Shared Stories

An Open Letter to My Rapist

By an Anonymous Contributor 

An open letter to my rapist:

I have tried to write this letter so many times I have lost count. Every time I start to write this I am so overcome with my emotions that I cannot continue. But, today, January 4th, 2019, is the day you will no longer have that power over me. This day has no significance aside from being the day where I belong to myself again. I am in control again. I am strong again…

On August 27th, I met you while my head was out a car window, vomiting profusely. My hair was covered in vomit and my makeup was smeared across the entirety of my face after I had gotten kicked out of a bar for not being able to stand up. To most, I looked like a typical college freshman who didn’t know how much alcohol she could handle. But to you, I was simply easy prey. You thanked my friend for handing me over to you, as if I was a prize you had won, and walked me up six flights of stairs to your room. You then proceeded to have sex with me as I threw up in your bed. There is a blurry area when it comes to consent and alcohol consumption, but there was no blurry area that night. How could I possibly have consented when I could not even recall what happened the following day. I may not have known what your face looked like, but I knew your heart. You had enough nerve to have sex with a drunk, sick girl while she threw up in your bed. From that, I knew everything I needed to know about your morals.

What kills me the most is how long I have spent blaming myself for your actions. If I hadn’t drank so much or if I had dressed more conservatively maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. But, it did happen. I was raped. But the truth is, if you hadn’t raped me I know in my heart it would have been someone else. This wasn’t a mistake or a coincidence, you knew what you were doing was wrong and you put your pleasure above my entire life and future anyway. I promise you, you will not break me. You will only make me stronger. I refuse to continue to live with guilt and shame while you life free of worry. I wish your life was affected like mine was. I couldn’t protect myself from you and that absolutely kills me but I am done reliving that night. Although I will live with the impacts of your actions for the rest of my life, I will use them to help others. I will use them to help other girls whose lives are forever scarred by monsters like you. You have made my mission very clear.

I wish you understood the pain you have caused me but there is no possible way for you to know. There is no way for you to know what it is like to listen to your father crying when you call him and tell him you were raped. There is no way for you to know what it is like learning about rape in a class and having 20 of your peers watch you cry. There is no way for you to know what it is like to skip lunch simply because you are afraid to see your rapist in the dining hall. There is no way for you to know what it is like staring at the ceiling each night for hours on end because you know if you close your eyes you will see your rapist’s face.

There are a few things I hope everyone and anyone who reads this takes away from this: 1. It can happen to anyone. In high school, I always had pepper spray on me and was willing to voice my opinion about anything I felt strongly about. I liked to think this is why I appeared strong willed and why very few people ever messed with me. But, if I’m being honest, that would be because my dad is a police officer. It seems like since I could walk my dad has been teaching me how to protect myself but even that was not enough. In high school I rarely drank and when I did it seemed I was always the one caring for my sick friends. I never thought this would happen to me because of how aware I am of myself and my surroundings, but it did. I let my guard down. When you see a girl who is too drunk, make sure she gets home safely. When you see a girl is uncomfortable from a boy’s actions, intervene. When you know something isn’t right, report it. Although it is overwhelming and terrifying, remember it could happen to someone else next. And that “someone else” is someone’s daughter or sister or best friend, just like you.

2. It is not your fault. I have spent countless hours feeling sorry for myself and then immediately feeling anger and guilt for pitying myself. Give yourself time to grieve but do not let it consume you. You are allowed to get drunk. You are allowed to wear what you want. If you blame yourself for simply living your life, your rapist is winning. None of this is your fault. Remember that. Try not to feel guilty for your friends and family. I know it’s hard but they are only hurting so much because they care about you so much.

3. It will get easier. I have turned to a lot of quotes that resonated with me to help me but my favorite is a Maya Angelou quote. She writes, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” In a few years I hope I am stronger from what I have experienced, but for now, I’m working on it and that is okay too. You can’t heal overnight, I’m reminded of that quite often. But what gets me through is knowing that down the road, maybe, just maybe, I will be able to help girls that have also been raped because of what I have gone through.

