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 Acquaintance Assault Description
Acquaintance assault involves coercive sexual acts that occur against a person's will by means of force, violence, duress, or fear of bodily injury.

These sexual acts are imposed upon the person by someone she/he knows (a friend, date, acquaintance, etc.).

A prior or current relationship or previous acts of intimacy are insufficient indicators of consent. Verbal consent must be obtained in each instance of sexual intimacy, as well as when the level of sexual intimacy increases (i.e., moving from kissing to petting, from petting to oral sex, from oral sex to intercourse or anal sex, etc.).

Like other forms of sexual violence, acquaintance assault is motivated by a need to control, humiliate, and harm.


Writing Prompts
“I met him/her at a party and…”
“He seemed like a nice guy…”

Brigid from Omaha, Nebraska| 23-July-07
It was a Saturday night, Valentine’s Day, a friend and I had decided to go out and get tanked to celebrate how miserable we were as we had both recently broken up with boyfriends. We went to a local “meat market” and were hanging around flirting and drinking and pretty much still feeling miserable.  I ran in to a couple guys I used to know from a restaurant where I had worked for years, and they immediately recognized me too. We shouted back and forth over the music, then one asked me to dance so I did.  It was a typical club scene, drinking and dancing, whatever.  My friend had run in to her ex with another girl and wanted to leave, so Dude said he would drive me home.  I agreed.

He drove me home and, boy I was DRUNK.  He said he had some pot, we smoked some, which immediately made me puke.  I was so embarrassed and he was really sweet about it. He held my hair, brought me water, told me over and over it was ok, we have all been here.  When I told him I had to go to bed he asked if he could stay, didn’t even get under the covers because he didn’t want to freak me out. A gentleman!

He called several days later in the afternoon to see if I wanted to hang out.  I told him I had been fighting a nasty cold for a couple days, so maybe the weekend would be better. He said ok, fine, yeah.  After meeting my family for dinner for my nephew’s birthday, I came straight home, feeling ill and tired and wanting nothing more than my bed.  When I arrived home there were all these utility crews in the parking lot – apparently there was a gas leak of some sort.  I talked to one of the guys and he said it was fine for me to be home, they would let me know if the situation changed. Ok, good.

So I went inside and took some Nyquil because I felt like crap. I crashed immediately (you know the way Nyquil does that).  Some time later, maybe an hour or two, I heard the phone ring.  It was Dude. I didn’t answer, I was too sleepy.

A bit later I woke to this insanely urgent knock on my door.  It was after 1 AM. I was confused like, “WTF?" and then I remembered the gas leak.  Oh no!  So I got up and answered the door.  It was Dude.  He said he had tried to call but I hadn’t answered so he just came by, was that ok?  I told him I was really tired and didn’t feel very well. He said ok, but he had left the pot the other night (indeed he had, I had it stashed) and could he get it?  I agreed, turned to get it from the hiding spot in the bedroom.

He followed, teased me about my pajamas, “What are you wearing?” with a laugh as he gave the waistband of the shorts a little tug. I got the pot, handed it to him, and then pretty much collapsed in the bed.  I guess I thought he would just leave, but he offered to give me a back rub “to help me relax” (because I obviously needed that) and urged me to turn over. I sleepily did.

So, I was sacked out face down on the mattress, half asleep, he was rubbing my back and it was nice and cozy when all of a sudden he yanked my shorts and undies off – one fell swoop! I jerked to sit up but he pushed my face back into the bed, catching my temple on the table at the head of the bed pretty hard.  He straddled me, and I could hear him undoing the belt and the jeans in a frenzy.  I thought HELL NO! and tried to roll over, in the process he got a hold of my right arm and managed to get it pinned under my back as I rolled, torquing out my shoulder pretty good. I tried to push him or maybe hit him with my one free arm, but he grabbed and held it fast, then with his other arm elbowed me in the head. I tried to squirm out from under him kicking and such but only succeeding in twisting my shoulder further - I thought for sure it was going to just pop.  He was using his knees to pry my legs apart while holding my head against the bed by smashing my face with the palm of his hand, I was struggling too much for that to work very well so he planted his knee into my sternum good and hard (knocking the breath from me) and then punched me a few times in the head.

I saw his face then – he had this sick grin I will never ever EVER forget and that was the moment I realized a) he was clearly enjoying himself and b) I wasn’t going to win – he was going to beat the hell out of me and fuck me anyway. So I just stopped fighting.

So, he then raped me. At one point he actually asked me if I was enjoying myself.  At some point he was done, rolled off me and we laid there.  I was so completely defeated, I couldn’t even get up then. I remember his heart was beating so loudly, I said something about I thought it might explode, he laughed and said it must have been all the coke he did before he came over. He got up then and went into the living room to smoke some weed, to "help him relax." I looked at the time – it was 2:30 and for some reason that, of all things, made me bawl.  He came back in the bedroom and asked what was wrong (!?!).  I cried until I passed out.

I woke when the alarm went off and he was crashed out next to me. Ew ew ew. I showered and quickly got ready for work and then had a heck of a time waking him up so I could leave.  I didn’t want to touch him or talk to him, but I couldn’t just leave him there.  I shook him awake and told him I had to leave right then. We got out into the parking lot and I started getting into my car, he said something like, “Aren’t you even going to say goodbye?” and I replied, “You can’t do this to me again.” He smirked that same sick grin as before and said, “Oh yes, I can.”

That day at work was pretty much hell.  I remember the secretary mentioning that I had got there really early – I had too!  I didn’t take time to eat or make tea or anything, I just wanted to get the fuck out of my apartment. At noon I went to lift weights with a coworker and friend, which was our habit on Thursdays and as we dressed she asked, “What happened to your leg…both of your legs…and your arm…my god your shoulder! Brigid!”  I sheepishly looked away, told her that Dude had been over the night before and it got a little out of hand. I remember her looking at me waiting for me to say more and I didn’t. That was the extent of the reporting.

Of course I didn’t tell anyone, especially the cops.  I felt like an idiot for trusting him, for opening the door, for being stoned, for wearing those pajamas, for not being smarter or stronger or any adjective that would have kept it from happening.

Over the next couple of weeks there were several nights Dude called repeatedly, and then, often, some time later there would be frenetic pounding on my door, him hollering my name.  It was awful – I would squat behind the couch in the dark because if he saw a light or heard noise he wouldn’t go away for long periods of time, sometimes banging on the door for 20 minutes, going out to the car and calling again, leave a message saying he could hear my phone ring, my car was there he knew I was home, then he would come back in and knock some more.  Eventaully he gave up.

Anne from Minneapolis, Minnesota| 25-April-07
When I was raped, I was very, very drunk. I was at an after bar at my friend’s apartment (Throughout this essay, I use the term friend rather loosely). I had started passing out on his couch (something I had safely done before) and my friend started touching me under my clothes. He told my “best friend”, “I get Anne tonight.”  The sad thing is that this was in front of other friends of mine and no one did anything.  My best friend and him told me I should go pass out in his bed, not taking into consideration how extremely intoxicated I was. Within a few minutes, he performed oral sex and told me how he had wanted me for a really long time.  Then, he was on top of me and told me he had a condom on.  I told him I didn’t want to have sex with him. At first he said, “okay,” and soon after, he asked again in a rather coercive manner and I, in my completely annihilated state, said okay and I laid there and let him do it. I saw him after this happened to me and I told him how drunk I was and how I was really uncomfortable with what happened and he brushed it off and he’s later told me and others that I’m a wild woman.  And my best friend told everyone I work with and people made fun of me for what happened. No one has made fun of him.  Most of my friends are still friends with him.  It seems like many people are too “Minnesota nice” and too timid to stand up for what is right.  A few people understood and took me seriously.  I will always be grateful for this. I just wanted someone to validate my feelings. I felt so disgusting and ashamed after this happened.  I would cry whenever I would take a shower or get dressed.  I saw a filthy and repulsive person in the mirror.  I asked myself how I could have let this happen. Maybe when things seem so surreal we don’t know what to do.  I was raped and no one stopped it.

Ariel from Minneapolis, Minnesota| 25-April-07
My name is Ariel and the Valentine’s Day of 1996 will forever be etched in my mind. When I was eighteen, I lived in Brentwood, NY in my own apartment with no roommates.  I thought I was all grown up working as a waitress at a local restaurant. The head chef there began to take a liking to me and I have to admit it was flattering.  He bought me roses and expensive perfume.  Even though I did not especially like him, no one had ever treated me that way, so I finally agreed to go out with him. We actually went out twice.  He took me out to dinner and taught me the meringue.

February fourteenth, 1996 at two AM, my doorbell rang.  I remember thinking it odd, but I wasn’t alarmed.  I was a grown up, remember?  So I swing open the door and allow my visitor to enter even though he is slurring his words and acting kind of strange. Before I know it he was pawing all over me and I may have even allowed it until he started pulling on my pajamas. I thought he was joking.  I remember giggling. He thought it was a game. He thought it was cute. I tried to reason with him, that I wasn’t that type of girl and that I barely knew him. He still thought I was just being silly.  He pulled harder.  I wasn’t giggling anymore.  My shirt ripped.  My heart pounded in my ears. He thought it was exciting and in turn became even more forceful.  I became crippled with fear. He threw me to the bed and I began to plead.  I was waiting for marriage, I cried.  I was a good girl, I swore.  I asked, Why are you doing this to me?  He didn’t answer.  He spoke no words.

 Before I knew it he forced his way inside.  Inside of my world.  Inside of my head, my heart and my dreams of anything and everything.  It hurt.  All I could think was it had to be over soon.  It had to be.  It seemed to last an eternity.  How could I have been so stupid? He rolled off of me and passed out. In my bed! I didn’t know what to do.  I went to the bathroom and locked the door. I showered until longer than the water took to go cold and my skin was scrubbed red and swollen. I then sat on the bathroom floor with my knees pulled into my chest for the rest of the night and cried. I cried tears of pain, shame, and fear. Would anyone ever want me again?

Morning came and the man in my bed woke up. He was disoriented and confused.  He saw that I was upset, but couldn’t even understand why. How was I supposed to explain it to him? I just told him to leave. I washed my sheets and blankets in bleach and curled into a ball under my covers deciding to never come out.  I didn’t go to work that night or ever again.  He came to my place that next day inquiring to my whereabouts at work and why I didn’t call in.  Through tears, I said, you raped me.  He laughed.  He was still laughing on his way out the door as I stood there helpless and humiliated and I never saw him again.

Even as I write this, I can’t help but make excuses of my naiveté; I still can’t accept that it wasn’t my fault.  I would tell anyone else it wasn’t their fault; that there was nothing they could do.  Eleven years have passed and I still wonder.  Eleven years and I can’t smell the scent of Shalimar (the perfume he bought me) without feeling nauseous and stricken with flashbacks.  The days around Valentine’s Day are filled with dread and remembrance.   I still imagine doing things differently.  What if I screamed louder?  What if I fought harder?  What if I spoke out back then?  What if…? If only I knew then, what I know now:  telling is half the battle.

Anonymous from Syracuse, New York| 19-April-07
My story?  No. My life.

I was close friends with a boy, let’s call him Samuel, starting in the 7th grade.  Being only 12, I was pretty naive to his manipulative ways--even at that young of an age.  I quickly became dependent on his friendship--living on every word.  I would be constantly told I was his "princess" or "the love of his life."  I lived for the days he'd whisper, "I love you."  However, I forced it back in my mind, away from my memory everytime he told me I was "stupid" or "ugly" or "not worth even a penny."

By 10th grade we were dating. That is when the real hell began.

In school, I would be adored.  If not--I was ignored.  I'd been slammed into lockers.  My skin pinched to the point of bruising just because it was funny.

