sexual assault survivor

‘What will you tell your kids? They look trashy.’ I’ll tell them what my tattoos mean to me.’: After lupus diagnosis, sexual assault survivor uses to tattoos to ‘help me reclaim myself’

“Unsolicited, I have been ‘advised’ on my body art. I’ve been asked, in horror, ‘What will you tell your kids?’ I’ll tell them what my tattoos mean to me, and when they’re older, they can get tattoos if they want them. ‘You’re inviting people to judge you.’ Actually no, I’m not. ‘Can you get a job with those?’ Firstly, none of your business. Secondly, yes. Then there are the people who find my tattoos TOO appealing. ‘Where ELSE are you inked?’ ‘So, you like pain, huh?’ ‘Wanna see MY tattoo?’ Seriously, be less sleazy.”

‘You’re going to do exactly what I tell you.’ He grabbed my throat. The devil was staring me in the face. Fear washed over my body.’: Young woman survives sexual assault in woods, ‘I refuse to hide. I need others to know they aren’t alone’

“A boat was pulling up, and two guys were inside. They said, ‘Who is this?’ I was confused. He was locking up his truck and his friends told him to hurry the hell up. He responded, ‘Hey at least I brought you guys some tail.’ My stomach sank, my heart started to race. I had recently been told I overreact…was this just an overreaction to a dumb joke? I went in the tent to grab a shirt because I was freezing. He followed me in and starting kissing me. My ‘no’ didn’t matter. I burst into tears. He looked at me with disgust. ‘I don’t like your attitude.’”

‘I’m 14, alone with a boy. ‘What if you had sex with me?’ He leers. ‘No thanks.’ ‘What if I held you down and made you?’: Survivor advocates for fellow survivors of the Me Too Movement, ‘Culture tells us not to complain. To keep quiet.’

“I’m 17, and I have a long-distance boyfriend. He begs me for phone sex and I say no. ‘I’m sorry, I’m just not comfortable.’ I hang up on him, feeling guilty. He’s lonely in the Marine barracks. I’m all he has. He needs me. He suffers from depression, self-harm. A few nights later, I pause on the phone. I hear his heavy breathing, muffled moans. ‘Are you…?’ I ask. ‘Don’t stop. Keep talking,’ he pants. Feeling sick, I hang up the phone. I feel dirty and embarrassed. ‘Men will only go as far as you let them,’ I’ve been told. Boys will be boys.”

‘Shut up. Just let me finish.’ I lay there, weak, my best friend’s hand over my mouth.’: After years of denial, sexual abuse survivor accepts it wasn’t her fault

“I’ll never forget his words. There were no warning signs. No grooming. I remember wanting to scream, but not feeling like I could talk, so I made a mumbling noise. I didn’t want my body. I wanted to take it off like a jacket, but I couldn’t. I woke up the next morning with a huge bump on my head, my underwear backwards. I never wanted to be the girl who was raped.”

‘It was a long time ago. Get over it!’ I was the victim. I thought my family would hold me. Instead, I was blamed.’: Woman admits brother’s sexual abuse, ‘forgiveness doesn’t mean you must have a relationship with your abuser’

“I sent my brother an email. ‘I was a wake last night.’ He never came into my bedroom at night again. When it came time for my wedding years later, my mom insisted I do things ‘her way.’ She wanted my brother to stand beside my husband. We danced around it, but nothing worked. I had to tell her what my brother did to me. ‘How could you do this to us? You’re tearing our family apart,’ I was told. For years, I tried to navigate this deep, dark pit and find light. She threw me back into the dirt.”

‘You should’ve just killed yourself and got it over with.’ My gym teacher caught me in the girl’s bathroom. I was the talk of the school.’: Teen mom overcomes bullying, sexual assault, ‘I’m learning to love myself in a way I never have’

“I was so tired of being the ‘fat friend.’ I started getting up at 5 a.m. to do my hair and makeup. I bought ‘promiscuous’ clothing and dropped to a size 0. When I was sent away to rehab for not eating, it took my so-called ‘friends’ over a year and a half to even notice I was gone. I could feel that something was still missing in my life, but I didn’t know what.”

‘I was an intern. He was the manager. I was in his home with his wife and kids. He knew what he did was wrong, but that he could get away with it. That same year, the unthinkable happened.’

“I didn’t know what to say or do. I was frozen. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t concentrate. My mind pretended like it never happened. I felt like I couldn’t ‘risk my career’ by speaking up, so I remained silent. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Just graduate and get a job.’”

‘WHO DID IT? Is it true?!’ My mom stormed into my room, filled with rage. I looked into her eyes, and lied.’: Rape survivor vows to protect daughter after generations of abuse, ‘she will not know this darkness, it stops now’

“My mom stormed into my room. ‘Is this true?’ Her face was red. Confused, I looked her in the eyes and lied. I really wanted her to know. For her to hug me and tell me it was okay. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized it wasn’t normal.”

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