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Sharing My Experience Description
Disclosure is when a survivor chooses to share her/his experience of sexual violence with others. Survivors choose to disclose at different times and to different people throughout their healing process.

Some survivors disclose to people already in their lives, such as their friends and family; others seek the support of hotlines, counselors, and support groups.

Disclosure can be a positive experience; it may help survivors to heal if they share their story. Disclosure can also be a negative experience; a survivor may feel judged, blamed, dismissed, or not believed.

Resources
RAINN

Writing Prompts
“The first person I told was…”
“I decided to see a counselor and…”
“The other survivors in my support group…”

Stories
Anonymous from Brooklyn, New York| 06-May-08
I don?t even know where to begin my story. It all started when i was a little kid about 5-6 years old. I began living with my father alone after my mother had passed away. He began blaming me and taking out his anger on me. He would then sneak into my room while i was asleep and start to touch me on my breast and on my private area. He always told me if i told on him i would be getting into a lot of trouble and how he would kill me. When i turned 8 years old he began to rape me in my anus because he said that it wasn?t rape or sex if it didn?t happen through your vagina. He would stick things inside of my anus all the time. I was so hurt that i was an outsider when it came to friends and school. I didn?t trust anybody. One day my father?s brother came to see me and i was upset by what had been happing and i told him what had been going on. He started to yell at me and he hit me so hard across my face. He sent me up to my room and went to my father. I heard them arguing and i really believed when my father said that they would blame me for what happened so i never told anyone after that. When i turned 16 years old my father decided to throw a party for me. Since i didn't have a lot of friends i only invited my four good friends that i trusted and cared for. Everyone else at my party was all friends of my father. There was a lot of drinking going on with them but i just stayed away and had fun with my friends. My party ended by 2:30 am and my friends ended up leaving. Most of my father's friends left but only three of them stayed. I didn?t know why they stayed but i would soon find out. I went up to my bedroom to go take a shower and get ready for bed. I was about to get undressed when i heard a knock on my door. It was my father and his three friends. When i asked him what he wanted he said they came to give me my special birthday gift. My father pushed me to the bed and started to rip my clothes off. I tried to fight with him but he made his friends come over and hold my hands and feet. He got my clothes off and he raped me so hard. i went so numb i could hardly breathe. When he was finished he made each one of his friends raped me also. I was raped both anally and vaginally. When they were finished they started to beat me because i was crying so loud and kept screaming. I thought i was going to die that night. While all of this was going on luckily one of my friends forgot their bag at my house and had to come back with her dad to pick it up. While he was behind the door he could hear my yelling for help. He didn?t know what to do so he called 911. When the police arrived they knocked on the door. My father and friends rushed to the living room fixed themselves up. My father locked my room door and told me to shut up and don?t say a word or he would kill me. He opened the door for the police and they asked if everything was ok. My father said yes but the police asked to see inside the house anyway. My friend asked to see me since she heard me screaming. My father quickly told them i was asleep but the police officers said they had to make sure i was ok since it was reported that i was screaming for help. My father didn?t want them to see me and started acting up making a scene and cursing at the cops and my friend. They ended up arresting him and back up showed up. When the police came into my room they found me on the floor in the corner crying and bleeding. They rushed me to the hospital. My father was sent to jail and i now live with my aunt from my mother?s side. I never recovered from that day and it has been so much harder for me to trust anyone. I am now 20 years old and i feel as if all of this happened to me when yesterday. I don?t really know how to heal this pain because it has caused me many suicidal attempts. I am still alive so i guess i must be for a reason. Pray for me.

Theresa from Port Richey, Florida| 08-February-08
i have always been scared to tell this story, as if telling will make it happen all over again. but i have my reasons for doing it today, one of them being personal healing, so here i go.

it was the year i tried to forget i was twelve years old. i was just starting junior high and i wanted so much to be accepted.  i was going to a school that had focus on the arts singing, acting, dancing. i was so excited, unfortunately my excitement was short lived because this kid named mike would not leave me alone he picked on me so bad. he would trip me and follow and he would make me so angry but i found a way to get through it.

 eventually my excitement came back and i was fully involved in all that the arts could offer, singing was my one great love though, so much so that it got me in trouble in study hall.  one of my friends asked me to sing and i was more than happy to do so. the teacher had asked me to stop but i wouldn’t listen, so finally he sent me to detention.  that’s when my life was changed forever.  the teacher assigned to detention was in a hurry and had us write a real easy writing assignment and we were done in five minutes so i went to call my mom but i was unable to reach her, so i went outside to work on my homework, that’s when mike walked up to me and said hi. not wanting to seem rude i said hi back. we starting talking. i thought it was weird but i was so glad that he wasn’t picking on me. he told me he found a family of bunnies and he wanted to show me. i was unsure but i didn’t see any harm in it so i went.

the rest happened so fast he threw me to the pavement and got on top of me i was so shocked i didn’t know what to do. i couldn’t move. i couldn’t even breathe. i screamed but nobody would stop. i didn’t know what was happening but oh my god the pain i felt like i was gonna die it felt like i was torn apart, and then he was gone.

at that point my life meant nothing, i went home numb and hollow and wanting to just be dead, i felt stupid for trusting him, and ashamed of how it all happened, I’m really not sure if i will ever make peace with my rape as it is just the mention of the word frightens me, but i hope this story helps.

