Shared Stories


By Eva

I remember 8 shots

I remember not wanting to take the 9th

I don’t remember when I stopped 

I remember blinding lights

I remember melted ice cream

I don’t remember eating it

I remember laughing 

I remember incoherent sentences 

I don’t remember what I said

I remember kissing her

I remember not liking it

I don’t remember asking to do it again

I remember texting her

I remember saying I love you

I don’t remember what else I said

I remember more bright lights 

I remember the painting at the top of the steps

I don’t remember walking up them

I remember the oak night stands

I remember my phone layed on the one to the left

I don’t remember why I went upstairs 

I remember her turning on the music 

I remember a white sheet of paper

I don’t remember why it appeared 

I remember my bra was off

I remember theirs were too

I don’t remember how we got that way

I remember I had no clothes 

I remember they didn’t either

I don’t remember how we got that way

I remember remembering a yes

I remember not wanting to be there

I don’t remember saying yes

I remember time moving to slow

I remember a pungent smell

I don’t remember why

I remember wanting to leave

I remember I didn’t

I don’t remember why

I remember being dressed

I remember not having my socks

I don’t remember getting dressed

I remember texting her

I remember her not answering 

I don’t remember how I got my phone

I remember darkness 

I remember cold stone

I don’t remember going down the stairs

I remember sleeping in a large bed

I remember wanting to leave

I don’t remember getting into the bed

I remember 3 am

I remember her taking away my phone

I don’t remember where it went

I remember waking up before everyone else

I remember leaving the bed

I didn’t remember why

I remember showering 

I remember not being able to find a hairbrush 

I didn’t remember why

I remember avoiding the downstairs 

I remember finding my socks

I didn’t remember why

I remember finding the ice cream

I remember not really helping clean up

I didn’t remember why

I remember leaving as fast as I could

I remember an empty vodka bottle next to me

I didn’t remember why

I remember driving away

I remember a text

I remembered why

I am 17 and I see the girl who did this to me every day in history. I have yet to tell my girlfriend because she herself just experienced a rape. The girl who did this doesn’t know I don’t remember. I have never felt so alone before.

Shared Stories

20 Years Later

By an Anonymous Contributor

I remember parts of what happened like clips from a movie.  I still remember it was Spring of 1999 and I was 18 and a freshman at Cornell.  I remember I was partying hard, as usual, binge drinking and smoking pot.  I remember not many girls from Kappa came to the mixer.  I remember I went alone to see my old “friends.” I remember I stayed later than the other girls.  I remember realizing it was time to go home.  I remember waiting for the bus to go back to Class of 22.  I remember realizing I missed the last bus.  I remember going back inside and asking for a ride home.  I remember being told “I’m too drunk to drive,” repeatedly.  I remember I didn’t have money for a cab.  I remember thinking walking 20 minutes in the cold on the hilly road from Beta back to my dorm on West campus while wasted seemed like a bad idea. 

I remember being back in Beta on the tan textured couch upstairs in the 3rd floor common room talking.  By now I was very drunk and high.  I do not remember how many drinks I had or how much pot I smoked.  I remember I was with you and L. I remember early in the morning L finally went to bed leaving me alone with you.  I remember you suggested I stay over, so we walked from the common room to the bedroom you shared with D. and A.  I remember the room being messy.  I remember the position of your bed in the room, to the left of the door.  I remember your bed was wood.  I remember you said “you sleep in the bed and I’ll sleep on the couch.”  I remember looking up at you questioningly and I remember you saying “Nothing will happen.” 

I remember I trusted you. I remember thinking you were my friend.  I remember I climbed into your bed.  I remember the soft white sheets.  I remember feeling tired and wasted and relieved to be going to sleep.  I remember I went to sleep fully clothed in your bed and I remember you went to sleep, fully clothed on the couch.   I remember when I woke up, the sun was shining into your bedroom and onto the white sheets.  I remember I was naked in your bed. I remember that confusingly you were on top of me and I remember staring at your bare chest.  I remember you rubbing my naked body.  I remember I couldn’t comprehend how you had wound up there. 

I remember I was totally confused and scared and frozen.  I remember I whispered three words “use a condom.”  I remember being shocked because I didn’t undress myself.  I’m still confused to this day.  I remember you smiling at me.  I remember you rolling off me after you finished and removing the condom.  I remember I was relieved that it was over.  I remember both D. and A. were in the room that morning.  I don’t remember if S. was, as well.  I remember afterwards looking for my underwear. I remember we each put our clothes on and you drove me back to my dorm.  I remember just sitting in your car the sun reflecting off the console and I remember staring at the car seat, I remember I didn’t want to look at you.  I remember I was confused and wanted to cry.  I remember I burst into my dorm.  And I don’t remember any more.

I must have looked pale as a ghost and Abbie remembers asking me “What happened?”  She remembers I replied “I’m fine. I slept with E.”  She remembers saying “Are you okay?”  and “do we need to call the police?” She remembers I said no and then I took a very long hot shower.  You never called me again and Abbie remembers instead R. called her and asked what happened between you and I the night before.  She remembers R. telling her that you were bragging to the other brothers that you had fucked me.

Shared Stories

No one believed me

By Jannise Lewis

It was my grandmothers boyfriend no one believed me for 3 years I did nothing wrong and I know it it was his fault and he was in the wrong and he never got in trouble.

Shared Stories

I Can’t Forgive You Yet

By Angelina

It’s been almost three years since the day you destroyed every essence of my being. A part of me always knew what kind of guy you were, and maybe that is why I still feel so much shame around what you did to me in your grandfather’s house. You see, you were my first everything.

My first boyfriend, my first kiss, the first boy who ever stuck their hand up my skirt, and many boyfriends and three years later, the first boy I had sex with. Not even three weeks after that you were the first boy who raped me.
I never thought that something like that would happen to me, but I knew your reputation. Hell, I knew the kind of man you were going to be when we were in eighth grade and you decided what was up my skirt was the most important thing about me. Maybe that was when I decided
my worth to men too.

It was New Year’s Eve 2016 when I really should’ve known what kind of guy you were. You had finally convinced me after weeks and weeks of wearing me down to go to your parents’ cabin. I knew what was going to happen when we got there and so did you. But I went anyway. I trusted that you had changed, you had seemed genuine and nice up until that day. I’ve always tried to see the best in people and maybe that’s what hurts me the most. While we were at that cabin one thing led to another and I was about to have sex for the very first time, but I got scared. I didn’t know if I was ready. So, I told you to wait, that I wasn’t sure. But you said, “It’s too late”
and that was that.

