sexual violence

‘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.”

‘He went quiet. ‘You’re out with who?!’ he snarled. Surprised by his reaction, I laughed. His anger grew. ‘Tell him to go home. Tell him to leave. Now.’ This must be my mistake, I thought.’

“As an insecure 18-year-old, it felt great that this older, successful man liked me. When he asked me to be his girlfriend only two weeks later, I was all in. I was so charmed by him. When I went upstairs to gather my things, he followed, blocking the front door. ‘You’re not going anywhere.’ He wouldn’t move. He wouldn’t let me leave.”

‘My dad was married and had an affair with my mom. I became the product of their affair.’: Woman overcomes childhood trauma, addiction, proclaims ‘I wear my story with pride – all of it!’

“On the outside, we looked normal. But behind closed doors, dark secrets hid. My younger sister woke up while it was happening. She said, ‘Daddy can you do that to me like you do to Shannon?’ He told her, ‘No it’s only for her.’ I was only in 4th grade and it tore me apart. I still hear and feel him breathing down my neck.”

‘This orange long-sleeve blouse will work,’ I remember thinking as I picked the outfit I would wear to stare at the face of the man who raped me.’: Woman overcomes sexual assault

“At 21-years-old I found out I was going to be a mother, then shortly following that news I found out I would be a single mother. With no degree, no plan, and no guidance I would be taking on an unfamiliar journey; emotionally alone. I began to feel like I had become a victim and stereotype as a result of my pain from being raped. Everything I had worked to not be I had become.”

‘I was handed a drink. I woke up the next day in an empty room, except for an air mattress. I was completely naked. All my belongings were missing.’ Woman ‘hurt no one was looking for me’ after 3-day-long sexual assault

“There was a window in the bedroom. I tried to open it, but it had been nailed shut. Then, the guy I knew from the party opened the door. ‘As long as you’re compliant, you’ll make it home,’ he said. No one took any notice that I had been gone for 3 days. Not my family, not my friends, not my instructors at school. No one. I felt completely alone. Nobody ever asked me if I was ok.”

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