At his house, I would enter my torture-chamber.  Sam was always very affectionate with me, so in my head he was just loving me.  I convinced myself that I had nowhere to turn.  Any self esteem I had was shattered.  I remember one night he told me that I should commit suicide because my life wasn't worth living.  He went even farther telling me that if I was too scared he would help me do it.  He would tell me to cut.  He would tell me how ugly I was.  Samuel was violent--but smart. He was beat.  He would beat my stomach, legs, arms, chest area--never my face or neck b/c it would be seen.   He tried to light me on fire with a lighter--b/c it might make me "prettier."  He'd bite me--hard.

At this point I would be so scared I would submit to anything he would do--I could not fight him off.  I was a scared 15 year-old.  He was 6'2 and 250lbs--mostly muscle.  In collaboration of multiple times at his house--I have been pissed on my face and in my mouth because I refused to give him oral--which I ended up giving him anyways.  I've been raped with a hammer, hanger, markers, a recorder (the instrument thing), and I'm not sure what else because I've blocked it from my mind.  I've received oral, but when it’s forced it hurts--involving teeth, etc.  He's raped me multiple times.  Losing my virginity (technically by a hammer... but..)... to the one person I truly hate.

After about 3-5 months I broke up with him--only to result in another rape.  I never saw him again.  He dropped out of High School.  Quit everything.

I never took to the police. 3 years later I ran into him at a party--and was raped again.  I fought harder--hurt him more--but ultimately I'm just a little girl.

I'm stronger though.  I've made it this far.  I'm starting to talk about it.

Let me challenge you here--don't hide your past.  Don't ignore what’s going on.  Tell someone.  Protect other girls--but ultimately protect yourself.  To ignore it will just eat at you.  Then when it comes up after you've buried it, it will just feel like you're being abused all over again.

It still hurts.  I can't deny it.

I'm a victim, no I take that back... I'm a survivor of emotional, verbal, physical and sexual abuse.

Peace is coming.

Nikki from Minneapolis, Minnesota| 08-April-07
Sometimes the most painful part of having been sexually assaulted, is the fact that I didn't even know what happened to me was considered rape. One day I received an email from my professor, in which she told me that the essay I had written for my non-fiction class described rape. I was so shocked; I wondered if she had me confused with another person. I had written about how I had emotionally hurt myself, not about anyone assaulting me. To investigate, I pulled out my essay and flipped to the end, in which my vulva was lecturing me:

Remember that night when you went over to your friend’s house after a night at the bar? That night, you started messing around with a friend of a friend – let’s call him Dick, because let’s face it he was one. But Nikki, you didn’t want to. You were really tired and you just wanted to go to sleep. When you laid down on the couch Dick started touching you. Sure, it was nice at first, but then things were taken to a different level and you wanted it to stop. You said it aloud, “I don’t want to do this,” even though it was hard to do because you thought you might have “led him on.” And Dick acted like he didn’t hear you; he didn’t even stop and remove his hands for a split second. I didn’t know you still had it in you, but somehow you mustered together every ounce of reserve courage and you said “no” again and pulled yourself away from him. You thought your efforts were successful when he said that it was okay. But then he just put himself inside you again. And at this point you just gave up and you let him FUCK you."

My professor wanted me to substitute the word "rape" for "FUCK." At first, I wouldn't accept that term. Even over a year after, it is hard for me to say that I have been raped and whenever I submit that essay for publication, I still cannot make that change. I know this avoidance of the term is because I still feel that it was my fault. Logically, I know it wasn't, but the feeling never goes away; at least, not yet.

Anonymous from Spokane, Washington| 23-March-07
Someone came to our class one time and said there was this particular Washington definition (I looked it up later and it’s RCW 7.90.005) that states, “Sexual assault is the most heinous crime against another person short of murder.” I definitely agree.

The weekend before school began my friends and I threw a party. We were so excited to be back together after summer and we were ready to drink and have a good time. My best friend had a few friends come visit from out of town, one being this guy Derek (name has been changed). He was a nice guy, perpetrators have to be to get away with what they do, right? I had a little too much to drink and my best friend put me to bed in one of the bedrooms. I was deep asleep when I felt someone touching me and I woke up. This guy Derek had come into the room and started doing stuff to me and I couldn't stop him. I was alone and the music was blaring on the other side of the door so no one could hear me telling him to stop, over and over.

The next day, I struggled to tell my best friend what happened and she was so supportive about it. She listened and told me how sorry she was that it happened and that it wasn't my fault. But another girl friend sided with this guy, saying she wasn't so sure he would do something like that. She didn't come out and say it, but that translated into her saying I was lying. Her saying that seemed almost as bad as the assault itself. I will never forgive her for what she did to me by not believing me. People don't just make up these stories, no matter what you think.

At the time, I had no idea what happened to me was sexual assault. It was comforting to eventually find out that what this guy did had a definition, sexual assault, and it was by no means legal. I could have gone to the police and he may have been charged, but I thought it was too late and I've heard the police don't do much about sexual assault anyway. I had already been through enough because of what Derek did, I didn't feel I could go through reporting it and not being believed.

So many people seem to minimize this kind of thing, or they chalk rape up to something that we have no control over. This is false. The lack of people, especially men, standing up and saying, “This is not okay. We believe victims and we will not put up with this anymore” is what allows this type of thing to continue. And it will continue if we keep doing what we're doing…which for many people means doing nothing. When are men going to stand up and do something instead of getting defensive or throwing up their hands saying, “It's not me. It's not my fault. I would never do that?” Well, I think not doing anything about it is just as bad as assaulting someone yourself.

Cheryl from Montreal, Canada| 29-August-06
Since April 1st, 2002, I have gone through the motions of being a victim of rape. The self disgust, anger, self hatred, and most notably, the denial. It wasn't until this past summer, that I saw myself as who I am - a Survivor of rape. For 4 years, I nodded, uncomfortable, when people spoke of rape. I told few people and assured them I was un-affected. I referred to the rape as "that thing in 02". This summer I took back my life - I look at myself, told myself what had happened and for the first time, I believed it. I saw myself as the Woman I have been and one I am trying to be, and saw it couldn't be possible when I continue to let the man control my life. That is what rape does to us. We allow the guilt, the shame, the anger to be projected onto us. They hang their heads when the issue is debated, silence their voices when women's dress is criticized, and suck their teeth when it happens to the next woman. They pick the women apart, and victimize the abuser. They take the power, it is never given. We.. we feel shame. We lie, say we are going for lunch when we are going to see our post rape therapists. We numb ourselves to the pleaure of touch when we believe our bodies are simply instruments others can play. We cover our bodies and lower our eyes so as not to provoke. We fatten their lies by starving ourselves.
No More.
We've taken back the night. We're taking back the news. And I'm taking back myself.

K from Penfield, NY | 11-June-06
okay, well my story is a little different. and after reading the other stories on this page it kind of makes me feel embarassed to tell it because now it seems like my experience is nothing compared to other people's. but i want to tell my story because i am still struggling with overcoming this problem, and i think it's a subject that is ignored far too much.

my senior year of high school, a bunch of my friends and i went to Myrtle Beach for spring break. it was our last time together before everyone would be leaving for college the following summer. it was about 10 of us girls and a bunch of our guy friends came down with us. the second night we were there, we decided girls and guys were going to do our own thing for the night. one of the girls met a guy on the beach and invited him up to the room we were all hanging out in. he seemed very nice and brought 3 other friends back with him to hang out.

never once did we feel uneasy or as if something bad was going to happen because there was 10 girls and 4 boys. of coarse, we were all drinking and having a good time. the boys were very generous and decided they were going to get a limo and take all of us out to dinner and pay. why would we argue a free meal and a free limo?! so as drunk as we all were we stumbled into the huge stretch limo that was waiting for us. i was one of the few of my friends that did not smoke and there was no smoking allowed in the limo.

everyone was outside the limo smoking and i was very intoxicated and felt very sick...so i went and layed down on the very front seat by where the driver was. i was facing the back of the seat so i was unaware of anything that was going on behind me. one of the guys got into the limo and squeezed himself onto the same seat as me right up against my back side. he was touching me and just saying disgusting things in my ear. it was obvious that i did not feel well and was helpless. i asked him to leave me alone so i could get out of the limo and go up to my room, but he ignored me. he just kept talking. after he kept sayin gross things i tried to get up and he said i was sick and that he would stop so i could lay down and feel better. the words he was saying have been stuck in my head since that night.

then, he whispered in my ear "can i stick it in just once?" i said no. as drunk as i was i clearly remember i said no. he asked why and i said i really did not want to. next thing i knew he had his hand up my skirt and i was squirming to get away. he kept telling me it was okay and i kept saying stop and no. he asked me if i was on birth control and i said no. he said he was going to finish in me and i just cried. i couldn't scream i couldn't move. never in my life have i felt sooo helpless. when it was over he just got up, got out of the limo and went back to his room...everyone got in the limo and my best friend saw me lying there crying hysterically. she knew something was wrong and took me out of the limo. we got back to my room where i made a terrible mistake...i took a bath and threw out my underwear. at the point it did not cross my mind that i had been raped. i felt disgusting and dirty after i bathed and sobered up a little, one of my friends brought to my attention that what happened to me was called "date rape". after that i went into a panic state. i didn't want anyone to know but somehow everyone found out. the boys from my home town were furious and wanted to find the guy. the next night i ended my spring break earlier and drove home.

i made some stupid excuse up to tell my parents why i came home. i felt so ashamed that i didn't want them to know what really happened. i got checked for everything and talked to a counselor at planned parenthood. she urged me to tell my parents but i just didn't know how. my parents mean the world to me and i did not want them to know that something so terrible happened to me.

months later, i broke down and told my mother. she begged me to talk to someone and press charges. i told her i would consider pressing charges and finally her and the planned parenthood counselor talked me into going to the police. i talked to an investigative office from my town to see if i had a case. he doubted me, until i told him the whole story. after hearing my story he said i should go to the police.

i failed to mention that the kid that did this is from a town like 5 minutes from where i live. so i went to the police of his town and made a report, which was almost as bad as being raped all over again. the officer talked to Myrtle Beach police and they said i'd have to go back there to pursue the case. the officer from home said he would call if there was anything else i could do. i was unable to press charges and a few months later, i saw the kid at a bar in the city.

i turned ghost white and started crying like an idiot in the middle of the bar. when he realized who i was his jaw hit the ground. the look on his face is burned in my memory, a look of him knowing he did something so wrong to me...yet he's living his life. and i'm still stuck in the pain.

i've been seeing a therapist for months now and i seem to be getting nowhere. the year anniversaray of my incident just passed and now i'm right back where i started...

anonymous from Brooklyn, NY | 19-January-06
It was the summer and I was 17. I had just gone away to college, and was home for a long weekend. I had worked that summer (as summers before) at a little shop, with a close friend of mine. We were both home, so we decided to work that weekend, and then go out afterwards.

We went to a bar after work to get some beers. We ordered a pitcher of beer and sat down and began talking. At some point, we were joined by two guys. I began talking with one of them, and my friend was talking with the other. (Were they friends? Was this part of a plan?) I was drinking beer, but now that I think about it, I really don't remember whether or not he was, or how much. I was definitely buzzed, and enjoying myself.

After a while, I was starting to feel sort of drunk and tired, and felt like getting out of there. The guy offered to walk me to the place I was staying, a few blocks away. I knew that would probably lead to something -- a kiss or two -- and I was kind of hoping it would. My new-found freedom (as a college student) was exciting. Plus, this was a guy who was showing interest in me. It was flattering.