I went home that night and toasted to the New Year with my family, none of
us the wiser of what that year was to bring. After weeks of me convincing myself that’s just what sex is, that I would have to get used to it, (after all, that’s all I’ve ever been shown: hands up skirts and yoga pants in a crowded school cafeteria) you texted me. You told me that you wanted to talk, to apologize for my first time going the way it did. You said you still wanted to be friends, that you wanted to fix what had happened between us, so you asked if I could come over. Again, thinking that you had changed and were being genuine, I told my mom I was going to work and drove to your grandfathers where you were staying.

It was 6:20 in the morning and I was tired, but I parked my car and knocked on your door anyway. You opened the door in nothing but a pair of blue basketball shorts and asked if I wanted to watch a movie. Confused, I agreed, thinking that was your way of apologizing and showing me, you still wanted to be friends. So, we went to your room, sat on your bed, and watched the movie. But I fell asleep. I was tired and you took advantage of that. I woke up to you kissing on me, telling me that you missed me. You said, “I know what’ll wake you up.” I was still half asleep, but I told you to wait. Then I felt your hands slide to the button on my jeans, I tried to push your hand away, but you were too strong. I told you that I didn’t want to, to stop, but you didn’t.

You pulled off my pants and underwear, your shorts. You pinned my arms above my head with one hand, spread my legs apart with your knees, and used your other hand to guide yourself into me. All the while I repeatedly told you to stop, but you didn’t. I gave up. You weren’t listening to me and I was tired of fighting. I spent the next hour and 25 minutes staring at the
clock on your nightstand, silently crying, and weakly trying to get you stop.

To this day I’ll never forget the words you whispered in my ear before you finished: “your face is telling me no, but your body is telling me yes.” I felt as if my body had betrayed me. After you were done with me you rolled out of the bed, smiled at me, and asked me if I wanted to take a shower with you to clean up. As if you just now remembered that I was a person and not a body to use. I told you I was tired, and you left to take a shower.

I laid in that bed and cried quietly, blaming myself for not being strong enough. Telling myself that it wasn’t your fault, that it was mine because I fell asleep in your bed. I quickly got dressed before you came back, you took a short shower; probably scared that I was going to leave. Did you think about what you had done to me? Did you feel any remorse at all? Did you remember that I used to be your friend?

I was about to leave when you came back and asked if I wanted breakfast. I didn’t want you to feel bad or hurt your feelings, as if somehow agreeing to breakfast with you meant nothing happened. When we walked out of your room, we ran into your grandfather and he said, “sounded like you two had fun in there,” and winked at you. I couldn’t help but wonder if he knew what his grandson did to me, if he would’ve been proud, if he would’ve just shrugged it off and called me crazy. But nonetheless I smiled at him and drove us to a nearby burger king. We went inside and you ordered your breakfast. When you ordered I couldn’t help thinking that the
cashier knew, that everyone knew that I was an easy girl. I looked at the floor. When you got your food you scarfed it down, I didn’t eat anything. You acted like nothing happened, like I didn’t have bruises on my thighs or arms from you.

I dropped you back off at your grandfathers and drove home. That day I went with my parents to the hospital to visit my grandma because she was sick, not that you would’ve known. I wore jeans and a hoodie, making sure to cover any possible markings, and I hugged my grandma in a body that wasn’t my own. Nobody noticed or asked me how I was doing so I never told a soul.

Two weeks later I was out with my friends when you texted me and said that you were sorry, you begged me not to report you. You promised you’d never do it again, I believed you, so I never reported you. Besides, who would’ve believed a girl who kept going back to the same guy that hurt her? Though, my best friend found out the next week when we were camping because the smell of his cologne made me freak out. He begged me to tell someone, but I never did, and he never wore that cologne again.

I ran into you last year at the dollar store in town with my boyfriend at the time. I hadn’t seen you since the incident and I dropped everything that was in my arms on the store floor. I quickly tried to pick them up, but I kept dropping them. You smiled at me and walked away. Do you remember that? That day I became a shell again though my boyfriend did his best to calm me down. Even though it has been nearly three years I still turn a light on at night to remind myself that I’m not in that room again. I’ve learned though that it wasn’t my fault what you did to me.

You were greedy and felt entitled to a body that was not your own. It’s not my fault that I wake up in a cold sweat every January, it’s not my fault I still can’t fall asleep until 5am, and it’s not my fault that I can’t lay with another man yet. I just hope that one day you will stop running from the person you are, that you’ll face it and get help. I hope that one day God will show you mercy and forgive you because I know that I can’t yet.

Shared Stories

Ten Months Ago

By an Anonymous Contributor

Ten months ago I met you. My friends had taken me to go smoke with them in the parking lot of your apartments. Everyone greeted you and then you pulled a pipe out of your pocket. I remember I was the first one to take a hit and you lit it for me since I was still a beginner. Moments later I was sitting down on the sidewalk of the parking lot because I could not keep my balance. You kept staring at me with a grin. You walked up to me as me and my friends were about to leave and told me you were a “plug” and I added you on snapchat. Five months passed and the only relationship we had was that I was a frequent customer. 

On July first I got a message from you. I thought this was odd because we never talked unless I was going to buy from you.

You told me “ Aye so I know we don’t know each other that well but you’ve been looking really pretty and I was wondering if I could take you out sometime?” 

I replied with “Thank you. If I do agree to hang out with you can I bring some friends along?” 

You said “ I was really hoping it could just be me and you. Ever since I met you there’s just something special about you. 

Looking back on that day I got that message I wish I would’ve just blocked him then and there. I told my friend about it and she agreed that it was weird since he was in high school and I was in middle school. A part of me was flattered that this older guy was giving me attention. Boys my age would give me attention but would compliment me on things like my butt and made me feel like an object.

You called me beautiful and acknowledged my personality… or so I thought you did. The next day I lied to my mother that I was going to my friend’s house and you picked me up at the corner store near my apartments. When you pulled up to the store you got out of the car and opened the door for me like the nice guy I thought you were. You told me I looked “stunning” and then we began to talk about random things. I learned that you were already out of high school. I knew it was wrong for me to be riding in your car at that moment.