Elinor Swanson from Denver, Colorado| 26-April-07
I am in medical school in Colorado these days. I had to write an illness narrative (personal or nonfiction) for my ethics class. It ended up being my final, real, "coming out" about what happened to me freshman year of college.

I met "Andi" freshman year of college. Her step-father co-wrote the screenplay for Sleepless in Seattle as well as a few B movies. Andi’s most repeated bragging points—that her mom had been a model, that she owned a $15k watch, and that she had once slept with Jeff Goldblum, the 40-something scientist guy on Jurassic Park. Andi was infamous for her blackout drives to and from LA, or la-la-land as we called it. By far the wildest of our small friendship group, she had an on-again-off-again cocaine habit, a never-ending string of abusive boyfriends, and too much extravagance to fit in properly. She often tried to impress us by sponsoring shopping trips, offering her maids, and sharing sushi deliveries. Andi never quite worked out that we were much more impressed by good dance songs, good-looking boys, and tequila shots than we were by raw cash flow.

Andi and I drove her black Escalade into LA one night after I made her promise that she wouldn’t drink too much. Of course she did anyway. We stopped at her parents’ house in Westwood on the way, where she revamped my outfit with 4 inch Vera Wang heels, a Prada leather skirt, and thick black eyeliner on both my upper and lower eyelids.

We went to techno-blasting clubs, drank ourselves silly, and encouraged skinny, sweaty boys with glow sticks to grind against us, and I felt perfect--glamorous and beautiful.

Then Andi's boyfriend-of-the-moment showed up, bought us some more drinks, and convinced us to come back to his place to take a dip in his hot tub. We went naked, of course.

My vision was spinning, but it was a beautiful night. Andi’s boy was very interested in ménage à trois. Andi and I were a little interested, but more drunk.

He sat between us, groping our thighs with a nomadic hand. I lazily put up with it for a while before moving to the other side of the hot tub. I tipped my head back and hazily stared at the hazy city stars, while the two of them made out. Then Andi’s boyfriend made his way back over to me, with Andi attached.

I laughed, kissed them each a few times, just on the cheek, flirtatiously, and then moved to the opposite side again. Andi’s boyfriend came back over to me, this time leaving Andi behind. I have told people that I struggled and tried to get away. That isn’t true. I think. I was so drunk at the time.

When I try to remember it, the whole night is a Sin City version of life—a Technicolor nightmare in cartoon quality. Who knows, now, whether I struggled or whether I squirmed, when I was scared and when I was coy. I do know that Andi watched with dead eyes from the other side of the hot tub. I was on his lap, facing Andi, his arms were tight around me. After one penetration he stopped because I wasn’t turned on, or maybe it was just because of the hot tub.

I know that I felt guilty, horrified, and ashamed immediately afterward. I know that I left without looking him in the face, that I had dreams later about cutting pagan symbols into his flesh, and of him thrusting into me with a penis that was a knife. I have often lied during this story and said that I had a bruise on my arm the next day, because I dislike this feeling, the feeling that it wasn’t rape but it should have been, that I didn’t do enough to stop it. My stupid, stupid, goddamn drunk mind telling me, “move away, move away” never quite erases the fact that during the act I was complacent.

Andi and I left right after. She started the car, paused, and then just leaned back in her seat and stared over at me in silence.

“Oh. My. God. I am so sorry,” I said. “I just... I cannot believe what just happened. I am so sorry.”

“Yeah, no shit.”

“Andi, what just happened? I honestly didn’t want... I didn’t want that to happen.”

“Well, at least now you have a good reason to break up with Ronnie.”

“What? I know I’ve been complaining about him, but...”

A silence. I looked at the neon car clock, and noticed with numb disinterest that the time was 2:34. “234, 234,” my drunk mind was stupidly pleased, and then displeased when it changed to 2:35, and I wanted my mind to shut the hell up because so fucking what.

“Andi. I don’t know what to say. I feel like such a slut.”

“Ellie, whatever. You don’t care about him.”

“Whatever, it’s not just him, I mean yes I feel shitty about Ron, but I also feel awful, awful that I did that, and... and I am so, so sorry,” and I started to cry.

I always wonder what would have happened if I had been angry and accusatory, pissed off that we had both been so drunk, that her boyfriend had put us in that situation. I didn’t feel angry, though. I felt like I’d been hollowed out with a dull ice cream scoop, and that only I was to blame. Andi took my lead—I was apologetic and defensive, so she got aggressive.

“You know what? You don’t care about Ronnie, and you don’t care about me. You ARE a slut. You FUCKING HO-BAG!”

(Many exclamation points here. That sentence was repeated more than once.)

"I can’t believe you seduced my boyfriend.”

We drove back to campus in silence. I found out later she didn’t remember driving home. The social retaliation was beyond anything you can imagine, surpassed only by my own self-recrimination. I broke up with Ronnie when he called the next day, but didn’t give any explanation. Andi soon after told him I had cheated on him.