In a few years, I hope you see my name in a newspaper or on tv and are reminded of the selfish actions you took on August 27th. And in a few years, I hope I no longer see your face or remember your name. I will succeed because of you. I will succeed not because I need to prove you wrong but because I know, I can beat this. I will succeed for me. I am strong. This will not break me, I will not let it. I am no longer your victim. You no longer own me.

Shared Stories

Did you know? How scared I was

By an Anonymous Contributor

Did you know? How much I liked you? I mean, you must have. How could you have missed the childish grin on my face when you told the others that we were going to stay alone. I was so excited, I had no idea what you had planned. I’m still embarrassed to admit that I actually thought you liked me too. You kept calling me your ‘baby’, funny how you referred to me as a child when you were about to steal my youth away from me.

Did you know? I had never drunk like that before. I guess that didn’t matter to you though, for you kept pouring it down my throat and laughing at my innocence. One should have been enough, two at a push. But you forced them on me as if I’d been in the Sahara Desert for weeks and I was in desperate need for liquid. You waited until I was unable to hold myself steady, and then like some twisted hero you carried me in your arms while the world around me slowly began to fall apart.

Did you know? That I was barely 16, I had never been touched before. The furthest I’d gone was a clumsy kiss with an inexperienced boy and I was terrified. But you were older, you knew exactly what to do, you made that very clear. You lay me down, barely conscious, and removed my clothing with such ease I didn’t even realise it had happened. But then I felt the pain, fuck it hurt. And then I don’t remember anything apart from darkness. It was so dark.

Did you know? How scared I was, waking up and you weren’t there. Hearing some girl that I’d only just met crying at the sight of me. Feeling so heavy as if my head was buried under layers of stone. Unable to lift myself but conscious that I was surrounded in blood and vomit. Vaguely aware it was mine.

Did you know? I had to lie to my own parents. I could not face telling them what had happened, fear of how they would react, how my dad would come and find you. Funny how I protected you, even after you stole everything from me. A large part of me was so deeply ashamed of what I had done – as if it were my fault – that I did not tell anyone the depth in which you hurt me for years.

Did you know? How badly I scarred? For months after it happened I would sit on the toilet having to bite my hand just to stop the scream from escaping my lungs. It felt like a fire was blazing between my legs every single time.

Did you know? The shame I felt, sitting in a nurse’s room with my legs separated whilst strangers were deep inside me. Closing my eyes, trying desperately to hold back the tears, whilst they examined me in such detail I was sure they had memorized my insides.

Do you know? I still can’t fully appreciate the touch of another man. It is hard for me to tell my body that it’s okay, that I am allowed to enjoy the feeling, it still feels wrong. It’s been 8 years.

I wonder if you’ll ever know.

Shared Stories

“He was found Not-Guilty, and since then, (almost a year since the trial) I’ve been able to start again with my life.”

By an Anonymous Contributor 

It was a warm, summers evening, a Saturday when me and two of my friends had planned a night out in our local town, one of my friends was staying over with me, I was living at my parents house at the time, me and my friend who was staying over got ready whilst having a few glasses of wine, and then walked into town to meet our other friend at our favourite bar, we were tipsy from the wine, and looking forward to a girly night out. We met up with our friend in the bar and decided to have some Portuguese Sangria, we sat outside in the warm and sunny summers evening drinking the sangria, chatting, laughing and taking selfies, we were all single, feeling free, confident, and having fun together.

After a while we decided to go to another bar, which was very quiet, so decided to return to the first bar, when we entered the bar, we were greeted by a chap that we knew, and would see out regularly at weekends, he greeted us and asked us what we were drinking, we said we like Prosecco, and so he proceeded to order a bottle from the bar which was brought over to us and put in one of those wine holder stands with ice in, I thought that was a bit Flash, but felt treated and ‘special’, we all chatted, and had a laugh together, we chatted to people we knew, and had a fun evening, at one point I said to one of my friends I was going to the ladies, she came with me, in there she told me that this chap had been rubbing ‘himself’ against her and whispering things he’d like to do to her in her ear, she pushed him away and laughed it off.