I told my friend we were leaving. (Later on, when she found out what happened, she said she should have never let me leave with a stranger. I of course have never even considered blaming her. It wasn't either of our faults).

We were about half-way to the house, when we stopped on the sidewalk, under a streetlamp, and we started kissing. It was okay, but I was feeling pretty drunk and pretty tired, and at this point, I just wanted to go home and go to sleep.

While we were kissing, he began to pull me off the sidewalk onto a lawn. There was no one around, from what I could tell. He pushed me down onto the lawn, and then he was on top of me. I couldn't really breathe because of the weight of his body on my chest. He began to unbutton and unzip my pants. I struggled with him, but was -- I think -- incoherent in what I said out loud, though I distinctly remember thinking "no, no, no". He got my pants open and pulled them down. This is when I very distinctly said -- out loud, this time -- "no, no, no". And then I sort of left my body, like blanked out (I didn't black out or pass out, I know I was conscious, but I just blocked everything out at this point). The next thing I remember, he got up and pulled me up. I was crying, and I pulled up my pants and zipped and buttoned them. We both walked onto the sidewalk, and he grabbed me and hugged me (I was still crying) and then said "It's no big deal". Then he offered to walk me home. I did not want him to know where I was staying, so I said "no thanks".

At some point during the night, my friend came home. The next morning, we went to a thrift store and I bought a burgundy felt hat. I didn't say a word about the incident, but I was kind of quiet in general. I felt very dirty and ashamed. I went home (to my parents' house) and I took a shower. I did not tell anyone.

After I returned to college, a few weeks later I was on the phone with my same friend. She was freaking out because someone had called her parents' house and told them he had given their daughter AIDS. My friend had no idea who this person was, but as soon as she told me about it, I immediately panicked. My skin became prickly and I got a lump in my throat. I was sure that the guy who raped me had gone to the shop where we worked and asked about the girl who worked there who had long hair, and somehow thought my friend was me, and that the person who called her parents' house had meant to call my parents' house. I did not tell my friend this, but quickly got off the phone, making an excuse that I had to go.

For the next week, I was convinced that I had AIDS. I remember sitting in the cafeteria, surrounded by new friends, with swollen glands, convinced I was going to die. At this point, I called home and asked my mom to come and visit me.

The day she arrived, we sat on the curb in the parking lot by my dorm and I told her everything. We flew home, I think the very next day. We told my dad, who said he was going to kill the guy, and we thought about calling the police. I pleaded not to -- I had no idea who this guy was, but more than that, I still felt so ashamed, like it was my fault.

We went to my mom's doctor and told him what happened. He did an HIV test, and the results came back a while later. They were negative. I was somewhat relieved, but he said we would have to re-test in 6 months, and then again in a year, to be sure, which we did. Both results came back negative. A year later, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

I had also been dating someone, who came to be my best friend through all of this. We attempted to have sex in his dorm room once, and I ran into the bathroom and vomited. We were together for over six years after that -- and he was always so loving and kind and gentle -- but we never had sex in all that time.

Now, more than 14 years later, I can honestly say that I am healed. But the incident changed my life. Many of the changes were traumatic and damaging for a long period of time, but some good came of it. While in college, I worked as a sexual assault peer educator and I volunteered at the local rape crisis center. And, all these years later, through activist work, I am still involved in the anti-rape movement.

Kris from Iowa | 11-December-05
As a professional in the field of sexual assault, I hear horror stories everyday about the awful things that people do to each other. Working with a primarily college population, I particularly see the role that alcohol plays in sexual assaults. For all the work that I do to put information out there about what to do to keep yourself safe and what to do if that safety is compromised, I feel that I am an imposter.

As a senior in college, I participated in the college tradition of a "pub crawl". I wasn't a heavy drinker in college but I was excited about the opportunity to spend the evening with friends and be out in a social setting. My long term boyfriend was in the military and was at a training in Norway and I know that a little bit of freedom would also be fun. So I went out. And I drank. And I drank. And I drank. And I got sick and decided that I couldn't drive myself home and asked to spend the night at one of my friend's houses. So at the end of the night, he took me home and I crashed on his couch. About 2 hours into a restless night’s sleep, he came out and told me I could sleep in his bed if I wanted to. Being tall, the couch wasn't very much fun for me so I took him up on it and promptly passed out. I woke up a few hours later to him having sex with me. Yes, I went into his bed and I probably curled up with him, out of the instinct of curling up with my boyfriend! But even if I had said, "yes", there's no way it was a consensual act. But how could I possibly hold him accountable when he had only done what I agreed to do. He was drunk as well. How did I not rape him?

I know that regardless of legal status, I feel I was violated and that's all that really matters. But when I talk to students who are unsure and are full of guilt and shame, I know their pain.

Jeanine Pfahlert from Bowling Green, OH | 19-March-04
I have this memory, and it's a little surreal. I have talked to various people about it but am hesitant to accept that it was real. I can tell you what I was wearing- the pants, the shirt, my bra and underwear. I can remember how I walked out the door of my apartment before going to the professor's office. I have a fuzzy memory of him calling me at the apartment, perhaps asking me to come to his office. I remember walking to the campus building where his office was and opening the door. I remember him reaching for something behind my head. I remember falling on the floor, eventually to be placed on my back hardly conscious, trying to scream. I remember him above me slowing getting ready to mount me but also taking off my thick Wigwam socks. I also remember my pants and underwear get pulled off. My head hurt. And I was trying to get him to stop, but I could hardly move. I think I remember that I thought telling him I loved him might get him to stop, but I was hardly awake and I was thinking in Spanish so I said: "Te Amo" repeatedly. I am not sure if I was awake when he actually "penetrated" me. Eventually I woke up in the chair that always sat in front of his desk where he sat. I eventually saw him and he was staring into my eyes. At first I thought I had just woke up from a dream. I can't remember what I was wearing or not, but I remember trying to gather my clothes, like my socks. I am not sure when I realized what happened and when I began to cry. He said something to me, though I can't remember what it was. I remember thinking maybe I had died or that he was going to kill me. I got out, and I don't think he ran after me. I have a memory of running home and running in a way that I tripped over my pants with wide bottoms and hit the pavement. That hurt too. I made it home. I didn't go to the hospital, not surprisingly my thinking was very muddled. I likely had a concussion and of course mentally I was affected. I remember the phone ringing a lot. That could have been because I might have called someone to tell them what happened. I think I might have called another faculty member, but I am not sure. This thing that seems like next in the sequence is me wanting to take a nap, and I did. When I woke up, really I just remember getting up and going to the bathroom and having a terrible pain in my vagina. I was confused and when I pulled down my underwear to urinate, I smelled an overwhelming aroma of semen. This didn't make sense to me and what I remember is thinking something like: "Why do I smell sperm? I didn't have sex, and indeed I didn't. I further confused me because as I was occasionally sexually active, I was a dedicated condom user. So, it didn't make sense. Suddenly the memory rushed to me and I was destroyed. I looked in the mirror and saw a big bump on my head. This is where my memory of lying on the floor crying and saying aloud: "My professor raped me" and "My favorite professor raped me" and "Why did my professor rape me?" I also remember saying: "I want my mommy" while being in a fetal position. Nothing ever came of this and I never pressed charges. I don't know if anyone I told reported it, but it may be worth checking out. Still even now, it just seems like something from hell- like something the devil made me dream. But the pain and the smell was all too real. I think there might have been blood on my pillow to. I also have this memory of him pushing his heavy metal book case on me, at some point, while on the floor. Of course this all must have made a terrible noise. But perhaps it was a Saturday or after hours.

anonymous from Morganton, NC | 21-July-03
Cliche cliche. Portrayed in the media all along the walls of the recent decades... the phenomenon... and still I feel like I have to write the story.
It was in July sometime as I recall, around the time of my 19th birthday.

We were down at pictured rocks park, drinking with a group of coworkers. We had been drinking some kind of liquor out in a corn field, and had driven back settled down in the park. I'd had plenty to drink and it must have been around midnight. I don't remember who all was there but have a fairly good idea it was around a dozen people... crammed into I believe two vehicles.
One vehicle took off & two people left on foot to walk the mile back up to the camp.
Trail, Brian, Jenny & I remained with Brian's jeep & Trail's cooler full of beer. We sat on a picnic table and talked and drank. I do remember thinking how dull these guys were, how I'd have had more fun with just Jenny. She began talking to him about his army job. She was sweet and cute and funny. I even thought what a cute couple they are... the tan blonde couple. She 5'4 and skinny and he maybe 6'2 with a muscular frame. I suggested we retire for the night (and make plans for later) and he said he'd drive us up soon.
Trail asked me to take a walk with him to the swing. I said sure. So we walked. He put his arm around me, and I remember thinking it was a good fit. I'm 5'8 145 and he a wrestler was around 6'3 275. Smiling, I sat on the swing for a few minutes. He started telling me how pretty I was to him. We talked about canoeing and overnight campouts with campers. And he asked if I wanted a piggy back ride back and I said sure. I was delighted at how he could carry me with no effect to his gait or his posture. He took me back to the jeep. The top was off. He laid me in the seat and then stepped up on top and started kissing me. A few seconds later I dodged his mouth the best I could, told him I wanted to go home and tried to sit up. He said he didn't want to hurt me and pushed my right leg out with his left knee. He felt so heavy on top of me I could hardly breathe. I was in shock. He grabbed my wrist and pulled my hand to feel his erection. I could feel my arm jerking my hand out of his hand but it just didn't move as a result. I muttered so softly he didn't hear me at first then said it again stronger: "I need to pee first". It was an instinct to say that, because I couldn't think. I was frozen. In retrospect in the stereotypical trial of "the woman's story" whether or not she screamed for help is an issue. And I can tell you in that instant I could not possibly have screamed. Maybe later I could have. He sighed, withdrew his hand from my underwear and said okay go pee. (Jenny and I had gone behind a tree earlier)... and laughed. I stumbled from the jeep towards the woods... maybe 45 feet away. And then I began to work my way through the woods as quickly as I could until I came out on the road that led back up to camp. I didn't see Jenny & Brian, but I did not look for them either. What would I say if a police officer on patrol came down this hill?
I threw up for awhile, then took a very hot shower. The only marks on me were from my knees when I fell coming back up the hill. I focused on the smell of vidal sassoon shampoo and when I climbed up into my bunk, holding my teddy bear, it was after 2am. The lights were off and all of my fellow camp counselors were asleep in our basement quarters. It occured to me I should be crying, should not go to bed, should not go to sleep.
At 6am I heard others get up. We had to start at 6:30am. I got up and put a hat on and stumbled out into work. Jenny's hair was wet and she looked rough. We went to work with our special needs campers. At 2:00, during rest hour where the campers napped... Jenny's hair was wet again, said in that same soft voice I had used... they raped me. She told me how big they were. Yes I said they were big its not your fault. I think I told her how sorry I was. Even if I didn't say it I was very sorry. I don't remember the conversations we had if we had any more than that. I do remember having this need to be with Jenny for the rest of the summer, and that whenever she didn't go home, she was with me. We didn't tell. Brian went back to Kansas and we stayed away from Trail. I told Mike that Jenny & I could not have cabin duty or be in charge of a group with him. One night he switched with someone to have cabin duty with me. He was trying to be nice he said... and asked me if I had gone out drinking much lately. I guess Josh must have been clued in at some point by Jenny or me, because he showed up to take my cabin duty with Trail. I am indebted for that.
So hindsight being 20-20, and memory being lacking, I have played that time over and over again. First, I had to remember when it had happened, how it had happened. Had to remember Brian's name. Had to remember it all because I temporarily "forgot about it" while that summer was in session. Actually it was 2 years later before I cried. Is that sad? Had to think who was doing what. Why didn't I know Jenny was in danger? Where were they? What would have happened if I had stayed? Would it have been better for me to stay? Why didn't we tell someone else? What would have happened if we'd told someone else? Could they have been sent to jail? How is Jenny? Did she tell? Do the other two remember? I wish I had the ability to go back, and if not to change that day, to change the days after.