I cried and apologized, but he was furious, and since he was a second year and popular, suddenly all sophomores hated me. The rules were clear as to whose side was the “right” side—even I believed Andi and Ronnie had been wronged, that I was an asshole and a slut and every other name I was called on a daily basis. All the evidence pointed in that direction.

Andi clawed my face out of group photos in the hallway with her perfectly painted nails. She pounded on my locked door, screaming obscenities, and threw a coffee mug at my head. People took bets on who would win in a catfight.

I stopped calling my parents back when they phoned. All of my friends were now Andi’s friends. I slept all the time—having to face anyone at all was torture, and avoiding the hallway, the dining hall, class, and local restaurants led to permanently locking myself into my dorm room.

My A’s combined with all of my new D’s and F’s and translated into C’s at the end of the semester. I felt like everyone knew, that everyone hated me, including myself. I thought about killing myself, but more often I thought about transferring to another school. I didn’t have enough energy to apply, and I no longer felt like a desirable candidate, or a desirable person in any respect.

The world had previously seemed cast in shades of yellow and blue in the day, red and black at night, but wholly, colorfully edible. Now, all was gray, darker gray, black, and blacker. All I wanted was to curl up into a potato bug ball and ignore the world. I was clinically depressed for exactly nine months.

I pulled out of it because a) fortunately for me but unfortunately for Andi, she started taking cocaine again, then got pregnant and had an abortion with a complicated array of boyfriends and ex-boyfriends involved, and basically lost her credibility. She was too distracted with her own disintegrating life to hound me. She “took a break” after freshman year.

b) I started calling it rape. I do not deny that my main motive was basic, selfish survival instinct. I still blamed myself for what happened, although I knew that rape victims often blame themselves so I hoped that self-blame was just a symptom. These days I have given up trying to decide if it was rape or drunken sex. It’s like trying to tell the difference between an argument and a conversation, in an exchange that occurred a hundred years ago, involving immense emotional involvement and extreme conflict of interest, and given only a partial script.

As far as what I tell people these days--the event had such a remarkable and devastating effect on my emotional health, the only way I can communicate the horror of that time is to say that I was raped. Perhaps that in itself is indicative of something—the social repercussions, the depression, and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were all very much present. Whatever it was, I can honestly say I must have wished a hundred thousand times that I had said “No,” moved out of the hot tub, struggled, anything. At this point, I have enough empathy for the naïve, crazy-young kid that I was freshman year of college, not to waste time feeling guilty. I tend to call it rape simply because it was unwanted sex and the label communicates my personal experience.

On the other hand, I do not necessarily think Andi’s boyfriend was a rapist. He may have been just a drunken asshole like me, risking dangerous awful things like unwanted sex and car accidents. Truthfully I was too drunk at the time for me to make that judgment call.

I tried to go to the school counselor sophomore year, but was assigned to a male psychologist. I was angry that they were so insensitive. I vomited out my story to him in a flurry of livid tears, stormed out, and never went back despite a half dozen bland follow-up letters. I bought a teddy bear and named him Normal Bear so I would have someone to cry with.

My romantic relationships were a little iffy for a few years. One boyfriend, an Armenian, Gorilla-like thug named Orag, was emotionally abusive and cheated on me. Pardon me if that description sounded racist, believe me it’s all personal dislike. He was studying to be a dentist and got good grades, and I was just a lowly, struggling politics major.

We both thought he was infinitely superior. He told me, several times, that he was more intelligent than I was, had a better body, that I was lucky to be with him. With time, as I gained self-respect and self-forgiveness, my romantic involvements improved.

I researched rape like the nerd that I am, self-diagnosed myself with PTSD, and briefly became a man-hating nazi-fembot as I became more of a sexual assault expert. I discovered how common rape is (1 in 6 lifetime prevalence among women), the acquaintance factor, and the long-lasting mental impact. I started to see the world as a very different, very dangerous place. I found out that social repercussions are the greatest indicator of whether PTSD will develop. Other women “came out” to me about their rape and “maybe-rape” experiences, including one of my Psych professors and my good friend "Amy." Probably most beneficial to my personal recovery was becoming a sexual assault peer counselor. There is nothing like interacting with the freshly wounded to realize how much you have healed. The only time I was consistently honest while recounting the story line was in that role, trying to help rape survivors work through their feelings of self-blame.

Now, I forget about my horrible freshman year of college unless someone specifically mentions sexual assault or rape. I hesitate to “come out” about what happened to me, not because it upsets me, but because I know from experience that it upsets others. Sometimes I can tell that I become permanently changed in peoples’ minds. Like That Disabled Guy In A Wheelchair, or That Girl Whose Mom Died, or even That Feminist Black Girl, I become That Girl Who Was Raped. While interesting to have a label—the hushing of jokes and genuine opinions, the discomfort, the general avoidance—I prefer not to have one.

Its interesting how easily people forget that tragedy touches us all, that sooner or later, someone close to us will die, we will become chronically sick or disabled, bad luck or bad health will knock on our door. The amazing thing is how we all manage to pick ourselves up and continue on, believing that life is good.

