally, my eyes landed on the front row. He was there. My rapist. Instead of running out like I felt doing, I smiled at the audience and read my letter. More than once, I locked eyes with him, and every time, a new rush of energy overcame me. Every time, he got redder and redder. FINALLY, he could see what he had done.
I marched off that stage with my head held high. At the end of the night, the person in charge offered the mike to anyone in the audience to speak. To my greatest astonishment , my rapist stood up. He walked up on the stage, in his leather jacket and jeans, and confessed to what he had done. Though he didn’t mention me by name, his eyes never left mine. Here’s an excerpt from his speech:

“I am a rapist. I’m sure nobody expected that tonight, someone in the audience would be one of the attackers mentioned. I have no excuse for what I did, and I will never have an excuse. But – there’s two sides to every story. No, I haven’t turned myself in, and no, I don’t plan on it. I’m not proud of what I did, but being around certain people made me feel powerful, and this was my way of showing it.”

I knew he was lying; he had been pressured into it. After the night was over, at the refreshment table, Harv approached me, reeking of alcohol, and said, “Hey, you recognize me, right?” Like he was a celebrity I should know. I slapped him and walked out.

Fast forward five years, and we met again by chance. Harv confessed to what he had done, and strangely, I felt better, too. I told him my side of the story, and he told me his. He’s now off drugs, sober, and out of the gang. A month ago was the first time I visited his apartment, after dating him for a year. No matter what people tell me, I love him, and the feeling is mutual. He is not the person he used to be, and I’m proud he changed. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s just important to acknowledge them.

Shared Stories

“Is it consensual sex if I was 8 years old and didn’t understand what you were saying? No.”

By an anonymous contributor

Is it consensual sex if I was 8 years old and didn’t understand what you were saying? No.
I was 8 and living with my family in and out of hotel rooms because we didn’t have our own place. My mom would come home with new guys every once in a while so I learned never to get to attached until one guy came around and told my mom he had a place for us to live for awhile. My mom took him up on that offer and we moved to a little white house in South Saint Paul. A lot of people lived in that house but among all of them I remember one easily. He ruined my life for years. What he did to me consumed me. I had never had an older sibling that I felt truly cared about me and how I felt until I met him. When my bike was stolen, he comforted me. When I was upset, he was there. When I was sick, he was next to me making sure that I was okay. I didn’t know better. I didn’t know what he was planning. My mom should’ve seen the signs from him. At the time, he was dating my older sister and at one point during their relationship, he pinned her in the closet and tried to have sex with her. My mom heard her screaming and ran to go help but never stopped to think that he would try anything like that with me or my younger sister. One day, he noticed that I was really upset about something and asked me if later that night I wanted to have a sleepover in his room and we would watch a movie. I thought of him as a brother so of course, I said yes and I asked my mom for her permission and she should’ve said no but didn’t. I walked into his room later that night and he had candles lit and the movie ready to be played. I should’ve known something was going on but I was so excited to watch this movie that I didn’t even think. I fell asleep and woke up to being on his lap naked. He had decided he wanted to have anal sex with me. An 8 year old! He whispered in my ear that “it felt good” and I was frozen. Any movements I made that night were because I felt like I might be killed if I did the wrong thing. He moved me from the couch to the bed and told me to get on top of him and ride him. I did as I was told. I fell back asleep shortly after and I still have no idea why I didn’t leave his room. I suppose it could be because of the way I grew up, sex was a normal thing in my life. My mom did it all the time with me in the room so I didn’t know better. I didn’t know that it was wrong, I just knew that I didn’t like it. He took pictures of my naked vagina while I was asleep. I woke up the next morning and went downstairs to get breakfast and his mom stopped me in the hallway and said “you know he loves you right?” To this day, I still don’t know if she knows what he did to me. My sister and her friend were sitting in his room one day and found the phone that he had the pictures of me on. They didn’t know it was me and I was to afraid to tell them. I thought I did something wrong. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 11. My family was pissed but there was nothing we could do. I talked to so many cops and therapists, they didn’t do anything because there wasn’t much they could do. At the age of 9 I was diagnosed with PTSD and still suffer from that to this day. I am now 18 years old and I am a Freshman in college. He tries to reach out to me every now and then but I ignore him. He doesn’t understand what he did to my life. The thing that haunts me the most is that he came up to me one day while I was playing outside and whispered in my ear “are you ready for round two?

Shared Stories

“I had to relive my rape over and over”

By C 

It was just over a year ago.

