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Other Experiences of Sexual Violence Description
Take Back the News recognizes that each survivor’s experience with sexual violence is different. If you do not see your story of survival in any of these areas of experiences, you may choose to post your story in this section.

Writing Prompts
“I wasn’t ‘technically’ raped, but…”
“When I went for my HIV test…”
"The thought that he was a 'peeping Tom'..."

Myra Davis from Glenolden, Pennsylvania | 28-April-08
My Uncle is an Infamous Serial Rapist and Killer: At the age of two; while he was then ten: I was his victim. Unfortunately my sexual abuse will continue with Mom's boyfriends and at age seven I will experience an additional Rape by a stranger on the way to school one day. Unfortunately; by the time I'm twelve after continuously suffering physical abuse at the hands of my mother... ?My Uncle's sister?. I became severely suicidal and depressed. After multiple attempts of suicide and numerous hospitalizations I am ready to learn how to live. I?ve been running my entire LIFE. RAPE! affects every aspect of one?s being. It becomes one's FINGERPRINTS. My life has been hell. Currently trying to survive the end of a 14 year abusive marriage. I have been married five times: quite FRANKLY; I'm not even sure I like MEN. Through my pain I have written: ?An Untimely Beginning?; it is a story of dealing with ABUSE. Victims almost never tell all. My story does. Please help LIBERATE my soul.

Anonymous from Marion, Illinois | 15-July-07
I was recently dating an older gentleman who is a dispatcher for the Marion, Illinois police department.  This man lured me into his life through the Mexican restaurants that he co-owns in Marion, Herrin and Murphysboro, IL.  He treated me as a slave, took me for money.  He has a history of using younger women and is now going after a 31 year old in Herrin.  He seems to get away with this because of his authority within the city of Marion.

Anonymous from Minneapolis, Minnesota | 25-April-07
Since birth, rape and sexual violence have impacted my life, shaping who I am over the course of my life. No, that statement is inaccurate.  Rape has not shaped my life since birth.  It has shaped my life since conception. In February of 1980, my biological mother did the unthinkable.  She violated societal norms: she fled her abusive marriage.  There were no battered shelters to turn to, no centers for help.  At that time in South Korea, fleeing one's husband or ending one's marriage was taboo. Shortly after she fled, my biological father tracked her down. Brutally beat her.  Brutally raped her.  She nearly died. He left her for dead in a stairwell. Yet nine months later, I was born in a home for unwed mothers in South Korea.  As a Catholic, abortion was never an option for her. I too am Catholic.  And not a day goes by that I don't think she made the wrong decision. I enjoy existing; I appreciate life. But I also appreciate reproductive rights.  Were I ever raped, I would have an abortion. I marvel at the stupidity of her decision. And yet, I am grateful. To this day, my biological father does not know I was born.  He is somewhere in South Korea, thousands of miles away from my world and my life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I abhor rape, yet my life is the product of it.  Were it not for rape, I would not exist.  It is an odd feeling, a hollow feeling, to owe your being to rape.

My biological mother asserts, in her statements to the adoption agency, that she was not raped.  She states she fled him, he tracked her down, and he then "made her pregnant." I understand, in part, that thinking. South Korean culture did not recognize marital rape.  Legally, it was impossible for a man to rape his wife. Conjugal rights were the law of the land. And that mindset exists here in the United States. After birth, my biological mother gave me a gift -- new parents, new country, new opportunities, new freedoms -- yet how free am I in the United States? In every country I have been to -- United States, Switzerland, France -- sexual violence has shadowed me. I have been the almost-victim so many times. I too can recount the cliché story: A friend of a friend gave me a ride home from a party.  He attacked me.  Or attempted to.  Drunk and sick, I vomited all over his car. Disgusted, he lost interest in raping me.  He used my hair (rather long) and shirt to mop up the vomit.  And drove me home.  I was too sick to protest.  He carried me up the stairs.  Brought me a glass of water. I got off lucky, some friends say.  But did I? The guy actually called me the next day and left a friendly, chatty voicemail.  No feeling of guilt.  Or remorse.  Or accountability.  No belief that he had done or attempted to do anything wrong. Just like my biological father does not believe he raped my biological mother. I have come to assume that rape will always haunt me, always be an integral part of who I am. Because I was born as the finished product of rape.  Because I literally embody rape.  Because of my past experiences.  And especially because of the society I live in. And I have also come to assume that one day, like my biological mother, I too shall be consumed by rape.