What do I want the reader of this to think or feel? I have not told the story in detail before though I have spoken of the occurence. So partly writing it helps put out there what happened. The story has an abstract place "out there" now, and not just "in here". I feel defensive about telling this... that I should have to explain why I want to tell it. And then also say although I was drunk I knew I didn't want him inside me. And I want to defend my (uninformed) decision to leave the rocks & leave Jenny behind. I want to warn girls of being in situations like this. People can seem really nice. They can be the kind of person who helps defenseless people and still can hurt you. Alcohol seems to give license for this kind of behavior. Beware. Also though beware (I've heard this happens a lot) that forming too many conclusions is a bad idea. Not all guys would do this. And sometimes girls lie. There aren't always marks. It sounds so incredulous if I hadn't been there I don't know if I'd believe it. I can't believe how people are expected to respond. Go to the hospital? Tell the police? So that's it...... for the story. And stereotypical and common of a story as it may be... it is mine. Moreso Jenny's. Should it not be such a big thing? After all why on earth would it matter as much as it does? What is the strong response?
And you know what I don't understand? I burned two good guys... two good relationships potentially.... on the issues I had with this stuff. The first boyfriend, I couldn't relax enough for him to enjoy himself. He was not selfish and did not want to be pleased if I could not be. Therefore, our attempts at love making completely failed, and then romanticly we failed. I tried getting drunk in order to relax, tried drugs. Didn't work. We maintained a friendship as long as I lived near him. Next was a handsome, funny & hard working musician. He liked me a lot, was very gentle with me, but after a couple nights of sleeping side by side he was frustrated and I was suicidal. Again, we went on to be very good friends -- even roommates with his girlfriend...until I moved away. Those guys get man of the year awards as far as I'm concerned. What I want to know is how men feel when some girl they are dating comes to them and tells them they've been assaulted in the past? How do they really process that information? Don't these guys know that while they are busy forcing a girl someone else might be forcing their future love to do the same thing?
These things sound so unspeakable, you have to think they are rare. But I hear them fairly often..
I went to a christian boarding school in high school. I had one roommate who had been raped by a teacher and he had stood trial and been imprisoned. Another girl wrote to me my freshman year of college... telling me that she had been raped by a coworker. See while we were at this school my junior year, memories of my brother abusing me from 2-3 years before came back to me... and I was severely depressed. It took me half an hour of sitting with a teacher I had a rapport with to say... my brother made me..... and then I couldn't even say it out loud. We literally sat there for another half an hour and he finally started guessing until he had pretty much gotten it out of me. Sodomy, assault, attempted... you name it. And then this teacher says maybe ten words and doesn't talk to me for almost a week. Finally I broke down and told him I was sorry for telling him all that and he said, I wanted to give you some space, that's what pastor newton said to do with your sex problem. My what? I closed back down then. I think right around that time was the 231st anti-premarital sex talk we'd received in the girls dorm, replete with packages representing our virginity being torn to show what we were doing to our bodies by being active with boys. I have a scar on my wrist borne of the silence that ensued.

anonymous from Philadelphia, PA | 01-June-03
It was the summer before I came to college. It was a real small get together at my friend's house. It was his birthday. I had known almost everyone there since elementary school. I think I had known him the longest though. He had been in my class in the 2nd grade. I don't remember but my mom says he used to pick on me then and I would come home from school crying. In 4th grade we had lunch and recess together and I think we were "going-together" for a couple days. About a week before got stoned together and he made me promise I would kiss him on his birthday.

Everyone was drinking, smoking pot and my friend's cousin from Jersey had brought down some nitrous. I did a lot of all three. I don't remember much of the night after about 1:00 am. But someone had a camera and a few weeks later I saw pictures. I looked like I was having a good time. The last picture on the roll was of me passed out on the couch.

I woke up.

I think it was him kissing my neck that made me come to because that was the first thing I was aware of. Looking back I always wonder shy he had been kissing my neck at all. It's like he was trying to make it more pleasurable for me. Strange.

At first, I didn't move. I held my breath. Every muscle in my body tensed. He couldn't tell I was awake because I was on my side and he was holding me from behind. I always knew he was bigger than me but I never realized how big until that moment. He had his arms around me really tightly, his one arm under me and up my shirt, under my bra, the other arm over top around me waist and unzipping my pants. He was still kissing my neck.

I closed my eyes again. I would pretend to be asleep, just close my eyes until it was over. But every second I lay there I felt like I was shrinking smaller and smaller. He had my pants down around my knees now. I could feel him press against my back. I almost felt myself disappear.

Something snapped. I needed to try. I started slowly. I made a small sound in the back of my throat and began to squirm a little.

He froze.

I froze.

He loosened his grip.

Then, (this part is hard to describe because it honestly felt like I didn't have control over my body) I just kind of took off and scrambled down the hall of the house towards the bedroom.

He didn't follow me or say anything as I went. I don't think he had time. I tried to wake up some of my friend's who were already piled three in a bed and eventually managed to make them move over so I could fit too.

I lay there a while. Thinking about what had happened. Not knowing if he was still in the living room. I don't think I slept.

He was gone in the morning.

I never saw him again.

I never want to.

anonymous from Philadelphia, PA | 18-May-03
I graduated from La Salle not too long ago. Naturally, I have both fond and upsetting memories of my time there. I remember feeling so great about how small the school was since sometimes I could develop happy passing relationships with strangers and we'd all just revel in how regularly we'd see each other. In other ways though, the small size of the school, made me feel claustrophobic and closed in, particularly in reference to an experience that I had in my first few months of my second year.

I started seeing someone early in the year; it was never meant to be a serious relationship, just something fun to do and feel good about. One night, after a while, I decided to go to his apartment. I remember that it was late and we both said that we were tired so we decided to turn off the light. We started kissing on his futon. He put his hands under my shirt-I had no problem with this. I feel a little silly when remembering how nervous and excited I was to be with him, especially since our relationship up to this point was tentative and messy. He took off his shirt and lay down on top of me. I don't have a negative memory of us lying down together-I remember that I was okay with it. After a couple minutes though, he started moving his body parallel with mine. His whole body was shifting up and down against mine and I could feel his penis against my stomach. Me feelings changed quickly. When images of the feeling of his penis come to me, I feel disgusted and angry. I never actually saw his penis; I just felt it and that makes me feel even more angry, that he turned it into something that I was not invited to be a part of, something that was just his.

I felt uncomfortable and turned off so I asked him to get off. I said it very quietly so as not to make him feel bad. I think now that saying it quietly was also perhaps a defense mechanism-I feel like maybe I would not have been brave enough to yell at him because it would have meant recognizing that the situation I was in was not fully under my control. He kept going so I thought that maybe he didn't hear me. So I said it again a little bit louder. He still did not respond. I froze for the next few moments while he had an orgasm. It's true-I did not push or scream or shove him off. I just froze. Finally, now, I no longer feel angry with myself for responding this way. That took some time, too.

He gave me something to wipe myself off with. I feel so angry about having to do this. I remember how disgusted I felt being stamped with his cum. He apologized very quietly; that apology sticks in my mind, as if he knew he did something wrong. I can't remember our exact exchange of words but we both agreed that I should leave.

During my short walk home across campus, I felt confused. This confusion effectively stayed with me for two years. I would sway violently between extreme anger, especially towards friends who knew him and like him, and redefining the situation as simply a bad sexual experience with a terrible sexual partner. I told my roommate, my best friend, that some icky guy had just ejaculated on my stomach. We made terrible faces and groaned. I never told her that I asked him to get off of me; that part changes the situation completely in my head and I am still trying to not let myself forget that. My mind has always tried to forget that.

The lines that are drawn within the definition of sexual assault scare me sometimes, probably because my situation feels so fuzzy and I am too scared to define myself by this experience.

It seems to me that many situations that people my age encounter are bankrupt of a strict understanding of effective consent, so I try to approach the definition as a standard that people who feel violated can exercise to their use and according to their own standard of comfort, control, etc. I've sort of moved to that stance that people's instincts are positive onves and if someone feels violated and feels that something wasn't right, then they have the right to explore it as something that should not have happened to them and empower themselves in some way to change those feelings of lack of control and vulnerability. I started seeing a counselor two years later, and in the beginning of the process, I cried every day for two weeks. It was so sad and heavy to really remember a situation in which I felt I had no control, especially since I think of my sexual history as really mine, in which I have a lot of control and fulfillment.

What I feel is most important though for the La Salle community to think about is that for a survivor, of any kind, and I hesitantly include myself sometimes, our small campus can be (and was) daunting. I saw this guy all the time-I still do even now as our friends overlap. Some days I want to do everything in my power to avoid him, and feel such utter anger towards friends who consciously or unconsciously allow me to enter rooms where he is. Other times, though, when I am tired of thinking about myself as someone who is dealing with this, I try to force myself to bear his company. I test myself with how many words I can say to him without staring at the ground and walking away. Sometimes I feel almost nothing. It's sad how sometimes feeling void is the best feeling there is.

This is just one experience, and only my exploration and interpretation of this one experience. But I know that many of my friends and those strangers at La Salle have feelings like mine and experiences like mine-and I want you to know that it's tough being in a small little world when these feelings arise. It's tough when you feel like keeping a secret for two years, and letting it trickle out to those who are important to you is an upsetting (but healing) venture every time. Even still, I never feel fully satisfied when I tell someone this story-I always feel disappointed with the reaction because I still haven't totally figured out how to react myself.

All I ask is that readers do not let this story become one of those stories where you sit around and try to decide if I was "assaulted" or if I am allowed to feel what I feel. After some counseling and personal reflection, I am okay with what I feel and it's up to me only to decide if what I feel is okay.

Thanks for listening.