I thought to myself “maybe if I indicate to him that I am still in middle school he will rethink this whole “date”. I told him how I got suspended from my middle school because I got caught with weed . He simply laughed and said “I remember I used to get in lots of trouble at that school too”. He didn’t care that I was in 8th grade. We went to a parking lot and smoked a blunt. He began to try to kiss me and touch me in inappropriate places. I told him to stop because I felt weird that he was 19. He stopped and told me there was “no pressure” and took me out to eat. When we would stop at red lights he would look over and admire me, I guess. He drove me to my favorite fast food place and bought me everything I wanted. Then he drove me around while I drank my shake. In all honesty it made me feel special.

He asked me “why won’t you let me get close to you?” I told him “you just want to use me like everyone else, I know how boys think”. He replied with “You only feel that way because you mess around with the wrong type of boys. It’s because you’ve been messing with little boys and not “a man”. He told me that he had already played those games back in the day and he was over playing games. In a weird way it made sense to me at the time. I believe maybe I had been “played” so many times because I needed someone older and more mature. I let him hold my hand as we cruised around. He played music and dedicated songs to me.

For once I felt secure and loved by a man. Then we went back to the same parking lot and smoked another blunt. Next thing I know I was in the backseat making out with this man because I thought he liked me. Then he wanted me to give him oral and I kept saying no but he kept tugging at my arm making me touch his penis. I finally said “stop forcing me” and he got very bothered that I said that. He put his penis back in his pants and it was silent for a while. I asked “are you mad at me?”.

He looked at me calmly and said “ of course not baby” and proceeded to kiss me. He took me home and I was so happy that I spent the day with him and he asked me to be his girlfriend. I wish I saw the signs and how wrong the whole situation was that day, but I was blind to what I had gotten myself into. The next day he picked me up for another “date”. I thought we were going to go smoke, eat, cruise, and makeout like the day before. Instead we ended up at his house. Him and three men began measuring pounds of marijuana in the living room. I felt awkward and invited my friend over.

She pulled me aside and said that she felt a weird vibe but I was just in a haze that I ignored her. He took us upstairs and put on a movie. He told me to lay on the bed while my friend sat in a lounge chair. He laid next to me and began to touch me. He told me it would be better if my friend left so we could make out. I noticed she was uncomfortable so I told her she could leave. She told me to be careful and to call her if anything. I assured her that I had my phone charged and nothing bad was going to happen. Once she left we began making out and touching. Then he began to try to pull down my pants. I told him I did not want to have sex. I struggled as he pulled my pants down and I tried to pull them up.

He managed to pull them off and throw them across the room. He grabbed my phone and put it in a drawer away from my reach. I was scared. He told me to relax and began to give me oral. I tried to calm myself and thought “maybe this is all he wanted to do, just stay still”. He took off his pants quickly and pulled my thighs towards him. I scotted back, I tried to put my legs in between us, I told him “no!”, I told him “I’m not ready”, “stop!”. He just smiled with that same grin from the night I first met him. He pinned my hands to the bed and proceeded to rape me. My whole body shut down, I stopped fighting and closed my eyes. I screamed in pain. I suppose he noticed I was not enjoying it and said “i’ll stop if you want me too”. I couldn’t talk, I just nodded.

I grabbed my phone and put on my pants and ran to his bathroom. I could hear laughing from the other room. I sat on the toilet while the blood coming out of me dripped into the toilet bowl. I finally came out and he told me “don’t worry I’ll take you to CVS and buy a plan B” with a smile. I called my friend while he went inside to get the pill. With tears in my eyes I told her what happened and hung up shortly after because he was coming back. He dropped me off and gave me a kiss as I got out of the car. I took the pill and walked to my apartment. I went to my bathroom and cried as I peed. Then my sister banged on the door and demanded to know where I had been. My cousin had seen me get out of this man’s car and told my sister. I lied that it was my friend’s cousin that gave me a ride home. I got in trouble and was not let out the whole summer. I wanted to tell my family but I would have to admit that I smoke weed, and I feel like they would have blamed me because “something bad is bound to happen to bad kids”.

Although there were many other factors as to why I didn’t/haven’t told my family the main reason is because a part of me still doesn’t feel like my “story” is valid. My mother was assaulted when she was young but that was because she couldn’t defend herself. I felt like at 13 I was physically strong enough to defend myself. I wasn’t a 6 year old, I didn’t have a gun to my head, I was aware, and I was sober enough to fight back… yet it still happened. I thought “how dare you compare your story to others. You let the man touch you and kiss you, that means sex is in the deal if you let him do that”. Nineteen days after that happened I turned 14. I started cutting myself, taking hot showers, and stress eating. When I was finally let, out some boys in the neighborhood started telling me that everyone knows that me and this man had sex. Looking back on it the sad part is that I was shamed, not the 19 year old man. I texted him about it in anger and he ignored me. I became suicidal. I opened up to my friends about it and most were very supportive. Although I did have one “friend” that told me “someone can’t take your virginity without you letting them so you let them, we all make mistakes, well you were doing bad things so maybe it was your karma, you were starting to smoke weed and do bad things what did you expect was gonna happen to you, you put yourself in that situation,

I know how you are you probably had sex with him and then people started finding out and you made up this story, own up to your mistakes”. I believed them. The beginning of freshman year he texted me that we should hang out and he picked me up at my apartment again and took me to the same indoor parking lot and we smoked. We had sex in the back seat multiple times then he would drive me to school. I felt dumb, disgusting, and confused as to why I was going back and now “consensually” having sex with this man. I found an article written by a strong survivor and it said “We’re taught that rapists are monsters. Maybe this is why I didn’t expect to feel human feelings for my rapist. In some ways, those feelings were a form of denial. When I scrubbed away my memories of the assault, what remained was the attraction I’d felt toward him before.I constantly thought to myself: What if I could relive the first night? If I went back in time and consented, it would have been a great story instead of a tragedy. Every time I said yes, I was trying to consent retroactively. For me, sleeping with him was the ultimate denial that he ever raped me.Every single person experiences rape differently. Some of us hate our rapists, and some of us can’t. Sometimes people sleep with their rapists. Sometimes we date them. Sometimes we even marry them.We seek healing in myriad ways. We don’t always find it, but we always, always deserve it. We deserve it even when we try to heal by hurting ourselves, no matter what kind of hurt it is. Self-harm can be in the form of cuts on your thighs or orgasms on your rapist’s futon.Y ou could carve the letters Y-E-S into their back a billion times, but it won’t make you forget that you once didn’t get a chance to say yes. Apologize to your body. Maybe that’s where healing begins.”