Tiffany Twist from Minneapolis, MN | 25-January-05
Below is an excerpt from my book, TIFFANY TWISTED, exposed, unraveled, rewritten (June 2004 by et al Publishing ISBN: 1931945179) Available at www.tiffanytwisted.com or Amazon.com--God bless the child who suffers.


I thought about bringing a gun over there. Not just some little pistol. I had a statement to make. And a statement like this required one of those big shotguns, one that would bring hell itself into the eyes of its beholder.

I would drive up that street. I can't believe he still lives there. Its like triple torture knowing my stepbrother lives in the same house that holds the memories of what caused a lifetime of inner madness in me, torture knowing I could find him anytime my rage boiled beyond control, and torture knowing I could fulfill my dreams of revenge.

According to my fantasy, I pull up to that house, open the trunk, and remove "my statement." I walk slowly up the driveway.

I see a man slide out from under his car. I stop and take in his greasy hair, torn clothes, darkened teeth, and when I decide this is the grown version of my tormentor, I approach him and lift the long heavy barrel to his forehead, let him pause, then panic as his thoughts raced to who, why?

Just then, like a sudden, unexpected wave, this dark scene I envision changes into another completely different scenario that plays out within my mind.

I see a little girl about five years old. She tosses a small rock into little chalked out squares on the sidewalk, and a little boy, maybe ten, as he plays catch with his dad. I see a beautiful woman, she stands in the doorway and wipes her hands on a dish towel, watches her family with a smile.

If I were to walk into this happy scenario, with despise in my eyes and a shotgun in my hands, I'd look like a crazed maniac. Part of me didn't care. But I let the gun slip from my hands and drop to the ground as I listened to the part of me that did.


The thought hadn't occurred to me before. Children being raised by a mad man?

I ask myself about the little girl in her pink dress and lacy socks with blonde curls bouncing up and down as she played hopscotch. Is she safe? Was he doing it to her?

I pondered the little girl and wondered how many adolescent sexual predators turned into adult predators and went on to abuse their own children. The thought made me shudder and want to shoot him all the more.

But I’m not the murdering type. I must have learned somewhere along the line we aren't to kill other people out of anger, revenge, or any such emotion. I couldn't hurt anybody, not like that.

I would be more likely to turn the gun onto myself and kill the pain, not the cause.

It wasn't until after years of attempting to kill the emotional pain, without success, that I began to focus my anger on the cause with such fantasies of revenge and murder like the one before.

In the beginning the cause of my emotional pain rarely even entered my mind the brutality, the injustice. I only felt the pain, which was so strong it never let me get past it. The pain, the pain, the pain. Right there on top of the cause, hiding it, keeping it concealed like a huge, cement cover upon the soul. Heavy and overbearing, making itself so prominent, so strongly felt by the pain bearer, the cause goes unnoticed.

And if by chance the cause gets noticed, is recognized, or acknowledged, our beliefs about our situation or tormentor usually block any sort of process to healing. The hateful memories of the person or incident really only add bitterness to our soul, resentment to our core.

When we remember or fantasize about the tormentor or incident we relive the intimidation. We relive our powerlessness. We relive our helplessness. We relive our agony, and we stifle the very breath within our lives. We want to stay away from the memories and the hurt as long as possible, but by hiding, without searching, without rewriting, without changing our minds, we sit in anger and bitterness, we waddle in self loathing and self defeat, we forfeit happiness, we forfeit destiny, we forfeit life.

A beast devours.
An animal
Takes what is not his.
Walks away,
Leaving his kill,

The above excerpt from TIFFANY TWISTED, exposed, unraveled, rewritten (June 2004 by et al.) is copyright 2004 Tiffany Twist, all rights reserved.

Tiffany Twist
author, TIFFANY TWISTED, exposed, unraveled, rewritten

Loonwomon from Boston, MA | 28-June-04
I am a victim of an unseen war.

I am a victim of an unseen war,
A war that goes on behind closed doors
In bedrooms
And bar rooms
And motel rooms
And in front of movie cameras for pornography films.
I will not move amongst my silences weeping.
I will rise to the accompaniment of wimmin singing,
And shout out the truth of pain and degradation.