In the last few years, my paternal grandmother died of Alzheimers, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, my favorite aunt died of lung cancer, my brother was in a serious car accident and was in the ICU for over a week and had to have a splenectomy, and my best friend's mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, probably recurrent from her breast cancer 15 years previous. It’s been difficult, dealing with these (far worse) tragedies. But at least I felt like I could talk about it.

Narratives like the one above are culturally kept private, its almost rude to talk about such things. So, thanks for letting me "come out," it’s cathartic even at this stage. I apologize for any discomfort. I think it's important, if only because such experiences are so very common. I believe there are many victims of crazy-young life, who feel lonely and depressed, and might benefit from knowing it is possible to feel normal again.

Anonymous from Minneapolis, Minnesota| 12-April-07
My story is choppy and broken into bits in writing form. Just as I am. It is the way it is with rape. The aftermath of my assault has left me the target of ridicule and badgering. I see my rapist almost every other week; he works three blocks from me. Yes, he grins about it. It has been to the unfortunate delight of my rapist's University of Minnesota employee girlfriend!!! Just to show how difficult reporting can be. This clever sick girlfriend then proceeded a three year, no end badgering of me, ridicule of me, and harrassment of me, stalking me through the internet...parking on my street endlessly. So my story didn't really end with the assault, it actually began.

She and he tape-recorded me without my knowledge, his mother bought him a tape recorder to help him protect himself from facing charges I guess. He tried to engage me in self-incriminating disclosures, burned cd's of me and played them for others. As a matter of fact his girlfriend seems to relish saying we laughed about it. But I have to start at the beginning to show you that no matter what ...it's worth reporting.

I was actually quite in love with my I'll call him ''my rapist.'' To understand rape, think of a child at a bus stop being bullied by a six foot 9 big strong angry kid and having everyone rally round the bully, saying "oh he isn't so bad." And leave the other to bleed, my rapist was adept at using his girlfriend to deflect his behavior, yes he used her too. He used her as a front. She proceeded to attack me every chance she got.

But my story is as follows.

There were not one but three seperate assaults. It took me that long to deal with what was happening to me. To say mister L was an angry man would be an understatement. But I had no idea that he had an extreme case of overbearing girlfriend. IT IS BY FAR NO EXCUSE. When the final incident that I finally reported happened I was half out the door anyway. We had been making love when it suddenly turned very hurtful and violent, he took his penis and rammed it into me sideways so hard i screamed and said, "Stop you've badly hurt me." Not only did he not stop, he increased the deadly pace he continued for an additional ten minutes. For me hell..till he had his mind blowing orgasm. I lay there aching and in shock as if someone had beaten me up from the inside out. No condom. Blood and pain had me bent over. He had beaten me up! But in a way that was invisible to others unless I had the audacity to report. I stood up bleeding. He got dressed with little or no emotion. Said i have to go now, he had to pick his girlfriend up from a ski trip!!! I didn't know that yet. In which he was jealous because she had been with some other men I guess. His view anyway. Pointed his finger at me and said remember ''I'M the man.''

In my kitchen where I had cooked him meals and played scrabble with him. In the kitchen where dreams are talked about and marriage plans dicussed. I never saw him again to give closure talk about or remark on that night because the next day when I went to the University of Minnesota to confront him and say you must take me to the clinic I'M bleeding. I met his girlfriend? of two years???? This double whammy shock, I'll call it the double dogged take your breath away moment of anguish. This heart broken body broken moment had been so dizzying I sat down. She came out and called me names I won't repeat.

He closed up the shop he worked at and ran like any good rapist coward would. His girlfriend and I talked a little, as I left he didn't say to me are you OK? He said to her now you know how I feel over Mike... your ski buddy. Unbelievable blindness. Because I didn't do a sars kit and reported weeks later at the aurora center yes you can wait, but it's not a good idea.

The police are under-educated, and in the eyes of the police department of my town just another angry girlfiend, they even claimed I did it to get back at him. Ouch, seems everyone was so concerned with why I reported, he smoothly got not only away with the horrific deed, he relished it. His father had been a cop. He says, nevertheless the police begrudgingly had me do a second report, a recorded one, and charged him with first degree rape. Which got dismissed. I was left shattered. Confused. Seeking solace and dodging his girlfriend endlessly, I still am. In my mind she's half the reason he has not gotten help for his crime. But it is not right to blame her, I do this to show an intersting result of rape - the Stockholm syndrome... where you actually begin to seek help and solace from the rapist because the police can't do much. And blaming his girlfriend is another side effect, IT'S ALL HIM. But because she keeps things at a fever pitch of distraction. He and I did talk again. And shed throw fits. Finally i went to the sexual assault center. I will say I was slightly disappointed there too. They were in the process of moving and the move became a back drop for disregarding feelings, at one point I felt suicidally alone. The memory of what he did to me will never leave the words dismissed will never go and I cannot stand being touched. Justice is a funny thing, unless you have all your ducks lined up in a row and everything perfect the system just says no way.

On my honor I have decided to support every single person man or woman who claims they have been violated, I've seen what the system does to people, we had restraining orders three ways. He her and me...the very people who are supposed to help, the sexual violence center, the domestic abuse center seemed to be on another planet at times. PPPPlease know you are who we turn to. Believe care and help us. Police, believe care and help us.