I try to apologize to myself for willingly entering such a confusing and harmful situation. Maybe one day I’ll stop apologizing and begin healing again”. I felt that. By having sex with him I tried to pretend that the first time never happened, but it did. It’s been about 10 months since it happened and I am turning 15 this year. I am still working on not blaming myself, on forgiving and loving my body, on trying to figure out who I am but it’s a hard journey. My innocence was robbed by a man 6 years older than me. I felt anger and disgust towards myself. I cut my wrist and thighs praying that the pain would stop. I wanted to die. I became promiscuous and did sexual acts for every guy I liked because I thought that was all I was good for. I hated myself. I now realize it was not a 13 year olds duty to be fighting off a grown man’s hands off her body. It was not that 13 year old girl’s fault. I accept my flaws and all and I’m working on loving myself again. Thank you to whoever read this whole thing you have no idea how much it means to me. And to the now 20 year old man that raped me, I hope karma gets you good for what you did to me ten months ago.

Shared Stories

I wrote a poem yesterday

By Ruby

It’s funny how the cursor flashes, pulses like a heartbeat. I stare at it. Blank. I’m not sure how to start. 

I wrote a poem yesterday:

I am angry.

It curls and folds like burning paper.

Then, it reaches up 

and crushes my heart. 

I am angry. 

It teases my nerves


until I can’t stand still.

And then

I obliterate myself

into nothingness

so that I don’t have to feel 

the anger

that you 





I didn’t know you very well. You told me I was beautiful. You were older. I was 14. We were hanging out with a group of friends. We were in the bushes near your house. We smoked a joint. I hadn’t smoked before. The bushes and leaves surrounding us turned bright, bright green. Fluorescent. They were glowing. We were huddled in a circle, everyone looking inward. Everyone’s big faces against the bright green leaves. At some point, I imagined that elephants came down from the sky and took me away in a hot air balloon. I felt dizzy. 

We all went back to your house. I remember seeing everyone sitting on the couch in silence. You took me to your room. You put me on the bed and took my clothes off. I remember you above me. I remember looking at your penis in shock because I had not seen an erect penis before. I could not speak. I wanted to go home. I did not want it to happen. I didn’t know much about sex. I wanted to go home. I had my period and I had a tampon in, but my voice didn’t come. 

I don’t remember the rest of it. I don’t remember how I got home. I sat on the toilet and tried to get the tampon out. It was so far inside of me that I could not reach it. I did not want to tell my parents. Later, I tried again to get it out. It was hard to grab hold of it because it had turned sideways. 

I did not tell anyone. Instead of asking for help, I had a lot of sex. I even had sex with you a second time. We drove to the beach and this time I could speak but this time I let you do it while I looked at the sky. My vagina was dry and it was painful. I looked at the sky and ignored the pain. 

This is when I started to hate the world. I was angry with everyone. Before you raped me, I had only loved the world, I had loved school and I had loved people. What you did changed that. 

I had sex with lots of different people for the next three years. I was no longer an innocent child. I was choosing to do this. I ignored myself and I gave sex to others. It was always dry. I thought that’s what sex was, and I thought that was what men wanted. I was a slut, I was bad, and it was a choice. I got in trouble at school, I let my marks drop, I lost my appetite and I lost weight. 

Over time, and with the help of alcohol, I blocked out the event and my feelings. I became really good at numbing and ignoring myself. Memory loss became part of my norm. 

Eventually I decided I needed to change myself to prove that I was not bad. As I tried to drink less at social gatherings, I started to feel more anxious. When I’m inside and with a group of people, everyone’s faces reach into mine, peering in too far. I start to sweat. It drips down my back. My heart is pounding and the back of my neck is tightening up into the back of my skull. Thoughts are racing, racing through my head. I’m watching everyone’s movements, who is going to the bathroom, who is speaking to who, who is outside incase I need to go out there. Everyone is having a great time. I am very good at putting on an act. I can feel sweat coming through my clothes but I can still smile and play the part. It is tiring; managing my internal state. I hate everyone for having a good time. I am jealous. I can’t hear what anyone is saying, I can’t focus on anything other than pretending that I do not have thoughts racing through my mind. Sometimes I leave and I cry. These days I simply avoid social events. 

When I am in the car with other people my mouth turns dry and my thoughts start to race. The others are having fun and I hate them for it. I spend the whole trip trying to keep my hatred inside and I focus on changing my voice so they can’t hear my anger. 

At work, if I become stressed, I ignore the stress signals and I push harder. I do not speak up. I do not ask for help. I put on a fake smile, I ignore the racing thoughts and my colleagues tell me I should speak up. But my voice won’t come. I can’t string the words together to ask for help. My work is jumbled, just like my head. I wake up in the middle of the night, feeling nauseous. I can’t concentrate because of the racing thoughts. I cry. I cry in bed. I cry in the shower. Someone accidentally gives me a fright, and I cry. I am driving, and I start to cry. I hold the steering wheel and I howl at the highway, “I want to go home!” I imagine swerving the car at 100km’s an hour. 

I am lucky because I have a supportive partner. I have not told my family or friends, but they support me with anxiety and depression. Sometimes I want to tell them, sometimes I want to explain what my body is doing, but, right now, I do not want to tell them I was raped. 

I have a therapist who has helped me to see how my system is stuck in a loop. Yesterday I cried and cried, and I let out my anger. I am going to learn how to turn towards the part of me that is asking for my attention. I don’t know how to do this yet because I have been ignoring that part for 18 years. I’m in a habit of turning away from it. I don’t know what to do with that part of me, so I ignore it. The therapist tells me he will help me to learn what to do with it. 

I remember when I was in my twenties and visiting my home town, I walked past you. You were sitting on the ground. I am pleased that you were on the ground, lower than me. You looked like a child. We made eye contact. It confirmed everything for me. You are nothing.

Shared Stories


By an Anonymous Contributor

Not today, but soon.

Soon my body, mind and spirit will come together again. 

I will be strong and fierce and free. 

I will rise up and be renewed, become new like a Phoenix rising up out of the flames. 

