30, female


My first year at college, I really liked this guy who was in a fraternity. I knew I was exploring new territory when I would go to the frat parties. The frat guys would black out all the windows, taping garbage sacks on them. I would walk into the party with a couple of new friends I met in my English class. The two girls I was with were also from small towns and we were excited for days before the frat party. The guy I liked was there with his friends and I thought I was so lucky to get his attention. He took me to his room that had a couch underneath a loft bunk and we talked all night. Occasionally he would leave to get another drink. At the end of the night my legs were on his, and he was stroking them gently, but he didn’t go any further. The sun was coming up and he asked if I was tired. I said I was and he interrupted leaning in to kiss me. He asked if he could see me again.  My heart was beating so fast that I remember not sleeping when I got back to my dorm room. That first night was perfect. He seemed perfect.  I didn’t see him for a couple of weeks but there was barely a minute that went by I didn’t think of him. One day I got an email from him, he said he had been so busy but was thinking about me constantly. He told me he got a new job with forestry and would be busy most of the summer but he would like to see me again. At the end of the semester he invited me to another party the frat house was having and he asked me to meet him at his friends apartment so we could go together. I was so excited I thought this could be the man of my dreams. I arrived at his friends place and he was alone. He asked me to sit down and got me a drink. When he came back with the drink, he leaned in and said he missed me, kissing me. It felt so nice. I remember him taking his jacket off and said we should hang out for a while before we go to the party. I felt so light headed after the drink, I wasn’t used to drinking. He put my legs onto his lap again and we started to make small talk. I remember talking about my classes and he started to take my stockings off, at first I didn’t think anything of it. But in an instant he was on top of me kissing me hard, and I told him no, that I wasn’t ready for what he wanted. I pushed him off of me and ran to the door. I forgot my keys and turned quickly and he was right behind me. He had grabbed my neck and asked me why I was teasing him like I was. I said I wasn’t teasing him, I said “I like you, but you’re moving too fast” and he gripped my neck tighter and through me towards the couch. I know that I was crying by this time, scared and struggling when I breathed, I really felt like I was going to pass out. He got on top of me again and put his fingers inside me and said that I need to loosen up a bit as he held me down. I felt so dizzy at this point, crying I needed to get back up. I couldn’t scream NO, loud enough it seemed, and we were alone. He had his pants down and was trying to get inside me when I called on all the strength I had to get off the floor and kick him off me. I ran to the counter, grabbed my keys, got out the door and ran down the hall of the apartment building to the door. He was right behind me and by the time I got to my car, as I got to the door he was there, fighting to hold the door open. He was telling me he was sorry and that I misunderstood him. I said I need to go. I got the door shut and drove off. My friends were calling me asking me why I wasn’t at the frat party and I told them I didn’t’ feel good. I sat in my car for about two hours and cried before I went into the dorm. Nobody seemed to be around when I went into the dorm, as I walked into my room. I grabbed my stuff and took the longest shower of my life.  A few days later I told my friends what happened and I thought for some reason they would blame me, but they didn’t. We found out who to talk to on campus and I filed a complaint against the guy. I consider myself pretty lucky in this situation, but I am still recovering. I haven’t enjoyed a guy during sex when he penetrates, but I’m trying to find a place where I can enjoy sex. I only saw the guy once on campus after the whole situation. Nothing ever really happened to him, since no one contacted me after the assault. I have had times when I hear of sexual violence on campus, have wanted to speak out, but I wasn’t raped, I went to him willingly. I am trying to just move on with my life.

32, Female


I was 4 years old when I first molested by an older relative. At first I didn’t know what was happening, for years I didn’t know how to articulate what even happened to me and so I was silent. Through elementary school, I would be haunted in my dreams about the feeling of silence and being isolated. During the day I remember feeling unclean and I would keep recalling the times I was molested, how I was held down sometimes and told not to speak. Sometimes it was dark and sometimes I was taken to a secluded area of the industrial area where we lived and I would be touched and have to touch, and sometimes it was worse.  When I was in middle school my dad’s friends would take notice of how I was developing and make fun of me. A few times we would travel in my dad’s pickup truck and because it was so crowded I would have to sit on the lap of one of these men. Whenever I sat on Randy’s lap, he would take hold of my hips and I would feel something grow beneath me.  I would be so scared that I couldn’t even speak. The men would laugh and Randy would push me around on his lap as he rubbed himself and my legs, hips and butt. I remember looking at my dad who wasn’t aware this was going on right in front of him, and I remember feeling so helpless , I couldn’t even speak.