I felt disgusted hearing this, and said let’s keep away from him! So we distanced ourselves when we returned to the bar. A bit later when us ladies decided we were going to go home, we said our goodbyes to friends and the chap heard us, he said, “I’ll walk you home.”

I replied sternly, “there’s no need, there’s three of us!”

But he followed us out of the bar! I just thought, ah he’ll probably just chat to us whilst we walk and then go off home, but he didn’t, he caught up with one of my friends who we were walking to her house first, he was asking her if she had any drink at hers, and if he could come in for a drink, she replied: “nope, I’m tired and I’m going straight to bed!”

He was pestering her, but she wasn’t having any of it, we said our goodbyes to her and she went into her house, me and my friend who was staying over continued to walk home, and this chap was tagging along with us, I didn’t feel threatened or anything as I was with my friend, and just assumed he would leave us to walk to his house, but he didn’t, he asked me if I had any drink in the house, and I said there won’t be much, if any, I could tell he wanted more alcohol, even though he’d told us he’d been out at the races all day drinking! I thought, ok well he’ll come in for one drink and then go, all three of us went into the house (my parents we’re away that weekend – which at some point I’d mentioned in passing) I found some JD & coke and asked the chap and my friend if they’d like one, I poured us all a drink and we sat down in the living room, I took a sip and just thought, I’d had enough and just wanted my bed.

We all chatted, my friend went outside for a cigarette and at some point came back in and said she was heading off to bed, I stood up as I wanted to go to bed too, as I was tired and I knew I had a long journey the following day, he stood up and just grinned at me, but he didn’t look as if he was going to leave, so as I was desperate to go to bed, I said, “look, you’re welcome to have the sofa, I’ll get you a blanket.”

He just grinned, I ran upstairs and got a throw and a pillow out of the airing cupboard, I brought them downstairs and put them on the arm of the sofa near where he’d been sitting, he lunged towards me and tried to kiss me! I pushed him away and said “Whatcha doing!?” He just grinned at me, I said “I’m going to bed now, night!” And closed the living room door behind me and went upstairs, I got my pjs on, my friend was upstairs getting into her (spare room) bed too, I cleaned my teeth etc, went into my parents bedroom (as that’s where I was staying) closed the door, and got into bed and fell asleep immediately. It wasn’t until the very early hours that I woke, I was lying on my side, facing the curtains, it wasn’t dark but wasn’t light either, and I quickly came to the realisation that ‘he’ was behind me, inside me, thrusting in and out, and I’d been asleep! I shouted out “I don’t want to have sex!” He withdrew himself, OMG what was happening, why was this happening, to me? My mind was racing, I was in shock, I felt frozen, I couldn’t move, I didn’t know what to do, was it a dream? A nightmare? Did I ask for this?

I don’t remember him getting into bed with me, I don’t want this, I couldn’t scream, I did t know what he might do to me, so I stayed in the same foetal position, hoping he wouldn’t hurt me, I remember at some point he whispered in my ear “I wanna fuck you!” and “You’re naughty!” I was in shock, I didn’t want this man near me, I didn’t want to have sex! He made me touch his penis, he held my hand on it, and moved it up and down, it felt hard and hot, I felt disgusted, I didn’t want to touch him!

I took my hand away, and told him, “you better go to the bathroom and sort yourself out.” I didn’t want him to ejaculate anywhere near me, he went to the bathroom, I lay there thinking what the hell has just happened, I pulled up my pj bottoms as they’d been pulled down below my bottom, I thought, ok act normal, he won’t hurt me then, I sat up in bed, he came back and got into bed, we made chit chat about the night out, a few minutes later, my friend opened the door of the bedroom and looked at us both in shock, she then said “Oh, er morning, are you ok?” I said “Yes” and then she asked if we wanted a cuppa, we said “yes please” she went downstairs and we both got out of bed and he put his clothes on, and we went downstairs, the atmosphere was weird, I didn’t speak, I was in shock, he said he’d have to go and catch a train, so we said bye and he was gone.