The flames of hurt, abuse, betrayal, unknowing, what-ifs. 

I will become who I am meant to be, beyond my expectations and I will rise, no, I will soar. I am worthy to fly free, like the birds of the sky who find home in the safety of the trees.

Shared Stories

“Part of me didn’t believe you could be raped by a boyfriend.”

By Anya

I do not remember the first time I had sex, at the time I didn’t think much of it, we’d only met a couple of weeks beforehand but by the night I lost my virginity I was already so sure I wanted you. I told myself that time that it was okay, that maybe I didn’t seem drunk.

But looking back now maybe I should have realized then that you had no self control.

The second time it happened, it was the night, it was Brighton Pride, and a day that is supposed to be about love and kindness. A day that we spent surrounded by friends. It was a good day. And an awful night.

In the day, we drank, we laughed, we drank some more. 

In the night. I remember getting a taxi to your house, being so tired and tipsy that I kept tripping up your staircase. I remember going to lie down on your mum’s bed she was away and who can climb a ladder to a loft when you can’t even walk up a staircase.

I remember waking up to you inside of me, trying to push you off, and you holding me down as a response, me saying no repeatedly and being ignored. After it happened I remember pushing you off me and sprinting over to your little brother’s child-size car shaped bed and crying.

I remember you coming over, in tears crying and apologizing, shortly after that I remember hugging you to make you feel better about it like somehow it was my responsibility to make you feel like less of an awful human being. Forgiving you meant that things could go back to the way they were, that waking up with you inside me didn’t have to mean anything, because if you knew it was wrong and you loved me, you couldn’t have meant to do it. 

After that, we didn’t stop having sex, and I can’t say that I never enjoyed sex again with you because that would be a lie. But after that during sex, there were times, too many times, when I would feel scared suddenly, and the worst part of it was that I didn’t know why. It took me months to realize that the reason I felt like that, was because the human body can associate certain feelings with memories, they will linger in your brain even if you pretend those memories didn’t happen. 

We broke up before I could ever talk about how I sometimes felt during sex, mostly because I was still in denial. Part of me didn’t believe you could be raped by a boyfriend, by someone you love, by someone who you still fucked, still wanted to fuck, by someone who could on occasion make you cum. My idea of the rapist was the guy who attacks you on the street. We are told to fear that type of rapist, that it is that man that you need to protect yourself from, to be vigilant toward, that men that hide in the shadows are bad, and they are. But so are the friends we trust to look after us, and the boys we assume love us enough to not harm us, the adults we put our trust into and the family who should never want to harm us. We are told with those boys can be excused, are to be forgiven because they can’t control themselves. But the truth we all know is that this is untrue, they can. 

If I fall asleep at my boyfriend’s house, too drunk to go up a ladder, is it too much to assume that someone who loves me can love me enough not to violate me, to have that level of self-control.

That’s what I think about. 

Do you still think about it like I have to?

And if you do, what do you think about?

Do you like me wonder what your mum would think if she knew what you did to me on her bed? What she would think about the fact I cried myself to sleep on her 4-year-olds mattress?

Shared Stories

“I came out 100 times stronger”

By an Anonymous Contributor

He hit me at the back of my head and stripped off my panties because I didn’t want sex, he humiliated me just because of me wanting some cuddling, he put his hands in my panties in front of my apartment me being totally shocked, he came into my house as my roommate opened the door, me being sick and lying mentally totally devastated in bed because of him he raped me, he got really aggressive being in a boat with me and a friend of mine knowing that I can’t swim!! And now – ten years later – I have realized that he was totally abusive, totally aggressive and probably a narcissistic sick person….

But now I came out 100 times stronger, writing an autobiography and finding a technique helping traumatized women to heal…

Shared Stories

Your Apology Means Nothing

By Brooke

I used to get excited when you’d come visit me at work. The best part of my day was making your coffee.

My ears would perk up when I heard the sound of your loud mustang coming around the corner. Now, all I do is flinch. 

When I imagined us being alone together, I didn’t envision the worst moment of my life. I didn’t envision you’d keep going when I told you I wanted to slow down. I didn’t envision you’d say, “you’ll be fine” when I asked you to stop. I didn’t envision you pinning me down when I fought you off. I didn’t envision my first time to be with my rapist. 

Once you finished, I was too ashamed to confront you about what you’d done…but you knew. When I said my brother would be home soon and that you should leave, you jumped too quickly at the opportunity to run away. 

Did you even leave feeling bad?

I found myself lost, with no answers. 

My brother found me drunk on the floor. 

You sent me down a path of silent self destruction that has taken me years to dig myself out of. But I’m still digging.

I ran away from the community I thought would judge me. 

I ran away from a healthy relationship.

I ran away from facing the fact that I was a victim. 

Seeing you drive by on your way to work was a daily reminder of the things I’d lost. My innocence, my trust, my love for my body, my faith, and the person I used to be. I was merely a shell of the person I was before I met you. 

Then you had the nerve to come visit me at work a year later. I fought back tears when I turned around and saw your face. You ordered a coffee and acted like we were old friends catching up. 

Did you not notice me shaking? 

Did you think the $43 tip you left me was a good enough apology? 

Or was the Facebook message you sent me after you left, apologizing for what you’d done, enough to make up for ruining my life? 

I’m glad you think, “karma got you for that one”. 

How dare you say apologizing to me is your New Years resolution. 

You don’t get to move on from this feeling you’ve washed your hands of guilt because of a vague apology for “the things you did to me” and cash. 

I’ll never be washed of the scars you left. I’ll never feel clean after how dirty you made me feel. I’ll never be free of the triggers that pop up when my boyfriend touches me. 

Your apology means nothing.

Shared Stories

“‘Not guilty’ – isn’t really something I’m willing to settle for.”

By Rosanna

Having the worst experience of my life and a three-year long fight for some semblance of justice condensed into a 243-word article and reduced to two words – ‘not guilty’ – isn’t really something I’m willing to settle for. This article does not get to be the final version of events. I will not settle for being an ‘alleged victim’. This ruling hasn’t changed what happened or got rid of the trauma I have had to and will continue to have to live with.

The 14th October 2016 is a date that I’m not going to forget any time soon. I reported what happened 10 days after the incident. What this article doesn’t tell you is that I was likely suffering symptoms of PTSD in the week following so was unable to even talk about what had happened, let alone go to the police about it. 