I was anxious to get back to college and see all my friends I missed during summer break. At the time I still considered my soon-to-be rapist a close friend. Many times I replay the events of that night and think about how I could’ve avoided being raped. The sad reality is that if he didn’t rape me that night, he would’ve raped me another night. He was patient, waiting for me to be in my most vulnerable state. He knew what he wanted and wasn’t going to let anything stop him from getting what he wanted.

I had intentions to see my friend that night. Unfortunately, when challenging my rapist through my university many believe that meant that I had every intention of being raped. I went out with friends and woke up naked, bloody and being screamed at with texts on my phone from my rapist’s roommate asking if I was okay. I grabbed my clothes and ran out of the dorm room. I wasn’t sure entirely what had happened, I could only remember flashes from the night; the flashes I do remember where scenes from horror movies.

On my walk home I opened the camera on my phone to see my face and lips since they hurt. I saw how beat up I look and felt sick. My lip was double the size it usually is and there was dried blood around my face. I could feel that someone had been inside me and did not care to be gentle. When I got home I knew I needed to shower to get every bit of what was left of him off of me. It was when I got undressed and saw my body that I felt paralyzed and truly understood what he had done to me.

The marks on my body showed where he restrained me when I tried to fight. What I would give to go back in time and not have gone out that night. For a long time I chose to protect him. No one tells you how you are supposed to feel after being raped. I was confused and shocked that this could happen to me by someone I had introduced to my parents. Nothing was safe anymore, or so it felt.

I tried to talk to my rapist about what happened, but he was not receptive. I figured maybe this was one big mistake or misunderstanding. Rape isn’t a misunderstanding. As I can to terms to what he did to my body I gradually became more angry at him. I watched a TED talk that explained that 90% rapes were done by repeat offenders. I knew I had to do something. I was terrified to call my friend a rapist. It took my months to report him for raping me. I actually protected him when people questioned my bruising and swelling. The doctors were forced to document the damage he had done to the cartilage in my chest. But when it was the time for me to report, I did.

Reporting my rape and standing up for myself may have been harder than enduring my rape itself. It lead to months of ridicule and blame. People want to assume that rapists are innocent because if they believe victims, they are believing a very sad truth about mankind. It is sad to be forced to understand how evil the acts, even for the individuals closest to us, can commit. People assume they know more about your rape than you do, even though you were the one that lived it and relive it everyday.

I learned a lot about my rape through my rapist testimony. It wasn’t until months after reporting that I read his statement. I learned then that I had been raped multiple times. He described where he came each time like he had been bragging to the investigator. He talked about my body and I could almost hear how he would’ve spoken his testimony out loud. I felt revictimized.

I contemplate whether I am thankful or not that I can’t remember my rape in its entirety. Throughout the Title IX process (the process my university follows when a student alleges another of sexual assault or rape) I had to relive my rape over and over as I told my story to investigators and a board of faculty. It’s embarrassing to tell adults about your sex life. They asked questions about your sex life before and after your rape like that changes the fact you were raped.

My rapists was expelled from the university and asked to never step foot on campus property again. Because my Title IX case resulted in the proper disciplinary actions, people congratulated me on “winning” my case. I did not win my case. There is no winning for me in rape. I can simply tried to live with this as my past.

This event was horrific. This is not something I can simply get over. This event is part of me now. My rape has shaped the individual I have become. I have learned how resilient and badass of a woman I can be. I will continue to fight against rape culture and victim shaming. No one deserves to be violated in this way and no one asks for it. I think it’s very difficult for people to understand if they haven’t gone through it and its okay to not always know exactly how to respond to hearing about these horrific events, but always showing support to victims is vital. I had a few people who supported me and reminded me that, contrary to campus culture and belief, what happened to me is not my fault and I am #NotGuilty.

Shared Stories

I’m not sure how to stop the PTSD

By an anonymous contributor

When I was three years old, my father got a brain tumour. Shortly after that, my great aunt discovered my father had been sexually abusing me. She walked in to my room and heard him moaning and found him on top of me kissing me in a way he should not have been. She never called the authorities. Rather she spent every night on the floor of my bedroom, guarding me. Meanwhile my mother was dying of cancer as well. She never knew. I struggle with this every single day. Why a father would do such a monstrous thing to his daughter who he was meant to protect. He died before my mother did, I was 5 years old. I’ll never know why, and I’ll never truly get justice. This event has haunted me for years, I’m not sure how to stop the PTSD and depression that has come with this trauma. But I hope that one day I will be able to share my story without being anonymous.