Courts, believe care and help us. Because this is the only crime that you must face your abuser. His winks, his friends, the tormenting. When a store clerk is robbed she or he does not have to face the thief but when the thief of our body and heart comes we are supposed to withstand gale force wind. Mocking ridiculing...

Ice and people who just don't care. On a last note. While he was violently raping me all I could think of was I wonder how much this operation to fix the rips in my vagina will cost me. That's how violent it was. I am now known in my community thanks to his friends as troubled. Rape leaves a mark. An unfair mark, and open and vulnerable to judgment scrutiny and malice. So much hurt. But. Once again, for every rapist that gets away and every lawyer who does not see a win in the case, there is one who believes you. And if none believes, you know what happened. You know that your pain and degradation were not your fault. Unless we report we feed a system that is lethargic. Lazy and slow minded. In his restraining order against me he rubbed my face, again it saying she accused me of rape but it was dismissed. Oh yes it was dismissed. Words that I will forever have to live with. And you know and I know dismissed simply means, one more brave soul tried...for lack any real method of caring for the injured. If everything happened in front of witnesses what a wonderful world this would be.

To find your power you have to tell yourself every day look how strong I am, I survived and continue to survive him his friends his badgering, I am alive aware awake and a good person. Every day, peace.

Anonymous from Spokane, Washington| 23-March-07
I am a sophomore at Eastern Washington University. Last year I was raped in my dorm room. I am a male student who was taken advantage of by a female student.

Some people say this can't be true men can't be raped; however this situation occurs quite frequently. I was drinking one night back in November of 2005, and I headed to the third floor of my residence hall. When I encountered a community advisor (CA), I ran into a room that was open. I remember waking up with my pants and boxers around my ankles I recall intense pain. I opened my eyes to a female who lived in my dorm she was performing oral sex on me.

I tried to talk but passed out after only a few words. I woke up 3 hours later with her staring at me; my body was still exposed. I do not have a clear idea of all that happened to me, and I probably never will.

I spent many hours in counseling, for suicide attempts and drinking problems. I have had many STD screenings that were excruciatingly painful. I struggle with flashbacks of the rape, as well as the idea that I am dirty and can't get clean. The fact remains that male sexual assault does happens more often than people would like to think.

There is a need for more awareness on male sexual assault victims and support for the fight against male sexual assault.

Anonymous from Spokane, Washington| 23-March-07
*Not their real names

I thought I was safe. Everyone there was family…. It was the night after my husband's birthday party and it was just my husband, Rick; my father, my niece, and my husband's cousin, Steve, who was also our best friend.

Everyone else started drinking very early in the afternoon, but I had responsibilities to take care of. By the time I felt comfortable that everything that should have been taken care of was, Rick was so drunk he could not stand. With Steve's help, I got him into bed and starting to sleep it off.

We returned to the table. I had a shot of Tequila and a shot of Puckers. We started to play a card game, but when it came time to reshuffle Steve thought we were taking his cards because we were racist and didn't want him to play.

Steve stormed out of the house with his still mangled hip and knee (from his last drunk driving accident), determined to walk away in the snow with just his shorts and a tank top on. He was my best friend and my family too. Somehow I managed to convince him to come back inside. If I had only let him walk it off, even for just a little bit, maybe nothing would have happened.

After we got back into the house, he insisted on calling a friend. I'd already hidden all the phones, but I let him make that one call. While he was talking on the phone he gave me a hug, but then when he hung up he forced me against the fridge.

I tried to hold him off and even was begging him to stop, begging him to remember who he is, who I am. No one in the house heard me or came to help. Everyone else was just too drunk. He ripped my shirt off and began biting me. I wrestled with him, yelling at him to stop. We ended up on the couch. It was there that our relationship and my life changed forever.

I didn't take it to the police. I kept thinking that he is family. I tried to tell Rick, but the very first question he interrupted with made me think he would blame me. For weeks, I hid the truth, but in the end it all came out. I started attending counseling and at least was able to eat and sleep again.

It hasn't even been a year and I am still so angry with Steve. Because of how drunk he was, I doubt he remembers anything, but I deal with this daily. We still see each other at all the family events. I feel guilty that Rick doesn't hardly want to be around his best friend anymore and wonder for moments if this whole thing is my fault because I stopped Steve from walking away into the night.

Ashley from Philadelphia, PA | 03-May-05
My freshman year I came into college and created an image of myself. An image that I thought I wanted, one so different from the high school me that I thought I'd be popular. Although I've learned, popularity doesn't play as big a role in college as it had throughout high school. I became the party girl. The girl, always up for fun, a good time, never too busy for a party. I liked that image of me, because it was so different from who I'd used to be. The beginning of my second semester freshman year I went to a bar with some friends. I met a boy there, we talked and made out some at the bar ... it wasn't anything serious. He lived in my dorm and so he came back with my friends and I when we took the cab back to campus. Before we had even gotten in the cab, I had said something that implied "no sex". My whole life I've had this inexplicable need to be liked, and generally it takes a lot for me to say no. I always thought if i did, the he in the situation would!