It doesn’t tell you that I first testified via video link in October 2018, alone, from the spare room in my granny’s house without any immediate support to hand. It doesn’t tell you that I felt such a sense of relief after it was finished, that the whole ordeal was over, and I wouldn’t have to go through it again. Or how I felt that in that instance I’d been given space to speak the truth about what had happened and could begin to heal. 

It doesn’t tell you that because of the prosecutor’s incompetence (using a previous complaint against the perpetrator as evidence – something which is not allowed in court) the case was ruled a ‘mistrial’ and a retrial was ordered.

October 2019, and I testified for the second time, over three years after the incident took place. This time with a different jury and a different prosecutor, and yet with the same defence lawyer who had cross-examined me the previous year. Hm.  

This time there was no sense of relief after it had taken place. It was every bit the archetypal rape trial that you watch on crime dramas thinking ‘there’s no way it is that bad in real life’ when actually it is far worse. You are living with the trauma of what happened and are trying to convey that in a short amount of time under intense questioning to a group of strangers who come with their own set of prejudices and biases. Add to this me being able to clearly see the defence lawyer’s assistant laughing and making jokes while I was giving my testimony and it’s safe to say that testifying round 2 was one of the most harrowing, gruelling experiences I have had to go through.

After three years of pushing and fighting, it broke me to find out that the person who did was found ‘not guilty’. 

It broke me to find out that text messages from him saying he was sorry were not even used in the final court case because the officers ‘were unable to extract these from my phone’, despite me being told in 2016 that they had been. 

It broke me when I was asked what I was wearing because that kind of question is exactly why rape culture exists. 

It broke me that after only an hour of deliberating, the jury unanimously reached a not guilty verdict. Not one of them believed me. Not. even. one. 

I am done with carrying this round like it is some shameful secret. I think the only way that this whole ordeal will have been even slightly ‘worth it’ is to share my experience and let others know just what it is like to battle with a court system where it feels like you have been set up to fail from the outset.

The article also doesn’t say anything about the utter devastation caused by rape and how I woke up on 15th October 2016 a completely different person than I had been previously. I was no longer able to teach. I no longer felt safe. I was no longer able to live in a place I was beginning to call home. I’ve since struggled with PTSD, anxiety and depression and have felt shame and guilt. Over three years have passed since it happened, and I still have to remind myself again and again that I may have put myself in an unsafe situation, but I did not deserve to be raped. The only shame lies with those who think it is acceptable to take advantage of another person’s vulnerability.  

The small glimmer of hope I have in all of this is faith that there is a God who sees all, and who hates injustice. There ain’t no hiding place from the father of creation. Holding on tight to that hope that the truth will come out in the end. 

Shared Stories

Please Don’t Say you Love me to Use me

By Grace

You were my first, and it moved way too fast. I remember that morning you rolled over pulled my pants down and tried. My body didn’t respond the way you wanted so you stopped. You never asked. I cried in the shower trying to process what you were thinking. Later you told me what happened in the middle of the night.

You never asked, you also never checked to see if I was awake. I was out cold when you put your hand down my pants and just because I moaned does not mean I was awake. I somehow managed to block the incident out. But as I sat there asking God if I should fight for you after we broke up. It hit me like a freight train. I cried, screamed , didn’t want to leave bed. Worse of all I wanted to be done with life.

You knew I grew up being abused how could you do this to me too. How could you say I love you after that? Part of me believes you do not even realize what happened. Part of me is afraid you actually know. In a way the multiple times I cried when you laid next to me should have be a sign something was wrong. It’s amazing how our brain can shield you from pain.

I hope you never say I love you to another woman until you actually do love her.

Shared Stories

“This was my first experience of drink spiking.”

By Lauren

I was out last night with my mum, only went for a couple of drinks, and wanted to show her a new night club in town, I had work the next day so I only had about 3 drinks in the first pub knowing I had to be awake for work.

We met a friend of my mums and what I thought a friend of mine was, he is almost 30 years older than me. About 6ft big build he is a ex army, I’ve seen him on nights out before… and have kissed due to being drunk. He asked for my number one night which I gave him… not wanting anything sexual with him. I put the kiss down to being drunk and maybe craving some attention. He asked me to go round to his place a number of occasions, I’ve politely declined each time… making excuses.

Anyway he decided to come to the new nightclub I wanted to show my mum. He didn’t try to kiss me at all.. I had one more drink in the night club which he had bought for me, and within half hour of this I felt extremely drunk.. I couldn’t see straight and my legs started to give way on me. I was throwing up constantly.

My mum saw me and new instantly someone had spiked me, at the time I wasn’t aware, I lost all concept of time and was very unsteady on my feet, at the time not realising I had been spiked mum and this 50 year old “friend” carried me home. He had been carrying my bag on him and helped through the door. I laid down on the sofa and he came and sat next to me. This is where I lost my ability to speak and ability to move. I knew what was happening but my body and speech weren’t co operating with my head, he started to try and touch me. He was attempting to put his hands down my trousers and was touching my breasts under my top. I felt so defeated and vulnerable that I couldn’t get out the speech to stop. I had not given any consent to this and didn’t want it to happen I know what his intentions were.

My mum didn’t see most of this as she assumed as well as myself he was just a family friend. I think it may have been him that spiked my drink but could not be sure. My mum helped me to bed. And then this “friend” comes in and lifts the covers asks me why I’m sleeping in my clothes and attempts to undo my Jean’s and tells me to get my pjs on. I attempted to move from the bed to get my pjs for the pure fact I wanted him to stop trying to take my clothes off. My mum came in and told me to get into bed it didn’t matter what I was wearing. I eventually fell asleep. It’s been constantly running round in my head about what would have happened if my mum wasn’t there and what he would have done to me. I feel to blame too because I didn’t have the ability to tell him to stop. Even though I did not give consent. I haven’t been able to tell my mum he was touching me as she would have felt like she failed as a safe-guarder. Even though she may know what was happening but felt just as vulnerable as myself due to his size and build.

This was an awful experience and the thoughts of what could have happend are sickening. 

This was my first experience of drink spiking. Its 24 hours after and I still feel ill.

I was going to report it but by the time I had realised I had been spiked it was the next day and assumed I was to blame.