It wasn’t until my twenties that I started to recall all these memories and more of my youth. I still have never talked to my family about the relative or Randy or the others. The older relative is in prison for other charges and Randy had died in a car accident years later.

I can’t be in a normal relationship. I don’t know how to be intimate with someone appropriately, I don’t know how to even start to really love. I can’t trust anyone. I’ve had a few relationships, but each one turned abusive. I’ve been beaten, raped and forced to perform sexual acts as an adult. I can’t get out, these are the guys who pay attention to me. Women don’t understand.

You’re the first person I’ve told.
I don't remember my age.
I don't remember how many times.
I just remember it was wrong,
That my step-father would do this to me.
No wonder he was the laid-back, easy going parent,
I started to trust him which lead to being violated.
I have hardly spoke about it,
I have tried to block it.
I want to help others.

Female, 20

they always asked me what happened to us, truth be told, we grew up

Female, 19 My Sister Tells me one night...

My sister tells me one night,
That she was raped.
Held down,
And raped by many.
Friends laugh,
Amongst her screams.
The pain reoccurs,
In her nightmares.
She stays strong,

*Female, 19, ND.


Dear Friends

I am so sorry that some you loved was hurt in that way. I’m sorry she’s not the same as she was. I am sorry you now are going to have to watch her morph into someone you have never met before and might lead you to thoughts of abandoning her because this is not something you signed up for. I am sorry you are going to be helpless as she struggles to pick up the pieces and I am sorry that you will witness her spiral out of control more than once.
To God, I am so sorry one of your children has tortured their sisters and brothers, forgive him, he knows not what he’s done.
To her family, most of the words are a little too tragic, suffice it to say I am so sorry for your loss and she is not gone, and your love inspires the suffering, you have kept her from disappearing.
To her closest friends I am so sorry you lost your friend for the past little while. That girl you could count on, who was innocent and fun loving and would do anything for you and never took herself too seriously… and I am sorry she was replaced, if even for a short time, by a heartbroken entity with a cheerless expression. Who is reckless, and sometimes mean, who is mad at you for no reason, and accuses you of not understanding. Who is paranoid and scared. 
To the men who have courageously attempted to hold her hand and be with her. I am sorry she will struggle to trust you, I am sorry she will question your actions and shut you out while simultaneously clinging to you because for a moment she trusted you and that was an emotion that reminded her of when she was whole. It is not fair when you like a girl because you catch glimpses of her potential and her true self and you can’t wait to be with her, and then you find out that person you saw was only a memory of girl who use to be. I am sorry she will question herself with you, and then won’t be able to handle the self blame so inevitably she will blame you and then it won’t work out and you will just have to see her in passing months later, and you will still see the weight of her chains on her shoulders but you will be angry at her because she shut you out and was cold. Maybe when she’s able to trust again you can get coffee?
To anyone who has shared a bed or a room with her since then. I am sorry you had sleepless nights because her nightmares were loud, and scared you. I am sorry she kicked and screamed and clawed and I am sorry she woke up crying. It is not your fault she has those nightmares… it’s just too bad you have to deal with them. I am absolutely sure she was happy you were there because waking up alone during a nightmare crying to her-self is really really hard. 
On a brighter note, she will come back! I know she misses you, she misses herself… some days her heart gets so full and warm and she just wants to be around you, and be happy and be herself… her real self, on those days she cries because she is so thankful. She’s beginning to notice things that she hasn’t for awhile, Colors are brighter, she’s actually learning again… it has been years since she’s been interested in learning something. She is able to give support. It is incredible, really. It was not too long ago that she was bankrupt of her supply of feelings of sympathy or empathy… it was truly hard for her to see pain in the world, because her whole person was full of pain there was no room for any more pain. But now she’s actually healing… whole parts of her are healed! 
Of course there are still hard days, there are still pieces of her that are damaged and jaded, but she so thankful for you. 
She’s discovered she’s not alone in her suffering and in her fight; there are women around her who do understand. There are people who will fight for her… Just for her. Their strength is her inspiration and her strength is their motivation and it goes on. All together, they are force to be reckoned with… they cannot prevent bad things from ever happening to her or each other again, but they will claim with confidence and certainty that not a single one of them will ever feel that alone ever again… She is not alone. 
In closing, she’s like to remind you that you are with her Dear friends, yes even you who reads this and questions your part in her story; she has been thankful for you and has considered your actions, perhaps even more than you have. You give her strength Dear Friends, yes even you who knows your support has failed at times, who could not find the right words to say, an has even doubted her. You’re words, you’re actions, you’re embraces, and you’re absences. Remember that. You are with her. 