My friend asked me if we’d had sex, and I said “No”, and to be honest I didn’t know what had happened or why. It wasn’t until a week later that I was thinking about that night and realised I’d been raped, I googled it, I was looking up things like unwanted sexual experiences, this expression doesn’t exist, everything pointed to rape which I didn’t want it to be. I tried to forget about it, I tried to deny it had ever happened, I felt ashamed, I felt dirty, I felt Guilty!

I got on with my life, I got a new job, I went on dates, I continued to go out, and act ‘normal’ until I met my future Husband, I knew he was right for me, we had such a laugh together, he looked after me, he valued me like no ther man ever has, it was when we’d been seeing each other for six months, (over a year after the event) I felt ‘ready’ to tell him what happened that night, he was obviously shocked and saddened, after discussing it at length with this two friends and my new chap, I eventually decided to report it to the Police, I knew it was the right thing to do, even though I was very scared, the Police were amazing, and the Counsellor at Rape Crisis, it was then that I started to suffer, I couldn’t go to work, I was getting flashbacks, I became paranoid and anxious, I wouldn’t/couldn’t leave the house, I thought ‘he’ was going to come into the house and kill me, it was horrendous, I kept this all from my parents, and to this day, they don’t know anything about it.

Finally my case went to Crown Court, two years after reporting it to the Police which was horrendous, I was on antidepressants, and had CBT therapy through the NHS to help my PTSD which was pretty bad, the trial lasted a week, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, stand up in court and answer detailed questions about that night and what happened, but it wasn’t fair, he paid for a Defence Barrister who grilled me, she tried to twist my account, it was terrible, I didn’t cry, but I wanted to vanish into a hole in the ground. He was found Not-Guilty, and since then, (almost a year since the trial) I’ve been able to start again with my life, to gradually become more confident and go out, me and my chap had a failed IVF cycle which was a blow, we also got married – and had the best day of our lives. We’ve been through the mill and come out the other side, I feel different since that night, a part of me died, but I’ve grown stronger, and more determined than ever before, to do what I want to do, I’m a fighter, I’m a Survivor, and I will not let this ruin me.

Shared Stories

“I want to be an advocate and share my story but I also don’t want to be my story.”

By an anonymous contributor 

The first time we had sex I was so scared. It was in the loft of his garage and I felt so far away from anyone. I remember thinking that I should just give in because that way I won’t get hurt. If I fought back or resisted there would be no body to hear my screams and I was unsure what he would do. So I let it happen. This is the most regrettable thing I have ever done to myself. I feel that I am not even a victim because I let it all happen. I know I didn’t deserve it but I could have stopped it, maybe. I am the one that told him it was okay to treat me like trash, thus I am the one that open the gates of hell. After the first time we had sex he became more eager for more. It felt like he was never happy unless we did something new every time. He started slapping me and pulling my hair. One time when I resisted the hair pulling he stopped fucking me looked in my eyes and grabbed my throat. At first the choking was gentile. Gentile but still terrifying although I could push him away easily. Later when we ran out of “new things” the choking got harder and soon I was wearing turtlenecks and scarves to school to cover up bruises on my neck. When I would try to push him off he would whisper in my ear “I can tell you like it rough. Women always act this way when they like it”. The sex got so rough that often I would bleed afterwards. I showered every time he left but I still felt dirty. I wanted to crawl out of my skin but I couldn’t so I would scrub my skin dry. Trying to get this feeling off of me. Soon after the choking started he would also bound my wrists or ankles together with scarves he would wear. He would tie my wrists together and tie them to furniture or just to my ankles. I never had bruising from this but my level of fear increased dramatically at this point. I could no longer push him away or resist him. My one level of defence was taken from me. I was too scared to even talk. I felt frozen. Sometimes I would cry but that never stopped him. He would just roll my body around like an object. Where ever was most convenient for him. He did whatever he wanted to me and I felt helpless to do anything. After the experimenting with bondage I never fought back. Even with the bounds off I didn’t think anything I did would make a difference. He was in charge and I was common trash. I felt lost. I turned my emotions off the best I could which I think was part of the reason I stayed the year and a half I did. I got into a rhythm. When we started dating all my friends left me (because they didn’t like him) so he was the only person I could talk to and that took interest in me. It’s embarrassing to even write about it. I feel ashamed and embarrassed that I stayed and let this carry on for so long. I’m embarrassed that it happened. Sex is so personal it is embarrassing to think, talk and write about this. Although I have so much emotion around this I’m sick of obsessing over it. “I want to break free” as the infamous Freddy would say. I want to be an advocate and share my story but I also don’t want to be my story. I want to live past this. I want to be more. I want to make a change.