I will not shy
from my own touch on my breast.
I will reclaim my body
From the fists
that held it
in one hand
While they exchanged money
with the other
Dropping me like a sack of garbage
into the beds of strangers.
Finding no love between their groping fingers
I recoiled
removed myself from my body
While the dirty deed was done.
I will not surrender to the white middle class
streets of my childhood
With their vacant laughter
mocking me
in the teenage whore garb.
What kind of Mother turns over
her daughter to pimps
and reclaims her at four in the morning
on a school night?
What kind of father drinks
himself into a stupor
reads his Playboy
and goes to bed early
Knowing his wife and child
are somewhere to all hours of the night?
Denial was served with toast and coffee.
No one noticed the tortured girlchild bearing scars
so blatant
so round
so perfect
they could not be mistaken for anything else.
Hidden behind sleeves
behind long skirts
behind turtlenecks
Hidden inside a turtle shell
under layers and layers of survival.
The child emerges
peeping at a world
That once blamed her
for child prostitution
That once shamed her
for being raped in child pornography
That once blamed her
for wielding the knife
in the snuff films.

She emerges into me.

I compassionately embrace her
Longing to look into her eyes
But they are the same as my own.

From the Child

Nobody out there
Seems to know what it's like in here
To live with unseen horror
That comes up for viewing
when you least expect it.
I have little control over
witnessing pornography click
of the hardcore variety click
perpetrated on my body click
The memories shatter
moments of peaceful contemplation
With pain horror degradation
and the infinite greed of males.

I run
But there is no hiding
from the pornography
that was my life
as a little girl, teen,
and young womon.

Not the least amount of freedom
Just the farthest thing from freedom
tied down
They now hold my body hostage
Being raped and tortured click
And tortured and raped click
And degraded and dragged
through the gutters of abuser's minds click
As each new perpetrator
clicks on whatever website happens to be
portraying me naked.

No! No! No!
I shout out
I run
from the thought
But there's a rapist
in every corner of my brain.
And it hurts.
It hurts when I hear wimmin?
Yes, wimmin, defending pornography
as "freedom of speech."
Just how being raped became "speech" is a mystery not yet
Webster's defines speech as
"The faculty of uttering articulate sounds ...
communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words."
Not once does it mention pictures
Let alone pornography.

The only freedom I've had
is since I got away
from the pornographers
who owned and sold my body click
The rich, rich white pimps
my mother was in obeisance to
Who still own and sell
the pictures of my body click
But yet I am not free
of the pictures
They are in my mind
my body memories
my flashbacks.
I will never go back.
But I am forced to rerun click
the reruns click
That I wonder are now
at this very moment being rerun
on the Internet click
This very instant being defended
as freedom of speech click

I am victim of an unseen war
A war that goes on behind closed doors
Every 9 seconds a womon is beaten
Every 30 seconds a womom is raped
Now with the advent of the internet click
Every second click
Of every day click
A womon can be viewed
being tortured
being raped
being degraded in pornography.

It is time to STOP calling this
"freedom of speech"
And recognize it
as the documentation of crimes
that it is.

Anonymous from Arlington, VA | 24-May-04
I don't remember much. I have one frozen image, looking up at the bottom of the shelf above the bed in the guest room, where my grandmother kept her doll collection. I would cross my eyes and focus on the colors in the pieces of fabric that appeared over the edge of the shelf. His hands, invasive. His voice. All a blur, a dead hum. I don't know how early it started. I know it continued up until he became too sick to live at home -- pancreatic cancer -- and was transferred to a hospice facility. I didn't cry. I still can't, fifteen years later. Lump in my throat, lump in my chest, anger and sadness and salt. He was my grandfather. How could he have done such a thing to you?, my mother said. How could we have let that happen? How could he abuse that power? Questions hanging, secrets, open-ended.

Thirteen years old, numb, possibly high, lying in the park near my parents' house, eyes glassy (tears half-formed), waiting while they took their turns. Knife at my throat, sticks digging into my back. Dirty. Four of them, older than me. I knew them by name, by face. I don't know why they bothered with stocking masks. Predators. Prey. I knew how to act.

I was the only girl in their crew, younger than they were. They provided me with drugs, which made living bearable at the time, and I provided them with the means to get them. Kneeling between a man's legs twice my age, my eyes closed. I'd be thinking about his kids, the back of his station wagon, whether he did the same to them, whether his wife knew, whether he had a wife, how he could justify his despicable life. I'd felt ruined from the beginning, felt like all I could be was a vessel for their sickness. Pour all your sick into me.