Shared Stories

Being in a relationship does not equal consent

By K.A.Y

It took me years to realize I actually was a victim. I always knew what had happened wasn’t right, but a part of me had always blamed myself. Could it even be called rape when we were in a relationship? Doesn’t it mean I wanted it if he was my boyfriend? It took too long for someone to explain to me that none of that meant anything. The moment he had taken advantage of my drunken state, the moment he wrapped his hand around my throat, the moment he bite my neck, the moment he entered me while I did my best to mumble out a “no”, it changed from consent to assault. And god, I wish, I truly wish it had ended there. But no, he continued to stalk me for months. In person, online. I eventually stopped going to school. I couldn’t handle the fact that I had to walk the halls everyday looking at him. Eventually, my family decided it was in my best interest to move, and so now I live six hours away. And yet, I still look over my shoulder everywhere I go. I still am barely able to be intimate with the man I love. But I’m alive, and I share my story with others to advocate that being in a relationship DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL CONSENT. My body is my body, relationship or not.

Shared Stories

A letter to my ex boyfriend, who said he couldn’t live with the image of my rape.

By an Anonymous Contributor

My immediate reaction upon waking up in a co-worker’s bed, naked, sore, and confused, was that I had drunkenly cheated on you. I searched for my glasses, unable to make out where I was, got dressed, and left. 

It was the morning after a Christmas party and, once away from my co-worker, I tried to remember what had happened. 

The only memories I had was of being choked and moved about by him. I thought “why was the sex so rough?” 

I’d never had sex like that.

Still, blaming myself for being drunk, and not knowing if I had tried to fight him off or if I had verbally expressed that I did not consent, I saw it as something I had sole responsibility for. I shouldn’t have been so drunk that I didn’t know what was happening.

I called you that day to tell you what had happened, leaving out the details of the choking, and not telling you that I knew I had been sodomised. I wasn’t ready to face what had happened to me, and I wasn’t ready to be labelled a victim. 

I told you that I had gotten drunk to the point of being unable to walk, and that I had woken up naked in bed with a co-worker I hadn’t even spoken to during the Christmas party. I told you that I couldn’t remember putting up a fight. 

You broke up with me, saying that this was something I had to live with. I accepted that. It was my fault for getting drunk, I thought. 

After talking about it to a friend, I realised that I should not be ashamed to label myself a victim. What happened to me was not my fault, I was in no position to consent. 

I called you again, to tell you what had really happened that night. You knew that anal sex was something I never would have consented to. You said that you believed me and that you were sorry. 

You said that you wanted to get back together, but that you couldn’t look at me without the image of me being raped plaguing you. You said the image of me being raped had changed how you saw me.

You told me: “It makes me feel sick to know that some other guy has fucked you”. I protested, it wasn’t my fault that I had been taken advantage of. I hadn’t consented. 

“I know, but you’ve got to understand that this is hard for me.”

I couldn’t believe what you were saying. Hard for you? I lost everything that night because I had drank too much and took a taxi back with a co-worker. 

Hard for you? Imagine having to face your rapist every day because you can’t afford to quit your job. 

Imagine how you would feel if I had told you that I couldn’t love you now that someone else had “fucked” you. 

I hate you for using that word. I was raped, not fucked

Shared Stories

“Today is the day that I take my life back.”

By an Anonymous Contributor

I was 14 my life changed dramatically. A complete stranger molested me he touched me with his filthy hands my innocent body which had never been touched by a man before. After that I developed bulimia and I was always anxious I was afraid of every man and I thought I was going to see his face in every corner. I felt isolated from my friends I did not have interest on going out anymore not even meet new people. I lost my trust in people.

Was 17 and something even worst happened. One boy who had previously hit on me pushed his knee inside my anus inside the classroom in front of everyone. It was a year later that I realized that he assaulted me and according to the definition of fbi he might had even raped me. I was afraid of close spaces and buses I thought everyone was touching me even if it was by accident I hated myself so much that I wanted to die.

Only now almost two years later I have forgiven myself and I have realized that none of these are my fault. All of these are their fault. Today is the day that I take my life back from them and I begin to love myself again.

Shared Stories

I would get nightmares about it and couldn’t concentrate in school.

By an Anonymous Contributor

I was 14 when this happened. It was on a Wednesday after school. My ex-boyfriend (I was friends with him) asked me to come over to his house to hangout. I asked if there was going to be anyone else and he said there were going to be his friends so I agreed to go. He walked me to his room.

When I got there, there was no one but just the two of us. He locked the door. I felt a little uncomfortable but I didn’t think anything was going to happen. Then he suddenly forced me to go on my knees and takes his penis out. I told him NO several times but he didn’t listen to me and shoved it in my mouth. I was choking and started hitting his legs as hard as I can. He soon took it out and slapped me really hard. I quickly stood up and tried to leave but he picked me up and thrown me on his bed. I was petrified. He then forced his fingers in my vagina and touched my breasts. He would slap me or hit me really hard if I tried to escape or scream. I was crying all I wanted to do was to leave. He then turned me over and forced his penis in my butthole I screamed and kicked and did everything I could to get away but nothing worked. Then after he let me go. I ran home crying my eyes out and told no one. I felt suffocated and scared.

I would get nightmares about it and couldn’t concentrate in school. The worst thing was that I had to see him every single day. He also told everyone in my class and all his friends that I sold myself to him and everyone started to call me a slut. I couldn’t do anything and felt helpless but I had 2 friends who didn’t know the truth as I told no one but didn’t believe him either. Till this day I have not told anyone about this but I thought I should share my story.

Shared Stories

“He was my cousin.”

By M.

He was my cousin. I was 5, and he was 16 or 17. We were in his house, with our parents on the floor below. He pulled me into his lap, with his arms around me so I couldn’t move or get away. I didn’t understand what was going on but I knew it was wrong. I told him “I don’t like it,” and he said “We did this all the time when you were little. You used to love it.” But I had no remembrance of that. All I knew was that my mother told me not to let anyone touch me below my hips or on my chest. I told him to stop but he kept touching me and I was terrified. When his brother walked in, I was relieved. I thought he would help. But he didn’t. He just told my cousin to let me go, and walked out. I don’t remember what happened after but I remember he eventually let me go. I remember scrambling out of his arms and running down the stairs to my mom. I didn’t cry or scream or shout. I just said “____ was touching me here,” while pointing to my body. “I told him to stop but he wouldn’t let me go.” And that’s when the memory ended. I blocked it out of my mind for so long but a few years ago, I remembered. I woke up from the nightmare and it all came rushing back. It explained everything. Why my chest tightened and my heart sped up whenever I was alone with an older man. Why I wondered if my friends’ dads were waiting to get me alone to hurt me. I knew my fears were probably just me being paranoid but I found out why. I am so angry and furious but I am also thankful, not to him, never to him. But to myself, for getting past it, and involving myself in movements to prevent sexual violence.