With love and respect, 
Your friend

An Irish Prayer:
May you see God's light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness
Never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
when the shadows fall—
You do not walk alone.


These are the underwear that I was wearing the night that I was sexually assaulted. I thought that they were cute and fun. I got them off of the clearance rack at Target for $1.75. 
That made me feel good.

The night that I was assaulted, a battle was fought over these underwear. The person who assaulted me was someone I had known for seven years. Someone I was fond of. Someone I trusted 100%. Someone that only hours earlier I had chatted with another woman in a bathroom about what a nice person he was. I thought maybe he might like her, and she might like him.

I had gone with a big group of friends to watch a band made up of several of my friends from high school. We had a great time. We got dressed up, we danced, we had a few drinks, we laughed, we sang along to our favorite songs.

I agreed to go watch a movie at the apartment of this friend, this person I liked, I trusted, I had known for seven years. When he pressed his weight against me on the couch a few minutes into the movie, when he kissed me forcefully, when he without warning pulled my shirt off my body while I struggled to keep it on I was taken off guard. I tried to slow things down, I told him I didn't want to rush anything, I told him I really valued our friendship but he didn't care. He began to determinedly undress me as I politely struggled to keep as many clothes on as possible. Because I trusted and liked and had known this person for so long I felt like this must be a mistake, that I must have created a misunderstanding. I had, after all, looked pretty that evening. I had danced and smiled and laughed and worn a skirt and agreed to watch a movie and greeted him enthusiastically at the concert.

When he finally got me down to my underwear, it became a battle. I felt like if I could just focus on keeping them on, I would be okay. I remember sliding back and sliding back away from him until I was all crammed up in a corner of the room with nowhere left to retreat to. I remember that all of the friction of him trying to take the underwear off of me and me trying to keep them on made the lace irritate my skin. It kept running and running through my mind that I couldn't be rude because I had looked pretty and laughed and smiled and worn a skirt and been happy to see him and agreed to watch a movie and he was my friend and I trusted him and liked him and had known him for seven years. He finally got frustrated and penetrated me with the underwear on. They hadn't kept me safe. I remember the lace rubbing and rubbing the skin raw and it was so painful and I felt so defeated. I remember saying "Please, don't do this" and the blank look on his face as he continued anyway.

It has been four years since I was sexually assaulted and I can't let go of these underwear. I got them for $1.75 at Target and that made me feel so good. I gave up laughing and dancing and singing along and smiling and being friendly and wearing skirts and being happy and greeting people with enthusiasm and agreeing to watch movies and trusting long-time friends but I can't give up these underwear. I feel like if I can just focus on not letting them become another thing that is taken away from me I will be okay.

Female. Age: 20. North Dakota.

