sexual assault

‘My boss said, ‘You’re a liability due to your health issues.’ I felt like I’d lost my purpose. I didn’t think I’d make it.’: Child abuse survivor, chronic illness warrior births child with down syndrome, ‘I WILL be the mother my kids deserve’

“We were told, ‘Your daughter has Down syndrome and will need heart surgery.’ I was urged to have an abortion, due to my own health issues. Everyone doubted my ability to be a mother to a special needs child. I was determined to prove everyone wrong.”

‘Something hard cracked over the back of my head. I could feel his fingers on my neck, checking for a pulse to see if he’d just committed murder.’: After surviving domestic abuse woman says ‘don’t stand by in silence’

“I woke up that morning and I just felt this bad feeling. I felt a searing pain. I remember dropping to my knees, the cat taking off, and my bag going flying. As darkness was taking over, I felt my body being flipped around. The last thing I saw before everything went black were C’s eyes looking down at me. It was my own personal horror story.”

‘I was 13 when an older friend said, ‘I’m out of condoms but it’s fine, I know what I’m doing.’ I believed him.’: Woman says the key to a healthy sex life after a ‘past’ is communication

“At 13, I began to let boys put their hands on my sacred spaces, but my permission still didn’t gain their respect. I was just a goal conquered as he walked past the football team. I saw the smirks and yet I continued to endure the degrading behavior. Sex is so much more sacred than mankind has treated it.”

‘We cry in the car until we can’t breathe. We suck it up, smile. We hug our babies tight, because we could never imagine someone beating them repeatedly.’: Woman shares harsh reality of social work, ‘Next time you see a social worker, tell them thank you’

“‘All social workers are is baby snatchers.’ It’s dealing with the 5-month pregnant momma who just relapsed on meth. It’s talking to the girl molested from ages 3-15. It’s losing your client to suicide. Listening to the 17-year-old who was kicked out and has nowhere to live, or the widow who lost her husband of 50 years and doesn’t know how to live again. It’s crying when your client finally says, ‘I am beautiful, I am loved, I am enough.'”

‘I woke up with a large man on top of me. ‘Had I been assaulted, or was it my fault?’ I left the room, grabbed my baby.’: Woman quits drinking for her daughter, ‘I was able to love in a healthy way and be the best mom I could be’

“I went to a party up the street. I somehow made it home, brought a guy with me, and my body became an object. I remember my mom coming down and demanding the guy leave, and as it was happening, the house was getting robbed. I played the victim. I went to work while my family was left to deal with the mess. I had a beautiful baby girl and still, this did not stop me. I was physically taking care of my baby and bathing, feeding, and caring for her. But did I really care? Those words are haunting.”

‘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.”

‘Will I look like him?’ The plane landed. Instant panic struck. My parents never wanted me to find out about him.’: Woman ‘finally complete’ after emotional reunion with biological father, ‘He’s the piece I’ve always been missing’

“I lost my adoptive father and mother only 2 weeks before. Between all the madness, I finally found my biological father. I was told he was ‘the town drunk.’ I was never supposed to know he existed. I heard the plane fly over the dark sky. My stomach suddenly dropped. ‘Please remain seated,’ the pilot announced. I took a deep breath and turned my teary eyes. An average height man locked his blue eyes on mine. Both our smiles began to rise. This was the moment I’d dreamt of my entire life.”

‘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.”

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