Shared Stories

“Blackmail and threats”

By an Anonymous Contributor 

I was 14 years old. I was dating my first boyfriend, and we were hanging out with the same group of people. No alcohol, no drugs, just a few kids playing basket and listening to music.

I had a fight with my boyfriend and we were missing a ball, so I offered to get one from my flat. This one guy offered to come with me. We were friends, I had known him for over a year.

In the building he asked to see a room in the garage where some people from our group sneak to make out. Showed him. No problem.

We got into the lift and he just took out his penis as started pushing my head down to suck him off. I didn’t want to. I said no. He kept insisting and pushing saying things like “You knew what we were coming here for”, “Don’t be a tease and finish what you started”, and the magic combination “Otherwise I will tell everyone you did it anyway and what a whore you are”.

I was 14 and I already seen what happened to the girls that got the “slut” tag on them, whatever real or not. It was always juicer to believe it was true.

I let him push it inside my mouth like 2 times then the lift ride was over. I was shaken by this. We walked inside my parents flat, took the ball, I took the stairs down and he acted like it never happened.

Funny thing, one day when I was 18-19, I got really drunk and could not stop crying. My friends and boyfriend were scared.

I woke up next morning and just remembered this. I don’t know how or when but at some point my mind blocked it.

I was with my boyfriend for 6 years and he was shocked when I told him this, asking why I never told him before. He even knew some of the people involved.

I just “forgot” all about it at some point, never remembered until that morning.

I felt ashamed and guilty, as I let him do it at the end, and except that morning that I remembered it I never told anyone else about it… it wasn’t until I was 24 that my little cousin was abused that I talked about it again… with her.

After that, I have became more familiar with the fact that he forced me with blackmail and threats into it, and that is also violence, but I still feel ashamed and worried someone will think it was on me. However I try to overcome it and discuss it to help the victim stigma go away.

Shared Stories

“I ask of you to live with what you’ve done, like I’ll try to survive it for many years to come.”

By Berenice 

My abuser managed to send me an email through the only address I hadn’t blocked him from. Shaken by this, I wasn’t sure how to respond. He begged me to answer, asked for forgiveness, told me of his pain and his nightmares. Answering him on my private address seemed too personal, too intimate for a criminal. Posting this here gives me the space to talk without feeling like I’m just addressing my demons directly. I’m also tired of private apologies when publicly he’s seen as a cool guy and I’m the liar. So this is what I wrote in return.

The most difficult thing for me was burying you.

Once I managed to get myself out of my hole of misery, once I was able to go out without wanting to die, once I could manage during the day, the nights and the terrors came.

It’s nice enough they waited that long.

Flashbacks mostly, and I can manage that. I’ve had them every day since early morning on the 2nd of July 2017. They come when I hear a particular breathing, they come when my closest friends surprise me from behind, when someone touches my neck or just when I hear too much noise.

They come when I think I see you in a crowd.

No the worst wasn’t the nightmares, the worst was the dreams. The dreams where you weren’t the abuser. When you were my friend, my soul mate comforting me because something bad had happened to me. The ones with solar hugs solving everything and nothing. The ones where I would wake up happier than I’d been for a long time, only to realise after a second that it wasn’t the case. You can’t imagine how fucked up it is to dream you get along with the man who raped you. To wish it so deeply in your heart. To cry in your shower because you miss your friend, cry out of anger because he decided to take that away from you.

Mourning the loss of you was and still is difficult.

I live with PTSD, I live with depression, I heal and every now and then it’s bad, but I always get back up and I’m fucking proud of what I’ve achieved and the fact that I survived.

Two weeks ago I went to a gig in Brixton and I thought I’d seen you.

I had to leave. I cried so hard because of the time I’m missing, because of the many spaces you’ve taken away from me, because sometimes I’m weak. But this is nothing compared to being in class, surrounded by all those people who don’t know the old B, who don’t know what happened either and I have a panic attack right there and then because the name of an old friend I thought was dead appeared in my email.

You’re a persistent ghost, and I think you will always be with me whether I want it or not.

I live my life running away from any proof you still exist because I can’t bear to understand the truth: the one I once loved so deeply destroyed me with nothing but his will against mine, empty promises, and a shit load of fucking lies. And if I want to respect myself and survive, I can never see him again.

Plato said we’re just all halves of a whole, roaming the Earth in search of our other half, and although in moments of doubts I think ‘That’s it, I’ve found mine and he was so cruel to me I can never stand to see his face’, when I have hope..

When I have hope D, I don’t think of you.

When I think of a happy future, I don’t think of you.

When I think of love, I don’t think of you.

You’re the monster lurking in my darkest hours, you’re the friend I sometimes remember when I’m with others and we’re talking about uni, it’s bittersweet but I always keep it bland.

Even writing to you right now seems so surreal.

You belong to a life I was forced to leave behind, somewhere where I trusted people and most of all myself, somewhere where I didn’t need therapy and a support group to be sure I won’t end my life.

You ask if there is something you could do for me?

The worst is done and I’m not sure where this can go, but I think the best you could do is just wish me good luck. When I feel like I’m drowning, wish me the best.

In my first message to you, I asked you to please get some help, to educate yourself on consent and be sure never to do the same to another woman. I’m not sure you followed that.

Knowing you, you probably went in full denial until you were in too deep and were forced to accept reality. Maybe me pressing charges was that moment, if that’s the case, good, I intended it that way. It was never meant to hurt you like you hurt me and get revenge, that’s not who I am and you know it.

I’m never going to feel sorry for you, whether you’ve been through a lot or not.

This is not a contest but the difference between both of us is that you’re entirely guilty for the pain you’re feeling right now.

You’re also guilty for mine.

I ask of you to live with what you’ve done, like I’ll try to survive it for many years to come.

I ask of you never to do the same to someone else.

I ask of you to leave me be, doing it without you is now the only way.