The day started like any ordinary school day. I had my usual morning classes, and was as happy as can be, then lunch time came. I was standing at a corner, talking to a teacher of mine whom was on hall duty at that time. While we were talking, a boy approached me and told me to follow him. At first I really didn't know where we were going, but when I asked him, he told me that we were going out for lunch. When we got to where we were "having lunch" he took my hand, and gently guided me to the men's bathroom in the back. By this time I really did not know what was about to happen. I was really hesitant to go in there, but he assure me that everything would be fine. He touched, kissed, and put his hands in places where they should not be. He even tried to get me to get me to do something that I was very uncomfortable with doing. I knew right then and there that I needed to get out of that bathroom as soon as possible. So I begged and pleaded with him to try to get him to stop, but he kept saying "we'll go in a little bit." It was getting be a really long time in there, and I knew we were really late for getting back to class. After begging him one more time to let me at least go look at the time, he let me. I found out that we were 5-10 minutes past our time allotted for lunch, so we left. On the way back he made me promise two things: that we were going to "do it" the next day, and that I was not going to tell anyone about what had just happened. Instead, I was to tell the teacher that our order ran late. My body and voice agreed with him, but my mind was telling me that I HAD to tell someone, I could not let him get away with what he did to me. So my first instinct was to find the nearest room, pull a teacher outside of the room, and tell them exactly what had just happened. Afterward, she contacted the principal, whom had contacted the police and my parents. I knew then, that something was going to be done. They were not going to let him get away from the emotional damage that he had done to me.

happened again.

it happened again.
another dude, same story.
woke up naked this morning, thinking i was having a nightmare about kicking someone away who was trying to get on me. 
then i realized it was actually happening.
as soon as i got him off me, i realized that i had no idea how i'd gotten there.
didn't remember his name.
didn't remember wanting to hook up at all, especially not with him.
didn't remember any part of hooking up with him.

so i told him that. he got dressed, went outside for awhile, probably to figure out a story, 
came back and crawled back into bed with me.
kept trying to sneak a peek at my tits, commented on how great and huge they are.
made jokes about it.
told me not to worry about it because i had fun.
claimed he had gotten me off...twice.
claimed he didn't remember having sex and doubted that it worked if we did.
said whiskey dick is his great protection.

i told him i was getting plan b. he paid me $25 for half.
i told him that if i do end up pregnant, i'll get an abortion.
he said he's anti-abortion.
but that it won't matter anyway because he didn't remember coming in me.
asked me why i was so freaked out.

because i'm naked next to a man who i barely know and i don't know how i got here.
because this doesn't stop happening to me.
because i know i'm not attracted to you and i think you know it too.
because blackout means no consent means rape. again.

she was raped numerous times by numerous different men.
assaulted more than she even realizes or remembers.
that was her life.
that was her whole god-damned life.
rape after assault after blackout rape.

didn't remember until later that one of the douchebags who was talking to us at the bar bought me a shot shortly before we left.
he thought he'd be taking me home.
i think the complete blackout happened within a half hour of taking that shot.
but then again, i have no idea.
waste of a drink for him, worked out okay for the other guy.

the other guy who referred to me as 'beautiful' and 'baby' this morning.
the other guy who said that since we'd already paid for the plan b, we might as well just fuck b/c at least it's taken care of.
that or 'give me a beej.' yup, a beej!
i chose the beej. i have no idea why i let him hook up with me again.
he just kept persisting, kept kissing me, looking into my eyes.
it wasn't like i fell for his 'sensitivity' as much as wanted to get it over with so he'd leave me alone.
and sure enough, as soon as he finished, it was time for him to go.

i asked him not to tell anyone, especially not someone we both know.
he said he'd tell whoever he wanted, and that he'd definitely tell old so-and-so.
please don't. i'll kill you!
you can be mad but that ain't gonna change anything. i'll tell whoever i want.

i feel so 

i want to be rescued, whisked away and told that everything will be okay.
i want everything to be okay.
i want this to never, ever happen again.
i want to be able to go out and not worry that i'll get raped at the end of the night.

is that so much to ask?

what do i have to do to avoid this?
where do i run?
who do i trust?
how do i surround myself with good guys instead of assholes?
how do i tell the assholes that i'm not.at.all interested?

but i feel like i did that. even this morning, i told him i knew i hadn't wanted it.
oh baby, don't worry about it. you had fun.
what do you remember?
i remember your great tits, i remember getting you off, i remember getting naked. i remember wanting to fuck you so hard. 
but you don't remember fucking me?
ahh, no? and i don't see any cum on the sheets, so it looks like i'm right. 
right. quit touching me.
but baby, you're so beautiful. i just gotta touch you.