A woman, too. Her face hovering at the margins of my vision, watching her boyfriend as he grunted and swore on top of me. I hadn't wanted these drugs; they'd been in my drink. College - at that point I'd thought I was smarter than to fall for this bullshit again.

Five years beyond that, I sit at this computer, healthy, drug-free, safe, privileged enough to tell even snapshots of the story. I've done a lot of work to get here. Every voice raised is a fist: a refusal to let them get away with it.

We all have the choice to become victims, and some victims become victimizers. I think that was definitely the case for at least three of the people who felt the need to assert their power over me. It is up to all of us telling our stories here to break the cycle, and that's the most important thing, in my opinion.

Jen from Philadelphia, PA | 18-May-03
My roommates had gone home for the weekend, and I was looking forward to having the room to myself for a few days. I felt safe in my dorm room and did not feel afraid to be there without my roommates. It was Friday night, and I stayed in so that I could get work done and go to bed early. I read for a while and fell asleep.

I woke up, startled by a loud banging noise. I looked over at the clock. After 5am. Something must be wrong. I jumped out of bed, put my shoes on, and went to the door. I thought that it was my RA because she knocked like that when she needed us to get out of our rooms. I opened my door and looked out. There was a group of guys down the hall, laughing and talking. Maybe they had the wrong door. I sleepily walked to the bathroom in the opposite direction of the guys and then walked back to my room to go back to bed, slightly annoyed that they had woken me up.

But I fell back to sleep quickly. Not for long. This time the knocking was louder, more persistent. And this time I heard a male voice saying, "Jen, open the door. C'mon Jen, open up." I sat frozen in my bed, my heart racing. I didn't know anyone of them. When I didn't answer, their knocking became louder and the voice more angry. "Open up Jen. Jen open the door."

Still, I sat frozen, not moving from my bed. Maybe if I didn't say anything or move, they would go away.

They didn't go away. Someone was now trying to punch in the code to my door, over and over. The sound of buttons being punched. Then kicking at the door, angry, and the voice over and over.

I found myself on the floor by the phone, dialing security's number. "Hello, security." "Someone is trying to break into my room." "Where do you live?" And I told him, and he told me they would send someone over right away.

I sat curled in a ball on the floor, in the dark, next to the phone.

Anger, rage, hate rose up inside me. I stood up. I yelled at the closed door that was being pounded, kicked, "Get the fuck away from me!"

Laughter. But they left.

I tried to go back to sleep. I lay shaking in my bed. Afraid to move. Where was security? Me being gang raped by a group of men in my room. This possibility running over and over and over in my head. I couldn't think of anything else. At some point, I started crying, sobbing, in the dark, alone.

It was getting close to six in the morning. I called home. The sound of my guardian's voice brought me to tears again. I told her what happened, but mostly cried.
I heard my RA's voice in the hallway. She was coming home from a party. I opened the door and called her name. I went to her room, talking, crying, smoking cigarettes, trying to erase the pictures in my head, the fear, the rage. I filed an incident report with security, which had been waiting downstairs. Security that never came to my room.

I have talked about it since that night, but mostly in a joking way or to complain about security. After all, I wasn't raped. Nothing happened to me.

Nothing except for the fact that my feeling of my room as a safe space was shattered.

Nothing except for the fact that I have lived in fear of groups of men from that night on.

Nothing except for the fact that I have nightmares, my mind playing out what ifs…

I am learning to value my story in the way that I value those of other women. I am learning to acknowledge that something did happen. It is through this that I am healing.

Divya from Boston, MA | 27-January-03
I still feel weak and stupid. I was raped and i can barely say that word. RAPE. It hurts and i don't really trust anyone. I feel like no one can ever love me and even though it doesn't make sense in my head i feel like it. I laugh about it sometimes because it makes me nervous. I feel like it never happened to me but it did and it's not fair. Some days i wish i could bleed it out of me, or throw it up. but its inside and its killing me and i dont know what to do. Somebody help me.

misty scalf from greenville, tn | 02-December-02
i was raped. It hurt. Now I am scared. These are statements you hear from rape victims. I never thought I would say them, but now I have and i cannot change that. the boy who raped me is still out there and I have to deal with that.There are alot of brave girls out there they are very inspiring, or at least to me. YOU GO GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!