Maureen from Philadelphia, PA | 18-May-03
I thought my bedroom was my safe space, but it was invaded just like I was that night. I had met up with some friends from high school at a bar downtown one night to see one of their bands play. It was my first semester living at school even though it was my junior year in college, and I was excited to see some old friends. After the show, I offered one of my male friends to stay over because he had class in the morning at a nearby college, and frequently complained about how he was always late because he lived kind of far from the school. I had an extra bed in my room, and I trusted him. When we got back to my place, we made a few Jack and Coke's and headed upstairs where I spent most of my time anyway. We listened to some music and talked while I drank both of our drinks. Earlier in the night I had popped a few pills to relax, and then had the drinks on top of that. We had kissed a few times before, but we decided to remain friends. He leaned in for the kiss this time, but I wasn't into it. I said I didn't want to kiss him, but he was real insistent so I kissed him back. I soon passed out on my bed from the combination of the pills and alcohol. I realized that he was on top of me, but I must have been numb because I couldn't feel him inside of me at first. I asked him what he was doing, but I knew. He didn't answer. He just kept doing it while I protested. I was in disbelief, almost frozen, thinking it would be over soon. When it was over, I finally mustered up the strength to get up and make my way to the bathroom. I felt so dirty and guilty. He made me bleed. I was angry and betrayed, and I just wanted him to die. And as it turns out, he had dropped that class, and hadn't told me. I talked to him about it later, but he didn't feel as though he had done anything wrong. I was so ashamed, and I didn't want my parents to find out, so I didn't report it. I didn't think I could deal with it, and I just wanted to forget it, but it doesn't go away. As much as I push it out of my memory, it always seems to make it's way to the surface. I am still angry, and I still cry sometimes. I could never forgive him for what he did to me. I wish I could tell people what to watch out for, but I trusted this person and even called him my friend.

anonymous from Houston, TX | 06-February-03
I was eighteen. I had just gotten a new job that I loved. I already had friends working there and was excited. We all partied hard for 3 months. I put in my 3 weeks notice and didn't want to say good bye. My third to last night on the job we all went out afterwards. I was underage so a few friends were feeding me drinks secretly in the bathroom. I just kept following them back for more. I had only drank 2 or 3 times before that. So, I was pretty messed up. One guy with us was caught underage drinking and we were asked to leave the bar. The cop escorted us out and I found that I could hardly stand.I grabbed ahold of one of the guys i worked with,X, and told him not to let me go because I couldn't stand. We left and drove to another club where they said the party was stil banging. I danced and drank for a few more hours and the whole room was spinning. I remember distinctly these two older ladies staring at me disapprovingly and pittifully like they felt sorry for me. I remember thinking, "What the fuck is their problem? I am just having fun." (I later remember him fingering as we danced on the dance floor)We left shortly after that and X grabbed me, I didn't care I coudn't walk. We came home with more people than left so I sat in X's lap, where he kept putting his hands down my pants but I the car was spinning and the driver must have been drunk because we were swerving the whole car ride home. My friend who i was staying with was taken home and I ended up back at X's place. Him and a friend were there with a couple of us girls. I laid down on the nearest bed while X went to the restroom and a few seconds later felt him pawing on me. I don't know how it happened, but the next thing I know I was naked and he was wandering around. I passed out and woke up again with him on top of me, I didn't know what was going on. He rolled over and pulled me on top of him and I realized he was inside of me. I also noticed a sharp pain. I flinched and he kept going for a little while and stopped and i rolled over and passed out. I woke up the next morning when X got outta bed and began collecting my clothes (I still haven't found a couple of things, but I don't care), his roomate sat up and said, "Have a Good Night?" and laughed. I muttered something and walked out the door. I went home and showered and cried in the shower with my roomate in the next room oblivious. I had to work with X for 2 more days, the night before we left we all went out again, but he stayed far away from me. His roomate said some ugly things to me, but that is the least of my problems. I told some of my friends we had slept ogether, but I was/am too ashamed to tell them the truth. The only person i did tell was my sister and she didn't believe me. She always told me I was a whore and that I "sleep with random guys". It killed me when she said that. All of the combined grief and guilt and blame i put on myself plus my sister and his friends' remarks led me to get into a bunch of meaningless acts with guys i met. Never sex though, I can't do it. My ex-boyfriend, my first boyfriend since that, was my first real relationship. I was/am still not ready for relationships and intimacy and I had to end things because I felt weird. Someday I'll be okay, but not yet. This is the first place where I have actually written or talked or told the whole story of that night. It feels good.

Rebecca from New York, NY | 20-December-02
I had known Nathan all throughout school. He was one of my best friends. About a year after high school it was pretty much an every night thing to have parties at my house. I did not feel unsafe because everyone there was someone I would have guaranteed would FUCK UP anyone who raped me-including Nathan. I felt safe to get drunk and pass out if I wanted to in MY house, with my brother and all of our good friends. I got smashed, blacked out and passed out on my Mom's bed. Next thing I know, I woke up already crying and wondering how I got to bed and changed clothes??? I walked into the living room, fell to my knees crying in front of all of my friends, with throwup all over me (mine). I knew without knowing that I had been raped because of the hurt. THAT HURT...I remembered the idea of trying to roll out from under someone and being pushed back. I remember having my legs thrown around someone and not being able to stop it. I remember hearing "I am going to fuck you hard, bitch". All was shadowy-but I knew it had happened. My brother pushed me into the bathroom and then threw shorts at me. This is when I realized that I had nothing on from my waist down. "How humiliating-everybody saw me naked"-I thought. My friends then ripped the naked Nathan out of the bed and beat him up. (I didn't even know it had been him until this point). How did he do it with all my friends there you ask? Well he lied and said he was going out for a walk, then came in a back way where no one would see him. The whole time they thought he was out walking. I woke up the next day and was so depressed, I wasn't sure if I had flirted with him, invited him in maybe etc., until my friends told me they had checked on me and I couldn't even talk. They even had to roll me over because they were afraid I would throw up. Not a proud moment, but I am sure I was unable to participate in a mutual coupling. No more parties at my house...people chose sides. My best friend had to ask if I was telling the truth (That hurt almost as much as the rape). Nathan told people I invited him in, but those there knew better. I didn't report him or press charges, because my psychology teacher(a man)told me that date rape victims hardly ever win and it turns out to be a lot of extra pain. But since then I have ran into him and he always runs (he knows what he did). I saw an old high school mate (male) at a rave who said "Yeah I heard what happened. That sucks...I heard he has done it 3 more times. He should quit doing that" La, dee, dee, da..As I was hyperventilating from this statement..he said "its okay man, good vibes man..good vibes!!!". I had so many repercussions from this 1 event. I slept 18 hrs a day, lost my job, gained a LOT of weight, and increased my drug use. I had so many issues about losing friends who had chose to believe him and worrying about them at the same time, dealing with the hurt that if I had done something maybe other girls wouldn't be losing their jobs, crying etc. One of the biggest problems was that since he had been my best friend-I missed him. I actually missed my rapist, and wished I could hang out with him. But that could never be again. I feel better having shared this-it was some time ago but the waves still shock through my life. I still have problems with security, trusting folks, and wanting to be/having to stop myself from being VERY promiscuous. The only advice I can give is to talk (I never saw a therapist until now-one grave mistake)and to do what you can to identify your rapist to the public. Don't feel that-oh it has been 3 yrs, I should be doing better. You are changed forever and you will always have to deal with it. It is not a come and go thing. But you can take the power back and use the event to make you stronger and better. So, having said that I offer an ear at roosterebecca@yahoo.com. Bless you. (All my love to my brother Matt and my friend Phil for helping the best they knew how).

anonymous from Boston, MA | 04-October-02
I think I was fifteen or maybe I was sixteen. These details have seemed to slip my mind. For a long time I pretended like it never happened and then one day I stopped pretending and faced reality.

I met him with my friend one day and we started to mess around, nothing really serious. We had only known each other for a week when it happened.

Sitting on the front steps of my friends porch I saw him walking towards me. It was getting late so he offered to walk me home. It's only a short walk and nothing will happen, I thought to myself. We walked a short distance and then he took me into the alley. We kissed and he started undressing me. Next thing I knew I was pressed against a car as he entered me anally. I begged him to stop as the tears flowed down my face. "It's ok I'll be done soon" was what he kept telling me. I stood there with my pants around my ankles clenching my fists trying to endure the pain and praying it would end soon. I asked again and again for him to stop. He finally satisfied himself and pulled out. I was left to pull my pants up and walk home in pain and degradation.

At the time I did not consider it rape. I never expressly said yes or no, but I realize now that I was taken advantage of. He was four years older than me. I was a virgin at the time so I figured this was how it should be. I didn't know what to do and how to make it stop. I blamed myself for it because I had not said no. It's not that I am easily controlled or manipulated but I felt like I had no voice. The shock and pain blurred my thoughts and I was unable to fully comprehend much. That night I went home and showered for an hour. Sex should not be like that, if you feel humiliated and taken advantage of afterwards, it is because you probably were and no one has the right to do this to you. I have just recently been able to admit that I was raped and I can finally move past it and get on with my life.

anonymous from Boston, MA | 12-September-02
They say that it could never happen to you and I believed that wholeheartedly. He was my crush of 2 whole summers, but the summer it happened, he was also my supervisor. I was ecstatic the day he drove me home and asked for my number because he thought I was cute. After that day we started seeing each other, mostly at his house. We would hang out and fool around; in the beginning it was a lot of fun. He was always a gentleman and never did anything I didnt want him to do, but then the 3 letter word came up and everything changed. He told me I wasnt ready to have sex so he wasnt going to pressure me to do it with him; I thought he was the greatest guy for saying that. I thought he really respected me. But then he started to mention it a lot, always ending his response with "Youre not ready." I guess that day he changed his mind. The whole event was a blur in my mind, not because I was drunk but because it all happened so quickly. We were on the couch fully clothed one minute, and in the next, he was naked and pulling me onto the floor beside him. He was so calm, and I so naive that I thought that maybe he wasnt as comfortable on the couch because he was a big guy. The whole time he kept reassuring me that everything was fine and to relax, "relax baby relax." I kept telling him to stop, that he was hurting me and to get off of me. All he kept saying was "relax," over and over again he said it. I tried to push him off of me, but my arms felt so weak and my body was doubletaking on the pain and the pleasure. It was my first time and it hurt a lot. I had tears in my eyes that wouldnt fall; all I wanted was for him to get off of me, "Get off of me, Get off." When it was all over I just laid there and couldnt move to sit up. He went into the bathroom and when he came out he asked if I was okay. All i said was, "Please take me home." And he did. He still has no idea that what he did was wrong, and that I didnt want him to rape me. I remember on my message machine the next day him saying how great a time he had, and that we should get together again. I laughed at first, and then burst into tears. I didnt tell anyone what happened that day until 4 months down the road; I told my best friend. It has been two years and she continues to be the only one who knows my pain. I have come a long way and am beginning to forget. Reading everyone elses stories makes me cry and I never know how to react besides because I wasnt drunk, drugged or physically hurt. I was just a foolish girl in love.

Meghan from Las Vegas, NV | 13-June-02
I'm sure my story sounds a lot like everyone else's, but I wouldn't know because I've never spoken to anyone about this. I've never met anyone or spoken to anyone who's been through an assault or a rape. I suppose that's my fault: for staying silent, for alienating myself from a world of help. But here it is.

I was fifteen, and had just moved to a new town. I was so desperate to make friends; new kid syndrome was something that perpetuated my actions for all of my growing up years. Anyway, when you're the new kid in town, you take what you can get. And what I could get, at this point, was a guy who liked to listen to me talk. His name was Zach, and I thought he was a truly genuine person, very sympathetic, and very sensitive (for a teenage guy, anyway). I poured out all of my frustrations to him about moving to new places, making new friends, and my pathetic lack of romance. I trusted him with the information that I was a die-hard romantic. I wanted someone to sweep me off my feet.

I wanted a goddamn happy ending.

Anyway, Zach always hugged on me and held me and told me that everything would turn out just fine, and weren't the two of us lucky to have each other for friends? These three years later, I don't feel lucky.

Zach was well-liked by my whole family, and as a result, my little brother invited Zach to his birthday party. When all the other guys went into the back room to play video games, Zach stayed with me in the living room. My parents, God bless them, had decided to get a hotel room for the night, to "let the kids have some fun without us hanging around so much."

To make a long and painful to recapture story short, he raped me on the sofa at my little brother's birthday party. I remember laying really stiffly through the whole thing thinking, "I didn't want this. It's happening anyway. Maybe this is supposed to happen." After he finished, I quietly got up, went to my room, and fell asleep.

A couple weeks later I left town and went to a clinic out in the middle of nowhere, was checked for pregnancy and STD's, and came out clean.

He moved a couple of months later when his dad and his step mother got divorced. I haven't seen him since then. However, someone at the high school approached me about two weeks after he moved with a check for $34 to reimburse him for some money he lent them.

I still have the check in my wallet. I still haven't told anyone. It's been almost three years, and I still don't really know what to do.

Panic from England | 13-June-02
Ok my story begins on Oct 8th 1999. I'm part of a worship band in a church. Once a year my church would rent a conference centre and we'd play there with other bands and have guest speakers and it was a really big thing.