((there was cum on the sheets. and the comforter. that was my favorite blanket, you dick. not even the common courtesy to clean up after you rape a girl who won't remember. fuck you.))

i didn't dress slutty. i didn't lead him on. i didn't invite him to bed with me. a friend told me today that i asked for help but she didn't know what to do, so she didn't come in to the room. i remembered later today that i tried to keep my underwear on. i didn't promise him anything, didn't pursue him, didn't make myself available. i talked to him for awhile. laughed at his jokes. let him and his buddy tease me. i didn't get bombed on purpose. didn't take tons of shots. didn't dance provocatively. i didn't latch onto his group of friends, didn't invite them over, wasn't even overly nice to him. i tolerated him. and somehow that was enough for him to welcome himself into my room, onto me, into me. i wasn't nice to him this morning. i wish i could stop myself from laughing when i'm uncomfortable, but i can't yet. so i laughed too much. after i told him i wasn't interested. but the laugh was enough for him to think it was okay to try and titty-fuck me so he'd have another story for his buddies. whatever, do what you want, i'm this broken piece of shit trying not to piss you off after you took full advantage of me. slander my name, call me a slut, blame me for being the drunk girl who really needs to invest in some birth control. you know, so that the next time someone feeds me a killer shot at bar-close and you follow me home, you can fuck me without having to pay me the next morning. it'd really be much more convenient for you if i quit resisting too, wouldn't it? just give in, you'll like it. just let me do this.

i feel like i'm never going to get out of this cycle. like i'm not safe anywhere. like this is the rest of my life and i'll be 80 and still talking through my experiences at a sexual assault survivors group. and people will cry because of how sad and hard my long life has been. because 60 years of rape, that's a long time. but that's what the road ahead is starting to look like. trying to sort out whose cum is on my blanket, when my last period was, whether i should get std tests now or just wait a few weeks for the next time it happens and save myself some money. i mean, how do i become a strong survivor when i'm still a fucking victim? once is too many times for this to have happened. and now it's numerous times? how did this happen to me? who have i become?? if last night had been the only time, i'd still be going crazy. but what's awful is that last night is more reflective of my sexual history than a healthy night would have been. will i ever get to experience fully satisfying, healthy sex with someone who actually loves me? what do i have to do to be able to deserve that?

god, i feel dead. like there's a huge part of me that is shriveled up and dead, and it's sucking the life out of all my healthy parts. like i'm in the tomb. easter is coming up, but it doesn't feel real. death is real. this emptiness is real. will i ever know what it's like to be resurrected? to be fully alive? that part is so hard to believe. it feels fake. all the celebration, the alleluias, the praise...it feels temporary. like this is a great morning and we'll all cheer, but night time is coming sooner than we might think. and tomorrow morning we'll be one day further away from knowing the truth. we'll be one day closer to good friday happening again. i know there's light in the midst of this pain, god, but is it enough? maybe i need more than the hope that someday things will be better. but how?

wake me up, god. shake me out of it. i don't always feel this way. let me remember that. 
breathe some real, fulfilling, nurturing life into me. quickly...

My Baggage

My Baggage
Ok so I don’t really know how to start this… I’m not really good at writing about my feelings and stuff but here it goes.  I’m a happily married 30 year old woman from New York. My stories definitely still affect me today and I am so lucky to have a loving and compassionate husband that is so patient with me as I am still trying to heal from these emotional wounds. 