This time, I found my voice and I said no. I thought he understood. We were still having fun, making out and stuff so he came to my room with me. We were making out, again i said no sex, but he was a nice guy and we were having fun... so I wasn't worried. My roommate came back with her boyfriend at the time and the boy convinced me to go to his room where we could be alone. I had been clear about how far i was willing to go, so I thought it'd be ok and stupidly, I went down to his room with him. We were making out and he started to press me to have sex with him. I said no repeatedly and even tried to leave once, but he wouldn't let me. He told me he'd stop if I'd just lie down with him a little bit. I was uncomfortable, but did anyway because I figured he'd fall asleep and i'd go back to my room. When we lied back down, we ended up having sex anyway. As soon as he was done, i got up and left and didn't tell anyone what had happened. The next day he came up to see me and apologized for his behavior...but I couldn't accept that i had been raped. As of right now, I would rather say i was taken advantage of.

I tried to tell this story at my school's Take Back the Night that year but no one could understand me through my tears. My friends knew the story though, and they commended me on my attempt to share my story. Less than a week and a half after that Take Back the Night, my friends and I all went out. We pre-gamed in one of their rooms before our school held a concert. Afterwards we went to this "frat" house where two of my friends knew the guys that lived there. My one friend and I got pretty wasted. The other two were okay, they were drinking but weren't nearly as bad as us. At one point, the other drunk friend got sick and one of the soberer girls thought they should take her home. The other soberer girl's boyfriend lived at the house, and she wasn't ready to leave yet. But she didn't want to be alone. I was designated the person to stay with her although there was no real need for me to be there. The only memory I have after my two friends left is a snap shot quick glimpse of me looking up at a guy on top of me telling him to stop. I woke up the next morning, naked, on a broken pull-out couch with three guys in the room. I got up, couldn't find much of my clothes...stole a shirt from the closet and grabbed my jeans and took off. I tried to call the friends that had left me there so they could open the door to our dorm for me but no one answered. I walked back to my room, eventually got in my dorm, showered, and fell asleep. I had things to do that day, I was supposed to meet a friend at the train station but I slept through it all. Eventually i got up, and walked down the hall to my friend's room to see if she could tell me what had happened. We called the girl I was left there to be buddies with and she filled us in on some details of my night. I was wasted (duh) and threw up in someone’s shoes. Some guy brought me upstairs (later a girl from one of my classes would call me to see if i was ok...b/c he looked like he was gonna take advantage of me, apparently there were pictures taken (when asked why she didn't stop them ... she was with her boyfriend and couldn't/didn't want to get in the room), and i'm not sure - i'll never be sure - if it was just the one guy or all three. I'll never know if those pictures will ever surface.

After this experience I went to a hospital at my friend's urging - she's in the on-campus Rape Education Group and knew what to do. At the hospital, the social worker told me there's not much I could do because I didn't remember anything. They (a man and woman dr) did an exam and i got lectured about not drinking too much. After that experience, I quit all my extra-curricular activities. I just wanted to go home for the summer and forget about it.

Last night was my schools Take Back the Night program. As a senior, it was my last chance to try and tell my story...the extended version. I sat there and listened to faculty and students discuss the effect rape has on our society .. on people ... and then there was a speak-out. I listened to what people had to say, before and after I got up to speak, and I realized that those events have had a much larger impact on my life, my feelings, who i am, than I thought I had let them. Since the end of my freshman semester, i have objectified myself. I have pushed away the one guy that really loved me (i don’t think i can be loved) and i've had sex with a lot of guys. Thinking that if they want my body, they may want something else deep inside me. But i'm always left empty. A priest stood up last night and said not to let these events take away our ability to have intimacy...and I know I've let it. I have a problem sharing my emotions generally. I don’t like to talk about how I'm feeling and would rather just ignore things that bother me. I know I'm just rambling now, but a lot of what was said last night stung me. And a lot of my feelings about those events that i've tried to hide over the past four years have surfaced and I just needed to write them out i guess. I'm still working on surviving, but at least i'm working on it.

Misty from Chuckey, TN | 26-March-05
My story is a long one. I care not to add all of the details, though. I was raped aboout three years ago. I was only 15, and it broke my heart and my spirit. I think the most horrifying thing was that no-one I told believed me. I was raped by another teenager. He was an ass. I hate him everyday for what he did to me. I was sick, and he took it upon his self to hurt me. I can only say it hurts.

Cornelius Ahern from West Palm Beach, FL | 10-July-04
Www.aninchfrommurder.com was written 20 years ago this year and now is being brought to print for the very first time and deals with my life as a Male Victim of Sexual Child Abuse. Drawing from the memory of past molestations from the age of four until sixteen, a trauma unfolded in adulthood profiling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The uncanning of the abuse by seven men (including Catholic Priests, a Policeman, close relatives and friends) resulted in the attempted murder of my latest assailant; the ensuing incarceration and the attempt now to bring the issues of Male Victimization into focus.

"I always thought that I would live a long life in order to tell my story. But after last years' diagnosis at 51 I doubt I'll have the strength to really tell what I need to say today at some later date. I learned in June 2004 that my Congestive Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy had not improved and that I was in need of a Heart Transplant. I reminded myself of my pledge 20 Years Ago that 'If I Might Save One Person's Life' from the misery that I suffered by telling my story, by having someone read, that there is hope and recognition for the abused and that you Can Get Help before it's too late, then I truly will have accomplished something in my lifetime."