This year was no different to the past years. Except a few minutes before my band was due to play its set I had to run back to the green room to change my shoes as the ones I was wearing were hurting my feet and I'd have to wear them for a long time.

I ran into the green room which was below the actual conference centre and down a long corridor with other dressing rooms. It was a bit out of the way and deserted.

In the far corner there was a table and my other shoes were at the back of this long table. I'm only 5"4 (very small) and so I had to stretch quite far to reach the other side of the table. I heard a click and then felt hands on my waist. But seeing as it was Ian, the new singer of the band I didn't feel threatened and thought he was just messing around.

I jokingly told him to get off me and he made some comment about this being what I had really wanted all along. I think he was referring to my flirting with him earlier in the day..... but I'm not sure. I tried to shrug him off but his grip was tighter and he forced me to turn around to face him. He started running his hands all over me and grab at my clothes. I was wearing blue jeans and a white top which crossed over my front and under that a thin white boob tube top because I was worried the other one was too low cut.

He ripped of the first top and cursed at the other one. I managed to scramble away but realised as I got to the door it was locked and he's taken the key out. He grabbed hold of me again and pinned me against another table. I started screaming and crying and I heard noise next door. He tried to cover my mouth but I bit him and yelled louder. Luke one of the sound techs started banging on the door but couldn't get it open so he yelled he'd be back with some of the others.

It went quiet and I started to panic as Ian entered me and started having sex with me. I screamed and cried and tried to bite him and push him off me but I'm so small and light I never really stood a chance.

The next thing I heard was people running down the corridor and I heard the lads banging on the door. They somehow managed to burst through the middle part of the door leaving the frame still standing and grab Ian off me. Leaving me crying and practically naked in the middle of the floor.

Thankfully my band mates are also my best friends and we share a house together so they've seen me in various states of undress before and so I didn't worry about being naked. I managed to get dressed with spare clothes from other band people and spare things I had of my own. And Chris our bass player's mum is a dr so she examined me and I didn't have to tell my family anything.

The reason I can't turn Ian into the police although the dr's report would back me up plus various witnesses is these witnesses along with other guys I know beat Ian up badly. They broke parts of his body and I'm scared that if I press charges my friends will get imprisoned. Plus I know Ian and still see him around and I know he wouldn't dare to risk hurting anyone again or the guy would def kill him this time. I know I should report him so that he can't hurt others but can u understand why I feel like I can't?

I hope my story didn't upset anyone but I wanted to share with you what had happened to me to try to help any of you in anyway I can.

Anonymous from Vail, CO | 13-May-02
One Friday night in April I was headed to the restaurant where I worked so I could hang out at the bar. I intended to meet some friends there but they had left before I got there. Since this is where I worked I knew most everyone that was there. I grabbed a beer and sat down. I began talking to a few guys at a bar table while we watched live music. Three of the guys were just regular customers and one guy was a fellow employee. One of the guys, "Bob", took a special interest in what I was wearing and how I smelled. (In the past I had had long drawn out conversations with this guy about situations in his life and situations in mine and I felt I had gotten to know him really well. My boyfriend and I had even had him over our house before.) I told him I was just going to have a beer and go home and he said that I looked too good to stay home on a Friday night. He asked if I wanted to go out to another bar after this one. I was in the mood to go out so I said yes. I even made it a point to mention that we would go out as "friends only" and that he shouldn't expect anything. He said fine and we left. On the way to the village in Vail he told me that I could drink as much as I wanted and that he would be my designated driver. I was so excited. I was overworked and really needed to get out and relax. I was with a guy that I trusted and he gave me the go ahead to have a blast. We bar hopped a bit and he bought all the drinks. I met a few different people and we hung out until the bar closed. Then Bob and I walked back to his truck to drive home. I got in the truck and he said he needed to pee really quickly, so I sat there and waited. He then came into view with his penis still in his hands. He asked me if I liked what I saw and I kind of chuckled and said "What the hell are you doing?" as I turned my head away. I thought he was just being stupid and trying to see if he could get lucky. He then finished up and got back into the truck. He started up the engine but left it in park. He unzipped his pants again and pulled out his penis. He asked me if I would give him a blow job and I said no. He asked a few more times and said he wouldn't tell anyone. I continued to say no and asked him to drive me home. No alarms went off in my head as I trusted this guy and never thought he would do anything to me that I did not want. We drove down the highway and I just kind of stared off into space - I was pretty drunk at this point and was happy to have a ride. Bob started to pull off at the exit before mine. I asked what he was doing and he said that he needed to check the security at a home at one of the resorts that he was doing construction at. I said okay and he continued to drive to the house. When we got there he asked if I wanted a tour and I said "Sure". This was a multimillion dollar home and I was curious what it looked like inside. He showed me what he was repairing and a bunch of different rooms. We then walked down to the basement where he showed me what he was repainting. He then said "Hey look! There's a Bed!" I rolled my eyes at him and said "Yeah, So?" THen I asked to use the bathroom. When I came back out of the bathroom he had his penis out of his pants and behind him I could see that he pulled back the covers on the bed. Slightly alarmed now, I asked him what was up and he stepped toward me telling me that "He was up" and that he wanted me. I repeated what I had told him before about how I was not interested. He pulled me close to him and began to kiss me. I kept saying no but he wouldn't stop. That's when the fear struck. This guy was at least twice my size (not to mention almost twice my age -I'm 23 and he's 39). I didn't know what to do. He was stronger and bigger than me and I had made it perfectly clear that I didn't want him. He pulled me into the bedroom and I froze. He took off my shirt and started kissing my skin. He then pushed me on the bed and started taking off my pants. I wanted to run. I wanted to scream. But who would hear me? It was 2 am and we were in a private home that no one was living in due to the construction. He finished taking off my clothes and jumped on top of me. I tried to squirm out of the way but he held my arm. He then put his fingers in me. I wanted to throw up. Why is he doing this? I trusted him? He continued touching me with his fingers and his mouth. I didn't know what do do and I couldn't get a sound out of my mouth. He began to rub his penis between my legs and I was afraid he would enter. Then I did the first thing that came to mind. I faked like I was having an orgasm and told him I was done. He asked if I wanted more and I squeaked "No". He then took my hand and put it on his penis. I yanked my hand away and he knocked me down onto the bed holding me down at my chest. He began to jerk off right by my face. I managed to squirm out of the way just as he came all over my chest. I felt so dirty. I tried to make like I wasn't upset because I just wanted to get home as soon as possible. And he was pretty much my only option. I ran to the bathroom and put on my clothes and when I came out he sat me down and told me not to tell anyone so my boyfriend wouldn't be mad at me. I couldn't believe he had the nerve to say that to me but I agreed and he drove me home. I smiled as I got out of the car and waited til he drove off, then I ran upstairs and scrubbed myself clean. I knew I should save the shower for later after I told someone but I couldn't stand it. I felt so dirty. I didn't want it. Did he think I wanted it? After my shower I crawled into bed next to my already sleeping boyfriend and cried myself to sleep. Did I do anythng wrong? Did I cheat on my boyfriend. Everytime I thought about it I wanted to throw up and cry. Bob came into the restaurant a day later and acted like nothing had happened. Still confused I pulled him aside and told him that I thought he took advantage of our friendship and my trust, and of me when I was drunk. He told me to give it time and that I'd get over it. He also reminded me that it would be our secret. Two days later I called a rape hotline. The woman on the other end of the phone asked me if I had been raped and I told her I didn't know. She referred me to a local counselor and I made an appointment. I told her the whole story. She dried my tears as I relived the events in that house. She told me that I had been raped and that if I wanted to go to the police or tell my boyfriend that she would help me. That night I decided to tell my boyfriend. His reaction was compassionate toward me although he wanted to go and kill Bob. We decided that we'd go to the police together so he wouldn't go do anything that would get him thrown in jail. I told the cop, who clearly didn't believe me and even accused me of flirting with Bob. He kept asking why I took so long to report it. I told him that I thought I reported it pretty quickly compared to the people that never tell. The case is still awaiting an answer from the District Attorney. In the meantime Bob has had the nerve to sue me for "slander" saying I made up the whole thing. That case is also still in the works. I thought I did the right thing by reporting it, but I've only been caused more heartache, stress, and financial hardship(lawyer fees, etc). Then I try to remember that by me reporting it, it will only make it easier for future rape victims. I just wish more victims reported thier rapes so mine would be easier to go through. I continue to go to my counseling and I read a lot of books on rape. I also keep a daily journal of my thoughts and feelings. I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel - I just can't see it yet.

Anonymous from New Paltz, NY | 22-April-02
Okay here's my story:

Just when I thought I was done with the names, the games, the mental abuse, the fights, the control, using sex as a weapon, the bloody noses, the police and the court dates, I find myself in a dangerousily similar situation.

It's been three years since I left an abusive relationship which took me over a year to end. Here I am again fighting the same battle. I find myself justifying the personal violations, guy number two is not as bad as guy number 1. The truth is it is all bad. The cylce continues, Father to lover, lover to lover.

They appear handsome and kind to all those around. The kind of guy any girl would love to bring home to meet the family, a true charmer but behind closed doors the nightmare continues. They have a constant need for control, what you wear, the way you wear your hair, who you talk to, where you work, what you buy, who you are.

The take you away from family and friends, they take you away from who you are, losing your identity makes you feel as if you need them and that's just what they want. You self esteem drops lower and lower. As the pain grows you feel helpless, alone, as if there is no way out. There is a way out and that is to break the cycle. I suggest if you have survived one not to look for another, take time for you, learn to heal the wounds, learn to love yourself.

The cycle for me all began with my father. My father walked out on my family when I as nine years old, without him I have always looked for a male figure to love and protect me. I have found myself looking in the wrong places and with the wrong people trying to find that missing peice. The truth is no man will heal my wounds, only I can heal the wounds left by my father. What has happened in our past affects who we are today, this is why it is so very important to adress these issues before carring then on with you throughout your life, they will only bring on more.

Anonymous from Boston, MA | 18-April-02
The most overwhelming thing about my account of sexual assault, and my feelings toward it, is that I feel guilty for even telling anyone about it. Not because I think I was at fault. In part it's because I know that other people's stories are so much worse. Reading this website has confirmed that. But I think that it's important to realize that ANY sexual violence against women - against girls - cannot be tolerated. For this reason, although it is not a story of rape, but rather one of sexual assault (or is there another way to describe what happened?), my story must be told.

In this scenario, I was the victim, the one being forced to do things against her will, but since it was My hand on His genitals, I did not know what to feel. I lost my innocence. I didn't want to. I am still unsure whether it is even appropriate to post this on a site such as this. But if not here, then where?

I was 14. He was two years older. We were on a date at the movies. My mother was uneasy about letting me go out on a date, but I saw it as her being overly protective and just not wanting me to grow up. In retrospect, her concern was valid.

We were sitting in the movie theater. I don't remember what movie we were watching. He had kissed me. He was my first kiss. It was exciting. That was not the problem. The problem is what followed.

He had been holding my hand. He had been slowly, sneakily, bringing my hand closer to his lap. So gradually that I didn't realize it until I felt my hands against his black jeans, the zipper. I felt his erection, disgusted and scared. As soon as I realized where my hand was, I tried to pull it away. He wouldn't let me. I told him quietly that I didn't want to. That's what I said - "I don't want to." I don't remember what he said. He had definitely heard me saying, repeatedly, that I didn't want to. He kept holding my hand there, forcefully. He was now forcing me to be where I didn't want to be. I tried REALLY hard to pull away. He wouldn't let me. He started unzipping his pants.

He made me touch his cock.