Shared Stories

It was independence day in India…

By Apurva Singh

Hi! There is no reason to go anonymous and so I am writing down my story. I totally respect those people who have gone through extreme assaults and still living heads up. My story might not be that terrifying though but it left me stammering for the past 18 years. I was 5 when it all started. A man who was assigned to drop me and pick me up from school did it to me. I had given him blowjob for almost 8 months without having any idea what was it all about (I was 5 for God sake!). He used to ejaculate inside my mouth and forced me to gulp it all up and threatened that he would do it to my mother if I tell about it to anyone. Even me, as a kid, couldn’t explain what was happening to me everyday.

I remember it was independence day in India and he took me on his bike to my school and while coming back from school he was not in a mood I guess (fortunately!). He just told me to give him a hand job and hell I did it. Finally I got something that I can talk about to my mom and so I did. I came back home and told her what happened that day. She went numb and I remember her shivering and hugging me tightly. My father was in other city for his service training and he came back after 14 days.

Phones were not in fashion and hence she had to wait until my dad came back. For those 14 days, she walked me to school and picked me up as well. When my father returned, she told him and he lost his patience (obviously!). The servant was punished and rest I am still unaware of. The worst part is that I didn’t tell my parents about blowjob because I really didn’t know how to tell it to them.

It was 13 years later when I came to know the meaning of it but I still haven’t spoken to anyone in my family about it. It’s of no use as well because what’s gone is gone. It left a scar and no matter where I go, it brings out trauma every time I am among unknown people.

Till date, I move out of the room when the supporting staff (even ladies) come to clean it and its all unintentional. It wasn’t my fault but still I suffered and I stammer because of it till now. But I have improved a lot in past 5-6 years, thanks to my friends in my grad school. They are a blessing and my parents who believed in me and took action. I owe them because if they hadn’t reacted, I don’t know what would have happened to me because I stayed in that place for next three years with my family before my dad got transferred to other city.

I am an electrical engineer today and preparing for higher studies and doing pretty well in life but it comes back every time I hear or read about any 5-6 year old kid or 8- 9 months old baby getting raped. I still face assaults but they are verbal (only faces have changed). Either in gym, local bus, or in metro trains. I still get those lustful looks from guys. I have got a good physique with above average looks, pure Indian (no exaggeration and self obsession intended!) and I have been commented and stared at many instances. I hope it all ends someday and those men get some brains in them.

Shared Stories

“I felt numb, I felt empty”

By an Anonymous Contributor 

In September of 2017 I was out with friends and we had decided to go to a good friend of mines party. I was still struggling with severe anxiety and I remember feeling pretty uncomfortable, so I drank, and drank, and drank. I was still aware of my surroundings and my anxiety had disappeared, perfect right?

I had been making casual conversation with a guy throughout the night who said he was a friend of one of my good friends so I felt pretty okay about talking to him. The night continued and everything was pretty good (as good as a house full of 18-25 year olds all drunk can be).

At around the midnight point I went upstarts to the bathroom to fix my makeup. I remember the stairs being pretty steep and the light from the upstairs landing seemed like miles away.

I got to the bathroom and began fixing my makeup. The guy I had been speaking to throughout the night came in and said “oh Hiya how you doing.”

I remember there being a dullness in his voice that there wasn’t before and suddenly got that stomach sinking feeling. I started to pack my stuff up and headed to the door but before I got there he stood infant of it and locked it. I remember the sound of the crappy bathroom lock sliding across the metal and the feeling of terror that filled my entire body.