From 1984 through 1986 I experienced a life of fear in a maximum security prison in Connecticut and in the States' Mental Institution for the Criminally Insane. The Sample Chapter provided is not easy reading. I am going back to the notes that I made 20 years ago in many jail cells of 15 months and it is my task now to edit all that fresh information from then and place it in a concise form. It is painful to do this again but I must.

Juliette Muellner from Columbia, SC | 19-May-04
It was March 12th 1995, and I was beginning to celebrate the end of my first year at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. It was a Saturday night, and my friends and I were going to spend it at the final night of our favorite club called Trotts. I had not been so anxious to go out lately because I was still in trauma mode from my first true love breaking my heart only two months before. But my friends convinced me that I needed to start having fun and forget about him, so I took their advice and joined them for the evening. Our group of 10 arrived at around 9:00 pm and walked into the best Trotts party of the year. It was one of those nights where everyone in the club was in a good mood and everyone, including me, was dancing. Skidmore only had 2400 students, so you knew and/or recognized just about everyone wherever you went. I happened to spot an attractive guy that I had only met once a couple of months back in a friend's room. He recognized me as well and introduced himself and asked me to dance. Normally, I would have declined, but this was the first night since the breakup that I had decided to have fun and forget my worries, so I accepted. We danced and had a very pleasant conversation about what we were studying and where we were from, etc. He was very polite and did not make me feel uncomfortable in any way. Throughout the course of the evening, we were dancing and talking, and we even kissed a couple of times. He was definitely intoxicated as the night was ending. I had only had two beers which did not impair any judgement that I had. When everyone began to leave, he invited me back to his room. I had no interest in that because I was well aware of what could happen to me if I went to an all-male dormitory after hours. However, I did enjoy his company and thought it would be fun to hang out with him just a little longer. Before I invited him to my place, I decided to do a background check on him. I went around and asked my friends what they knew about him. Everyone had good words to say except for one girl who told me that she had heard he was a violent drunk. Before I could make a comment, another girl jumped into the conversation and reassured me that it was just a rumor and that she knew him very well from her home town. So, overall I had felt okay about the situation, and decided to invite him over to my dorm where we could be with all of my friends. Unfortunately, when the cab dropped us off at our dorm, my friends were so intoxicated that every last one of them passed out-leaving me alone with him. At this point I began to feel uncomfortable because I did not know him. He made friendly jokes about my friends and suggested we go to my room and see what my friends on the third floor were doing. I knew that my roommate Stacey would be in there, so if no one was hanging out, at least we would not be alone. As it turned out, no one was hanging out. To make matters worse, as soon as I walked in with a guy, Stacey assumed that I wanted to be alone and ran out. I told her to stay, but she thought that I was just trying to be polite. He sat on my bed and began to kiss me, only this time I did not enjoy it as much as I had before. I pulled away and tried to talk to him, but unfortunately he had succeeded in getting the situation he had been hoping for all night: a girl-in a room-alone. I could tell by the look in his eyes and the way that he was grabbing me that I was headed towards a dangerous and scary situation. I told him to let go of me and to stop grabbing me so forcefully. I began to remember the words of the girl who said he was a violent drunk. I was terrified. He was bigger than I was, he was stronger than I was, and I was too afraid to scream. In seconds, he had forcefully managed to take off my shirt and overalls, and everything underneath, as well as his own clothing-he definitely had to have done this before. He began touching my body in ways that made me cringe. I begged him "No! Stop! Please." He did not listen and proceeded to penetrate me. I told him "No!" again. He began to cuss at me and screamed "You don't want to fucking have sex with me?" When I cried "No, not at all," he called me a bitch and then he smacked me on the right thigh. I still put up as much of a fight as I could but without screaming because I was afraid of what else he would do to me. I tried to lock my legs together and use my hands to push him away. I did somehow get him to stop having intercourse, however sometimes I wish that I had let him so as to get it over with. What I had to experience for the next three hours was a bigger nightmare than I had ever imagined as he continued to sexually and physically abuse my body in every way he could find. To him, stop meant more, and tears meant I liked it. When he finally left that evening, and my roommate decided to come back to the room, I did not feel much of anything, not even the bruises I had on my chest, legs and arms. I sat on my bed with feelings of numbness. I began to tell Stacey the story of my night and she cried, telling me that I had just been raped. I did not believe her-that could never happen to me. I thought to myself-I am a strong-minded woman who does not ever fall for a guy's game. But I did know that I did not feel right in any sense of the word-I had a feeling of complete violation of my mind and body. At first, I only told my three closest friends. They were pushing me to press charges, but I truly felt that I must be exaggerating. It could not be as bad as my friends were saying. But I did know that I had been very clear about saying no, only he chose to ignore my requests. I was beginning to find the strength within me that I knew I had. I was not going to be one of those women that was afraid of telling-that ignores their inner feelings and does what they believe society thinks is right! He was not going to get away with this. I knew that I had two options: to tell the city police and go through the re-victimization of a long criminal trial where he would most likely be found innocent; or I could report it to the school security where the trial process would be much quicker, therefore getting him away from me as soon as possible. Residential life told me the hearing would be in one month. In