I absolutely could not believe it. We were in a public place, a movie theater. How could he be so shameless? How could he actually be doing this to me? What could I do? I was scared. He wouldn't let me move my hand. I was sure that anyone walking by who might see us would think that I was a slut. To the casual observer, who couldn't see the terror in my heart, tears in my eyes, or confusion in my mind, I thought that it would look like a morally lacking teenage girl feeling up her boyfriend. So I was scared. Scared of him the most, but also scared of what other people who saw would think. I knew he wouldn't let me go. I kept telling him I didn't want to. I didn't move my hand at all. I just kept it flat out and relaxed, trying to remain as passive as possible so that I could not be blamed for this and I would not later blame myself. But even though I protested, and was obviously not interested, he continued to hold me there. He moved my hand so that I was rubbing against his naked flesh. It was disgusting.

I couldn't leave, because I was in a strange town, and had no way to get home - my mom wouldn't be picking me up for another hour or maybe even two. I did not want this reprehensible male, who so clearly did not give a shit what I thought, felt, wanted, didn't want, feared, the only person I knew in these unfamliar surroundings, to follow me out if I left. If he did these horrible things when anyone could have been looking, God only knows what he would have done if he could have gotten me alone as I was leaving. So I felt I had to stay. Looking back, I should have screamed. I should have punched him in the groin or otherwised tried to hurt him. But everything was surreal. I could not think rationally.

This was my first experience with a boy. I knew enough to know that this wasn't how it was supposed to go. I didn't know who to tell. I thought they would blame me. On some level, I still feel like they will. Like somehow I should've been stronger, I should've known what to do in that situation. Physically I survived the ordeal unchanged. But mentally... I will never be the same. The combination of absolute powerlessness with an outward appearance of being the one in control is something that is hard to reconcile or make anyone understand.

Anonymous from Philadelphia, PA | 31-March-02
I remember getting ready to leave for college, nothing could bring my spirits down, when my rape happened. I call it MINE, because I think HE believes he GAVE it to me, like a gift, that's the only way I can fathom what was going on in his mind.

It was about three weeks before I was to leave for school, and I was with my girlfriends, trying to spend some quality time with them before I left. I knew everyone I was with and trusted them, so I still can't understand just how it happened to me. Some guys who went to High School with us came over, and they were drinking, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I knew them, but there was never anything romantic between any of us. Well, I don't drink much and I wasn't at all that night, I had worked all day and just felt like relaxing. It got late and while some people left, some fell asleep at my friend's house. I was on the couch in the living room, and I remember falling asleep with the lights on, and two of my girlfriends in the room. By this time, there were only 5 or 6 people still there. The next thing I know, I am roused awake by the force of someone on top of me. At first I thought I was dreaming, but he had my wrists pinned and an elbow over my throat. It was completely dark in the room and I knew I was all alone because someone would have come to my rescue otherwise. I knew who it was my the sliver of moonlight coming in the window and reflecting off his skin. This couldn't be happening to me. He told me if I made a sound he would kill me, that no one would find me, no one was around. Wow, the most popular guy at our school, raping me. I didn't know what to do. I guess HE thought I should be roaring to go--I wasn't. Now I realize, almost five years later, I would have rather been physically hurt than have to deal with carrying THIS pain the rest of my life.

I don't recall a lot of what happened next, but he had me pinned down and he was so strong, no matter which way I struggled, he countered it. He forced himself on me, in me, and eventually, either God gave me the strength to push him off me, or he just got tired of fighting me, but I was able to get up. It was then I realized, no matter how strong I think I am, I can become a victim anytime. I grabbed my keys and took off. I drove then, for hours, I don't even know where, I thought about just driving off a cliff. Did he do this to other girls? What did I do to deserve this? Should I go to the police? I know I wasn't rational, but I did not go get help then. I believed, and still do, if my family found out, my brother would kill him without a second thought. I would rather this man burn in Hell for eternity than see my family torn apart by my victimization.

I carry my rape with me everywhere I go, it is part of me and I can't deny that. I know that it should never happen to anyone, but I am also aware that I am strong enough to learn from it and not let it grow into hatred and fear anymore. I can't say I trust men, and I can't say I will ever marry. I can't even say I will ever love someone now, that is what he took from me, my heart. It is a scary thing to know that some people are such cowards the only way they can make themselves feel secure is by shattering someone else's fragile world. My wounded heart goes out to all those who have survived.

Dionne Coleman from Hammond, IN | 25-March-02
At some point during high school, I worked at a restaurant that my Mom was a manager. It was only one of a few jobs I had as a teenager, but it was by far the most fun. It was a great atmosphere and a lot of teens worked there.

There was a guy that worked there, that I failed to mention before. He was very different from the other guys that I hung out with. He was very tall, his skin was very pale, he had pitch black hair and these piercing blue eyes. He intrigued me. I found him to be mysterious and he definetly had that "rebel" edge to him...just what I was looking for.

We flirted back and forth at work. Our attraction to one another was pretty obvious to everyone else. My Mom wasn't too thrilled. She thought he was a bit "odd", but I remember others telling me to be careful, too, that he seemed a bit "off" to them. Kind of "creepy", I remember someone saying. I just thought he was a "bad boy", wild and crazy and just what I wanted in a guy.

We partied a few times together, and eventually got to know each other on a more personal level. He was having his own problems at home and so on some level we were able to identify with each other.

He claimed to be part of a cult in our area. There was an old Ovaltine factory that was shut down, that there were always rumors of "Satanic" stuff going on there. He claimed to know of it and had actually been involved in some "sacrifices" and other bizarre stuff. I don't know that I totally believed him, but he was weird enough that I didn't really question it, either. He listened to really crazy, sadistic music and I guess, thinking back now, he did scare me a little, but, I was immature and liked to live on the edge and so...I went along with whatever he said.

I remember something happening at my house, with my Mom and Bill. What exactly, I don't remember, some fight between myself and Bill probably, or a disagreement with my Mom.

But, I left the house, and went to work I believe, and there told Jack that I wanted to run away. He always was talking about it and so was game when I brought it up. After work that night, I went to his house and we were making plans from there to leave to Arizona in the morning. (He had a friend out there). We were going to first take a train to Chicago, where a friend owed him some money and then head to Arizona from there.

That night at his house, I saw what should have been my first "hint" to just how scary he was.

The walls in his bedroom had strange writings on them, in what he claimed was satanic stuff.

There was an ax stuck through the wall, with fake "blood" splattered all over the wall and little doll heads, with the fake blood on them all about his room. I guess then, I just thought he was "cool"....in a scary way....

I just wanted to get away from home and he was my ticket out, or so I thought.

We took a train the next morning to his friends house (who was actually a guy we worked with) to pick up his money. He lived on the south side of Chicago, in a REALLY bad place.

When we got there we were invited to stay and party, which we were both into and so, decided to stay for a while. The party turned into a week long blur, of beer, drugs and the end of the innocence.

My Nightmare

I remember several times during the week wanting to go home...but, being afraid of what would happen once I got there. So, I stayed in that filthy house, with the roaches and food all over the damn place and everyone there high or drunk. It was disgusting and somewhere I never should have been, doing things I never should have been doing or being subjected to.

The last night I was there, was one night too long...

Jack and some of the others had left to get some more drugs and booze and I stayed behind, because we were planning on leaving to Arizona the following morning and I wanted to sleep.

I was awakened by banging on the door to the bedroom we were staying in. I had locked it, only because of all the strange people coming and going, I didn't want some weirdo coming in at their leisure. When I asked who it was, he said, "Jack, let me in". So, I unlocked the door and started to walk back to the bed. He said, "Take your clothes off, I'm gonna fuck you good".

I just chuckled and kept going towards the bed. He grabbed me and said, "I'm gonna fuck you like the little whore you are". I tried to push him away, but he grabbed my hair and flung me onto the bed. When I went to get up, he pulled a switchblade out and told me to "just take it easy", that there was no reason to be scared, he wasn't going to hurt me, just "fuck my little prissy, virgin ass". He pushed me down onto the bed and cut my panties off at the sides and then put the handle of the switchblade inside me, not forcefully, but taunting me with it.

He bit and pinched my breasts and told me to roll over. When I resisted he acted as though he was going to put the blade into me and so I rolled onto my stomach. He then proceeded to penetrate me anally, punching me in the back, calling me a whore and a little cry-baby. I tried to get up, but he would punch me right in the center of my back, it was taking my breath away. He then rolled me over and went down on me, biting the inside of my thighs and squeezing my breasts so hard, he left bruises. He kept asking me "if it was good" and "why are you crying" and calling me a "fucking baby".

He then crawled on top of me and put my arms above my head, and kneeled up on my shoulders and told me to "suck his cock"...I held my breath and he started thrusting his penis into my face, hard, and I blacked out.

When I came to, he was inside me, saying "I thought maybe I was fucking a dead chic".

He had the switchblade at my breasts and kept asking if he could "slice one for a souveneir".

I remember the tears rolling down the side of my face and the complete "numbness" I felt.

There wasn't any pain then...I "removed" myself mentally from that bed, from that monster...I wanted to die. I kept holding my breath, hoping I would just stop breathing, but I kept waking up.

He stood up over me and asked why I was shaking? If I was cold? He stood straddling me and urinated up and down my body, to "warm me up". I threw up and he turned my face over into it and penetrated me anally again, pressing my face into the vomit. I didn't have to hold my breath that time...I just passed out from sheer terror.

What I remember next is his fingers inside me, all his fingers, like he had his whole hand in there. I told him to please stop, that I had to pee, and that he was hurting me, that it was burning. He said, "So, piss then." I tried to get up and he said, "No, piss right here". Well, his hand was still up inside me and I said, "I can't". He said, "Piss right here, or I'll slice you". And he kept chanting, "Slice and dice, slice and dice...", over and over again. I told him to please take his hand out and I would. He did and I did. And he laughed and said, "Look at the wittle baby, pissing in the bed". He just kept laughing and laughing. And I cried until I had no tears left.

The Morning Always Comes

He fell asleep at one point and I thought about getting up and trying to get away, that was when I realized I couldn't move. I was in so much pain and my head was pounding so hard I thought for sure it would explode. I lay there shaking uncontrollably. I don't know if I was cold or in shock. Probably a little of both.

I looked to the window and could see it was just starting to get light out. Morning had come after all, taking the darkness away. The sun was coming up...I couldn't believe after the night of horror I had been through that the sun had the audacity to shine.

I looked to where he lay and he started to stir and wake up. He looked at me and smiled and said something like, "Good morning beautiful", and started laughing. He got dressed and told me to get washed up and dressed and that he would be back later , so we could leave for Arizona.

I remember watching as he got dressed, so afraid that he would come back to the bed. I was shivering so bad, and I felt like I was going to throw up. I was dizzy and scared and just prayed he would go away.

He walked out and I lay looking out the window, listening to the birds sing and seeing the sunshine glistening off the snow, all the beautiful snowy sparkles and I remembered times as a child laying out there making snow angels and catching snow flakes on my tongue and making a snowman with my brother and sister.

She was gone...that child no longer existed.

He stole my innocence and my life in one vicious attack. He changed the very soul of my being, forever.

Today at age 30, after 14 years of keeping my secret, hating myself and living with such anger.I have begun to heal. Through counseling and a strong support of friends and family, I have learned that I can cry and that I am not weak because of it. That I can hurt, I am allowed. That what happened to me was NOT MY FAULT. That under no circumstances did I deserve the horror that I experienced. That I OWN my experience and no one can take that from me, make it "go away" or lessen my pain. That I am important, worthy, smart & strong!

I am not a victim.

I am a rape SURVIVOR!