I said “excuse me but I have to go, my taxi is outside” he laughed and said, “Really? I’m sure it can wait.”

I said no it can’t and headed toward the door for a second time. Suddenly his hand was over my mouth and he was undressing me. I felt a sense of powerlessness that id never experienced before. I told him over and over I’m not feeling comfortable I want to leave and he said a sentence that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

He said, “So your one of those girls, I get it, I understand what you want” he said it with a laugh in his voice as if he thought my saying I wanted to leave was funny. He continued to kiss me and started taking off my clothes. He’d take on piece of my clothing off then one piece of his.

I wanted to scream I wanted to hit him but all the fight in me had gone. I said the last thing I would say that night, “please don’t, please stop”. He laughed it off yet again and I blacked out. After that my memories are hazy until the moment I kinda snapped back into reality. I was on the bathroom floor and he was on top of me, He was naked, pressing my hands against the floor and raping me. I just lay there, staring at the little bit of paint hanging off the ceiling. at some point someone must of knocked on the door because he bolted up and got dressed faster than lightning. He smiled at me in such a normal way and left the room. I half expected someone else to walk in but they didn’t. I sat in the corner for a while and cried and cried and cried. I felt numb, I felt empty.

It seemed like it had been hours since I’d walked up that staircase but in fact it had only been 47 minutes.

I got dressed and walked down the stairs, this time they felt so short and like they didn’t even exist. I walked past the living room, glanced at all the people and left. I got on a bus and I walked home.

Shared Stories

I am #NotGuilty

By an Anonymous Contributor

I’d met up with my ex boyfriend for a friendly drink one Friday night. He needed somewhere to stay, and we were on very good terms so I offered him my flat. We got a little tipsy, but nowhere out of control. We walked back to my flat, and I had to go straight to bed as I was so tired. I’ve been suffering with chronic fatigue for a while now as a result of an auto-immune disease, and so I could barely talk at this point – I just needed to get into bed and to sleep as soon as possible! He lay down with me, and I curled up and drifted off. Moments later I became aware of his hands pulling me closer, running up and down my body. He kissed me on the forehead, and then the cheek, and then once on the mouth. He mumbled “are you awake”, to which I couldn’t respond. I was just on the cusp of falling asleep and I hoped if I didn’t reply he would just leave me alone – normally if I admitted to being awake he would want to have a conversation and I was just too tired. But he kept going. He kissed me again, his hands becoming firmer around my and pulling me against his body. Before I knew what was happening his fingers were in my mouth, pulling it open, trying to kiss me harder and harder. I could feel him everywhere – his fingers in my mouth, his hand on intimate parts of me, he was everywhere, pulling my tshirt up, holding me so I couldn’t turn away. He rolled over and pushed himself up and over me, propped up on one arm – it was at this moment I managed to pull myself together enough to say “what are you doing”, to which his reply was “Oh just turning over”. I rolled over and went to sleep, putting as much distance between us as possible. I fell asleep instantly, and woke up in the morning to him telling me how quickly I had fallen asleep last night, and how I hadn’t moved all night, almost over-emphasising the fact that he thought I had been asleep the whole time. I confronted him later that day after realising what what happened was NOT okay, and that it made me feel disgusting. He cried and the last thing he said to me was “I’m not a rapist”. I am #NotGuilty. I did not consent at any point and it took me a while to come to terms with the fact that just because I didn’t push him off me or scream ‘no’, it does not make any of that behaviour acceptable or okay. I’m now terrified to fall asleep next to anyone again – it was an abuse of trust that I can’t forgive or forget.

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All I Felt Was Shame

By Six 

All I felt was shame and nothing else. I felt ashamed, I felt like it was not ok to say it.

He was my best friend, he still is my “friend”. We grew up together, and I started to have feelings for him, he didn’t responded me, and he said that it was all because “he loved me too much”. And I believed it, so we continued the relationship above friends but not lover. Then one night, he showed up outside of my house, all drank and messed, crying and yelling that he love me, he love me so much, and he ripped off all my clothes, the next thing I know, I was raped. It was painful, it was my very first time, and it was in the kitchen with my mouths covered so that my parents won’t find out.