My first incident happened when I was 9. My parents and I used to go to my grandparents house every week. My parents would usually sit in the kitchen with grandma and chat while grandpa would make me hang out with him in the living room. He was actually my step-grandfather. He had one of those electronic voice boxes because he had had throat cancer. (There’s a radio ad about smoking that has one of those voices. It drives me crazy; I have to leave the room when it’s on.) Grandpa would always have me sit on his lap in his favorite chair. At first I don’t think I really understood what was going on. He would fondle my early developed chest and sometimes other parts. For a long time I blocked it out, just kind of went to a different place in my head when it was happening. About nine months into it, my parents started noticing something was up. Every time they said we were going to grandma and grandpa’s house I didn’t want to go. And when we got there I would try to stay near my parents as much as I could. Finally, one day, my parents confronted me about it. They asked me what was wrong and why I never wanted to go there anymore. I just started crying. I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want to start any trouble. They kept telling me it was ok and I could talk about it so I finally did. I was so scared of getting in trouble and what was going to happen next? My parents completely believed me and comforted me, telling me it wasn’t my fault and I did the right thing by telling them. So my mom made the phone call to tell grandma… it didn’t go so well. She didn’t believe my mom. Grandma said that kids nowadays are learning about sex ed and have creative imaginations. My mom implied to her that she should leave him. Her reaction was “Where would I go” and she hung up. So that was it, we weren’t seeing them anymore. My parents decided not to press charges because they didn’t want me to have to go to court and retell what had happened. We heard that grandpa died some years later. We didn’t care. In 2004, my grandmother was sick in the hospital and she had asked to see me. My mom said it was my decision if I wanted to go or not. I didn’t really know what she wanted but knowing that she wasn’t doing well, I decided to go. She told me that she had believed me and she was sorry for not doing anything about it. It was very emotional but I forgave her. A few days later she died.

All throughout middle school, high school and even into my early 20s I’ve struggled with depression and self esteem issues. I’ve always been overweight and hated the way I look. After losing my virginity to a cheating loser that I thought I loved for two years, I started to become a little promiscuous. I feIt empty inside. I would meet guys at bars or through other friends and just go home with them. I didn’t even care about the sex itself, most of the time I was bored. But in that moment I felt like that guy cared about me. In my head, sex = love. It took me years to realize I was completely wrong. I always talked openly with my friends about sex. I was the girl that liked to go to adult stores and buy toys and movies and guys seemed to love it. And that brings me to the second incident.

One night I went out bar hopping with my store manager, Jen. We were all around the same age at the clothing store I worked at. We went to her hometown so I didn’t really know the area or the people. We were having a good time dancing, mingling and drinking. Jen decided to introduce me to one of her guy friends; they called him “Pimp.” Apparently she thought we’d get along because we were both interested in porn. I was too drunk to really be interested in meeting him. I said hi and awkwardly talked about Jenna Jameson for a minute but that was it, then I was back at Jen’s side mingling. It was about closing time so Jen invited a few people back to her apartment. I planned on staying there since I lived 45 minutes away and of course I was way too drunk to drive. We all hung out at the apartment for a bit, drinking some more. I was exhausted and just wanted to crash on the couch so I was happy when people started to leave. The living room had a large wrap around couch that you could fit one person on each end so apparently “Pimp” was crashing here too. Jen and her roommate went upstairs to their bedrooms and we were alone. I lied down and he got closer to me. He started caressing my leg. I pushed his hand away and said, “Dude, I’m really tired. I just want to go to sleep.” He was like “Come on, we both like sex so let’s just do it.” I was not interested. He kept saying “come on” while touching me. I was seriously on the verge of passing out. He proceeded to take my pants and underwear off. I kept saying no and trying to push him away but I had no strength. I could barely keep my eyes open. He put a condom on and had sex with me. When he was done he just went to the other side of the couch and went to sleep. The next morning Jen’s roommate noticed the used condom in the trash and made some joking comment about us sleeping together. I didn’t say anything. After an awkward breakfast with everyone I went home and never spoke about it. When I thought about it, it was just another notch in my bedpost. I was already being promiscuous so this was my fault. Years later I realized that it was a form of rape and it wasn’t my fault. A little while after that I was just completely not interested in sex.

I feel that the promiscuity and depression was a result of the molestation. I still have nightmares sometimes. Like I said before, all this still affects my life today. I love my husband with all my heart but sometimes sex is the last thing on earth that I want. I know all he wants is to express his love and I know it’s hard for him when I turn him down. Sometimes the slightest touch makes me so uncomfortable that I feel like I need to get away. It’s hard for him to understand how I feel but he is trying and I am very lucky to have him in my life. I never went to therapy for any of this but I’m hoping that one day I will be comfortable enough to go.