Anonymous from Indianapolis, IN | 24-March-02
Thanksgiving 1996... My partner and I decided to take a break.  Sexual relations were taking over any form of purity that we had.  Hearts break and they heal again like so many cuts that we experience.  We all want to be held so naturally I decided to take a stand towards the horizon.  Now I'm alone.  Now I'm free.  It was time to experience life.

I met a man who was 10 years more experienced.  He was quiet until he laughed.  It had the most unattractive sound.  He was able to feel life and his name was Jaime.

Jaime was a friend of Jason who was a man my sister Stephanie was seeing at the time.  Stephanie and I used to go to watch them skateboard together quite frequently.  Skateboarding was a big part of Jamie's life... that and dealing drugs.

During one conversation I had with Jaime, we were talking about birthdays.  When I discovered that his birthday was on Thanksgiving, I immediately offered to celebrate with him.  Celebrating birthdays are so important to me.  I go out of my way to make sure a person that I know has the best time that day.

Thanksgiving was finally here and it was time for me to stuff my face and like most 16 year-olds, hide from my annoyingly loud family.  Besides, I had a birthday party to attend to in the evening.  I was picked up around 6 p.m. and we drove to his apartment.

The Ren and Stimpy marathon was on Nickelodeon.  There was silence for the first half-hour.  We made eye contact and I stated "Happy Birthday, I hope you're having a good time."  He kissed me.

His power was soon to take over.  It all happened so fast.  Before I knew it, he ripped off my pants and forced my legs open.  I tried to resist,  "NO!" I screamed over and over again.  "We can't do this."  He then pinned my arms down and when I tried to move he pressed harder.  He ignored any of my screams.

There was soon a knock at the door.  Someone heard me and Jaime forced me into the bedroom where I had remained quiet while he went downstairs to "straighten things out."  He wasn't done with me and I was too scared to move.  Trying to find an escape was in my head.  "What could I possibly do to get out of here?"  Grabbing my clothes, I was just going to run.  I was caught.  My heart was pounding the whole time.  I was pushed onto the bed where my pants were removed again.

Pressing my eyes tighter and tighter... I was hoping the pain would just go away.  With my head turned to the side I found myself holding my breath as much as I could.  My arms were by my head... being held down by one hand.  His other hand was on my hip.  I heard him moaning... just under his breath, he said "Oh, yeah" as he ejaculated within me.  All I could do was lay there.  All I could do was close my eyes and cry.

Once he was done, he left the room to take a shower.  I quickly started to search his room to find something with his full name.  I found a letter written to him but I couldn't read the writing.  Still to this day, I don't know why I didn't take the letter.  I didn't even run out of the house... I was too scared.

I was soon taken home.

I thought that I would never see him again until I saw him standing by the entrance of The Emerson (a music venue in Indianapolis).  He was holding a girl's hand and she was probably my age.  I stood up walking towards him.  I had no fear because I was surrounded by people that cared about me.  As soon as he saw me, he ran away with her before I could do anything.

I hope she's okay.

Anonymous from Willimantic, CT | 12-March-02
We were both nineteen.  He worked in the dorm cafeteria that I ate at every night.  My roommate and I thought he was kinda cute.  We watched him play drums in a concert a few weeks before the big semi-formal.  We thought he was cute.  His family happened to be sitting in front of us at the concert.  His mom and dad and two younger sisters came to watch him play.  He came out to say hi to them during intermission.  What a nice guy - what a lovely family!

The night of the semi-formal I was so excited - and so drunk.  I was a sophomore in college.  We all piled into the bus and headed to the dance hall.  There was free beer all night long . . and we took advantage of that.  I was standing in a daze admist the lights and smoke and blaring music.

He came up to me - from out of no where.  He smiled.  He had a great smile.  He put his hand under my chin to make me look into his eyes - big brown eyes.  He kissed me.  We danced and kissed and it was wonderful.

"What's your name?" I finally asked.  "Dan".  We floated around the dance floor and then he asked me to come outside with him.  We walked to the foyer holding hands, and out the door.  I watched my friends surprised faces as I left with Dan.

Suddenly I stopped, aware that it was raining and cold.  It was a November night, right before Thanksgiving.  November 21st, 1997.  I watched the rain splashing out of the gutter on the side of the dance hall.

"No wait!"  I said,  "It's raining!"  He grabbed my hand and pulled me up the grassy hill, over to a grove of pine trees.  "It's not raining over here" he smirked.

I watched my feet as we ran up the hill.  My legs were numb.  I watched my feet encased in the shoes I had bought a few months earlier with a friend on a bright sunny day.  Now I was running up the hill with Dan in the rain.

He started kissing me . . pressing me up against the tree, shoving his hand under my skirt, under my panty hose, between my legs.

I fell onto my knees, hoping to be rid of his hand . . the situation was like a slide show in my head . . black and white, slow moving, surreal.  I heard a noise . . a zipper un-zipping.  "Just suck it baby".  The voice was strange, foreign . . and the hand on the back of my head was firm.

I finally managed to stop and say "No . . no no no, I can't"  He dismissed my words and obvious state of helplessness.  He was trying to get behind me, on top of me . . trying to pull down my panty hose from behind . . "no no no no" I kept saying . . my mind reeling in slow motion . . like a horror movie.

"In the movies this is where the girl get's raped" I thought "He seemed to have such a nice family" I thought.

I knew what was coming . . I saved up my voice, any remaining strength.  He had me on my back, in the Oak leaves and pine needles, in the dark, in the rain, on the hill.  He was over me, and I pushed as hard as I could and shouted "NO!"

He helped me up.  A man from the dance hall came out to "make sure everything was OK" Dan grabbed my hand and led me back inside the hall, smiling.  I looked at him as we walked into the building and wondered why his shirt was untucked.

My friends found me and asked me why I had leaves and pine needles in my hair . . why my panty hose were torn.  I hugged them and sobbed . . I was a zombie on the bus ride back.  I took a hot shower with lots of soap and curled up into a ball and slept that way all night.

I couldn't understand why for days and weeks afterward I shook.  Why I panicked when I saw Dan and his friends in the cafeteria again.  Why I started smoking cigarettes to cloud my mind and body.

Why I was the one feeling guilty and that I had done something wrong.  Why I became depressed and dropped out of classes . . why I dropped out of life.  Why I stared at that bottle of sleeping pills every night for months . . wondering how else to make the terrible feelings and horrible memories stop crashing around in my skull.

It was too late for the police . . too late to take it back . . too late . . but it wasn't too late for me.

I told Dan what he did to me.  I let him and his wonderful family know exactly what he did to me.  He and they were shocked.

He hasn't won.  He has to live with what he's done . . and I am the survivor.  I am the person who is strong enough to go on and work for the cause.  To try to protect others in similar situations, to educate people about rape and violence against women, and to stop this terrible, horrible thing from happening over and over again.

I was only 19 when my life changed forever.

Anonymous from Waltham, MA | 06-March-02
i was still 17, 6 months ago - just 2 more months until i'd be a 'legal'.  i was still anxious, nervous, and excited about being in america for the first time, for being without my parents for the first time, and for finally becoming a college student.  seth had given me tidbits about college and the new town i'd get used to: what to remember to bring to college, what waltham was like, the the weather was like... and exactly one week after my arrival in america - thursday august the 30th, he wanted to show my around 'my' new town.  he wanted to show me his two chihuahua puppies as well.  he took me to his place to "show" me "before" he "showed" me "around town".  he showed me his sister's bedroom last.  remarked about how much his sister loved putting up pictures on her wall.

i cried, screamed, bled, pushed.  he pushed me down, pulled me off the bed halfway, forced himself into me vaginally and anally, wiped blood off me, and continued raping me.

i lost my virginity, and i lost my ideal belief that every single person in the world had SOME traits good about him/her.

that was my first time in america, my first week in america, the first time i didn't have my parents with me, all just 6 months ago.

Brenna from Plattsburgh, NY | 01-March-02
My tale of being raped at the age of fourteen is filled with anger, not only toward my perpetrator, but toward the patriarchal systems and structures that fail to protect my sisters and I from gender-based acts of violence. I am not a victim. I am a warrior. . . .

If I followed the rules, why was I still raped? Fletcher wasn't a scraggly stranger who grabbed me in a dark alley. No one told me that 80% of sexual assaults are by people we know. Fletcher was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed star football player and wrestler, and his uncle was the high school principal. I was excited when half of the football team showed up at my door. I was just a nerdy freshman, and they were all so hot. I was flattered when Fletcher took me into the bathroom to make out with me. I definitely consented to kissing on the floor near the toilet, but I was just too naďve. I must have led him on. The pain in his pants must have been excruciating; he couldn't stop himself. Bullshit. "If rape is sexual than killing with a knife is just cooking."

I didn't consent to having sex in the attic. But I didn't say no. I didn't fight back. I did cry. It's easy to become desensitized when womyn are transformed into statistics. Twenty-five percent of college-age womyn will be victims of sexual assault; however, the statistics don't show the faces and pain behind these numbers. I was a petite fourteen-year-old, and he was a muscular seventeen-year-old football player. Although I don't recall how I made it up the stairs to the attic, or what was said, I do remember the intense burning of my flesh being torn open. A womyn's body is designed to prepare for penetration. The vagina becomes lubricated and the cervix repositions to allow the penis to enter. These physiological changes, which are intended to prevent pain, do not occur in an unconscious womyn.

My rape did not end when Fletcher left my house that cold December night. Rumors quickly spread, and I could not escape the giggles and pointed fingers targeted at me. I was raped on Friday night. On Monday morning I walked down the high school hallway lined with lockers and groups of girls smirking and laughing. As much as I tried to ignore comments like "Someone's not a virgin anymore" and "Fucking slut," I had difficult sitting through classes. I felt my classmates' gaze burn on my back as I left the classroom with tear-filled eyes. Sitting alone on a cold sterile floor of a pink tiled bathroom, the smell of cigarette smoke and cheap perfume lingering in the musty air was my therapy. Although my self-made rape crisis center didn't provide pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease testing, a counselor or legal advocate, it still provided comfort and an escape from the snickering.

My best friends even blamed me. One of my friends had had a crush on Fletcher, and she felt deceived because I had slept with him. When I tried to commit suicide by consuming various prescription pills, my friends said I was merely trying to get more attention, as if I didn't have enough already. My guidance counselor, having heard the rumors, called me down to her office one day. She had heard I had a crazy party (her son had been there), and asked if I wanted to talk about anything. I couldn't look her in the eye as I hung my head down. She told me I had mysterious eyes, and sent me back to class. She neglected to provide me with any information about rape or alcohol abuse. At a womyn's studies forum on sexual assault, I learned that studies have shown the treatment of rape survivors may have more of a psychological impact than the actual rape. No one encouraged me to prosecute Fletcher, let alone tell anyone my story. Only one or two people even used the term rape. 1994. Seventy-four years after women gained the right to vote, and womyn are still the victims of a violent war.

Fletcher told me a few days after he raped me that it takes two to tango. I was all over him, and he thought I was a drunken slut anyway. These days any womyn who speaks her mind is a slut, so we must deserve to be raped. He probably slept better at night thinking I had asked for it.

Seven years later I still have difficulty admitting I was raped. I occasionally blame myself for kissing Fletcher and for being drunk. Since I failed to file a police report, I sometimes don't believe he even committed a crime. He might have made a bad decision, but because he was not held accountable for his actions he will never know his behavior was wrong. It's not surprisingly that I blame myself, though. Sexual intercourse with a "mentally incapacitated" victim was not acknowledged until the New York Assault reform Act, which applies to crimes committed on or after February 1, 2001 (Clute). A lot of good that did me in '94.