I was not able to tell anyone about it. I mean what can I do? He said he was drank, and he didn’t know what he was doing, it was love. And if I tell anyone, I will be ruined. Because of my conservative family, my parents believe that you can only have sex after marriage. I wasn’t even able to tell them.

And because of my weakness, every time I see him, I have to go through the same awful memory over and over, I am STUCK.

Deep inside, I know all I wanted is an APOLOGY, I wanted the TRUTH. we can’t just deny it, inside, we have to acknowledge it happened, and made people here our voice. #NotGuilty

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I believed a dangerous lie

By “L” 

My housemate sexually abused me and I believed a dangerous lie: that he was my boyfriend

I graduated from uni not too long ago, but I’m still processing the trauma from my abusive housemates during my third year. I’m still learning the reality of it.

To try to summarise a complex situation, I was very innocent and extremely vulnerable at the time – just about surviving through uni. I ended up being sexually exploited by my male housemate/’friend’. He repeatedly sexually harassed/abused me, including rape. I never consented from the start, and could not consent because of being so vulnerable (emotionally and cognitively), due to recent and previous severe trauma.

He groomed, entrapped, manipulated, conditioned and exploited me. He made me feel so worthless. I became brainwashed very quickly (stolkholm syndrome) and trauma bonded with him under the constant emotional, sexual and sometimes serious physical abuse. It was so confusing, because he literally undermined my sanity and bent my reality to maintain power and control over me.

I believed a dangerous lie: that he was my boyfriend. I know it sounds strange, but it’s true – I looked up to him at the time, whilst taking on his shame and blame. It was such a twisted situation. I felt hopeless, helpless, powerless, ashamed and scared. I screamed many times because it was torturing abuse, yet I was drowning silently. I was in denial that it was abuse and instead believed the lie I was ‘crazy’.

Anyway, he was best friends with my female housemate/’friend’. They ganged up on me, whilst my resistance to the abuse was futile. It usually made the abuse worse and I was so desensitised, I didn’t realise it was ‘abuse’. She was extremely emotionally abusive and also physically assaulted me once. They tried to protect each other, and showed no respect for my life as they put my life in serious jeopardy. I may have reacted in some ways I’m not proud of, but I tried to survive in that environment.

The whole situation was extremely traumatising and became life threatening to me. My outside ‘friends’ were not real – as they victim blamed and shamed me, siding with my abusers. My abusers were popular and wanting to study medicine. They maintained power and control, whilst everyone trampled on my life as I was invalidated, devalued, discredited. I was pretty much shunned and ostracized, as my innocence, naivety and vulnerability were exploited.

I’m better than when I first escaped that house and situation. I’m physically away from all of them, but I sometimes struggle to deal with the pain and trauma of being silenced and dehumanised like this. There’s not much I can do about it, because everything has been turned against me so far.

They have no authority to tell me what my truth should or shouldn’t be. They can victim blame and shame me, silence me, dehumanise, devalue me, discredit me – anything to avoid the shame and blame that they know deep down is theirs. But I OWN my truth.

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I said NO to him very clearly

By an anonymous contributor

I’m not even sure my story is worth telling because when I read everyone else’s story I see how different mine is. I haven’t been raped or anything like that. I wasn’t forced to touch him in any way but he touched me pretty much everywhere without me wanting it. I said NO to him very clearly, I said I didn’t want it and that he had to stop. But he didn’t. I just wanted to get to know him but well it didn’t go as planned. I invited him because I already knew him and I trusted him. It was the worst idea ever. I told a friend that I invited him and she told me to text her it was okay or not. First it was okay right like he was normal he didn’t do anything weird. But then when I couldn’t text her back that it wasn’t okay it went bad. He started kissing me, touching me everywhere and I was afraid to not let him do it because what if he didn’t leave my place? What if he sensed something was wrong and didn’t want to leave me alone? So I played along but from the start I tried to say where my boundaries were and I said NO because I felt so bad. Eventually he left only like after 2 hours. When he left I was so relieved. He left and I just started crying and I didn’t know what just happened. Did I got sexually assaulted? Or is this not even called like that? I told a guy friend and he was there for me. My friend came to me the next day and I just started crying because everything reminded me of the attacker. He listened to me and he comforted me. I already had been through some rough relationships and it was already hard trusting people but this changed me even more. I still have trouble trusting men. I think every man is just the same. I’m even more afraid of commitment than I already was before. Also it turns out that this friend of me really didn’t care about me at all either so this makes me lose hope in finding a good guy.

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I was in a toxic relationship

By an Anonymous Contributor 

I was in a toxic relationship with a psychotic narcissistic male. My first time was forced, and many times after that. I was assaulted recently by a man I trusted, he may not have meant to put his hands on me, but for me it was assault. I keep asking myself why does this keep happening to me. I am so terrified of liking another guy.

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I was sexually assaulted by my boyfriend

By an Anonymous Contributor

I was sexually assaulted by my boyfriend. We were both drunk, so I couldn’t give my consent. It didn’t happen in a dark ally, it happened in his bedroom, and it was someone I knew and trusted, unlike many stories of rape on the internet.

Three years later, we’re still together, except we’re both sober since then.

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13 Years Later

By an Anonymous Contributor

I was sexually abused from the time I was 8 until I was 10. She was another child, someone I thought would be a friend to play dolls with. Instead she would sneak into my bed and perform sexual acts on me. For years I had no idea what had happened and what you were doing. I was silent. Thirteen years later I am sharing my story, attempting to recover from the shame and guilt that I buried deep down.

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“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.

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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?

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“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.

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“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?

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“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.

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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.

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5 years ago today I spoke up

By an anonymous contributor

A quick way home.

5 years ago today I spoke up. I told a trusted teacher that my best friend, the guy I loved, had forced me into having Oral sex.

I blamed myself. After all I bore the name of my biological father, a man unlike my friend, so maybe this was to be my life.

I was destined to be the ‘sweet girl’ the girl that whilst being pressed up against a headstone (I can laugh at the irony, a quick way home could lead to this) I wished for death.

He pushed me to the ground, his privates in hand and looked me in the eyes. Those beautiful eyes I grew up adoring became the eyes from every horror movie, the monsters under my childhood bed became his essence. My best friend was dead, and in his place was it.

It has haunted me for 5 years, during in my darkest times where no one believed the cries, of my best friend sexually assaulted me! My best friend touched me in a place no man bar my husband should, my best friend got let off scotch free- because of me.

I never screamed, I never moved, I let it happen, no I am not guilty, no I did not ask for it to happen.

But I didn’t scream. I was scared, not of what was happening, not of him, but of loosing him. Because in my young, screwed up mind, I thought that if I moved, or made any noise, he would leave me and I only had him, he made sure I only had him, he conored me off from the world, told teachers that I was a lier, told friends to leave me to fend for myself, he did everything I thought he would never do.

But in my head, I still thought of him as my hero, the boy that saved me from bully’s, the guy that gave me my first kiss, the man I was going to marry. So I let myself close down, I became numb, I never moved, I think I let myself go, just go.

Now he is the boy who’s eyes are the stuff of nightmares. The boy that tarnished my past memory’s and has engraved images into my mind.

For years I have not trusted men, for years I have gotten comments, at times it gets too hard. But then I remember that even if I feel alone, even if I get shut in rooms and forced to recount every detail over and over again, until I’m in physical pain, I’v not done anything wrong, I spoke up, I thought against my demons and whatever crap the world threw at me and I carried on.

I see him sometimes, he is always with his mum or alone, and I can’t help but feel.. Something, not fear, never fear, but sad, not because of the past, but for his future.

Because I know the truth. And for along as I live, I won’t give up the fight. Not just for myself, my rights as a human on this earth, but for every girl and woman and man who have been harassed, hurt, or worse by the people they love.