the month I had before the administrative hearing, I did some of my own research on him which strengthened my case. I found out that he had only been a student since January, and in those two months he had sexually assaulted three other women besides me. The women agreed to tell the Dean of Students-the deciding judge in my trial. When the hearing finally came, the hearing panel caught him telling three different versions of what had happened. I had a very detailed security report-there was only one true account of what happened the night of March 12, 1995, and it was obvious to everyone that it was mine. He was found guilty of sexual and physical abuse. He was given a punishment of social probation for one year. They allowed him to continue to represent Skidmore College as a lacrosse player, continue living on campus, continue walking by me at a school of 2400 students every-single-day-they only asked that he not be involved in student government. They also told him not to do it again, and suggested that maybe he should seek some sort of counseling. Then we were dismissed. Needless to say, I was appalled and horrified at the sanction. I spent the next 6 months writing to the school newspaper and talking to the vice-president and Dean of Students who both responded in the same way-"He is not a threat to the Skidmore community Juliette, now let's keep quiet about this!" I began telling everyone I knew and didn't know to stay away from him. I didn't care that the school told me to keep my mouth shut. They were blaming me for being assaulted when after all-they were the ones that had found him guilty. I saw him every day after March 12th every single day, unless I decided to stay in my room-which I did do very often. I was the one being punished and imprisoned. I tried to go back the following semester, but with him there and no one helping me, it was impossible for me to continue. As a result, I left and Skidmore got to keep a rapist. The Fall of 1996, I transferred to the University of South Carolina (USC) with the hopes of starting new and forgetting the past. I quickly realized that I could never forget what he had done to me, nor did I want to. I was, and still am obsessed with the idea that no one should have to go through what I did. My roommate at the time told me about a group called SHARE, in which USC students, after a semester of training, educate others on sexual assault and risk-reduction. This was exactly what I needed to do, I was tired of feeling badly for myself and was ready to use my experience as a way of helping others. Being a SHARE peer was the most empowering experience of my life. It allowed me to educate myself, as well as others, and to make new friends who whether or not had been assaulted themselves, were still dedicated to the cause. Facilitating workshops was very empowering, however at the same time, they were by far, the most difficult part of my healing process. Each day would consist of hearing students, both male and female continually blaming women for rapes. They would blame her for what she was wearing or how much SHE drank, as if she was asking for it. They would criticize that she only said NO 5 times instead of 20. Wondering why if she didn't really want it, she didn't scream or hurt him. Two recurring comments were "What do women expect, they shouldn't go out and drink in the first place," and "It's not rape because she brought him back to her room, and she was flirting with him all night." As part of our presentation, the class read a sexual assault scenario, which actually occurred on the USC campus, and is very similar to my own experience. After students would read it, I would ask how many people thought that the woman was raped. In a class of 30, no more than 5 would raise their hands. I would want to scream and cry in class out of hurt and frustration and sometimes I did. I would do everything I could in that hour and 15 minutes to explain why the other 25 students were wrong. There were always students who were not going to change how they felt, but there were also some who would come to me after class and thank me for teaching them because they never really knew much about rape. Often times they would tell me their own experiences with sexual assault. I reinforced these issues all day, outside of class, to my friends and even acquaintances. Our society knows little to nothing about what sexual assault is. They do not know what the definitions are, and if they do happen to know them, they most likely do not know what to do in the medical, judicial, or emotional sense. Of the people who do know, do they have much support in this country? When I tell people that now I work at USC's Office for Sexual Health & Violence Prevention, they always say that's great, how noble of you, but in the same breath try to tell me that it will never go away, that that is just how men are. When I hear people talking about rape, both students and adults, it is almost always about the slutty girls who say they were raped because they regretted having sex, and the innocent guy who will now have a reputation of being a rapist. I rarely overhear a conversation where people believe the woman, she is almost always doubted. Why is this? When I tell people that 1 in 4 women will be raped or attempted to be by the time they graduate college, I get laughed at more than if I told a funny joke. People do not know or understand sexual assault. I feel it is my job to tell my story and show other women that we can all be survivors and that there are people who will believe and support us. I wish more than anything everyday that when I tell my story, I could end in saying that now the man who raped me is in jail, or now he has sought help and is no longer a danger to any of us. But I can't because no one who had the power to help took me seriously. I truly believe that educating others, showing support and holding awareness events, will lead to less sexual assaults overall, and give women the strength and support to report their assaults-hopefully leading to convictions. Today I know that I have made the best decision possible about what I want people in this world to learn from me. I made myself stay strong even when it seemed hopeless and I never doubted what I knew as the truth. I will not let anyone blame me or punish me for being a victim-I am a survivor and I will never let him win.

Candice from Philadelphia, PA | 14-March-04
A letter from one survivor to the next. Please remember that sharing a story is a huge step in the healing process and being supportive is imperative to a survivor's recovery.

Dear ***,
So, I don't know if sharing my story made it better or not... I think, in the end, that it does but tonight it just feels worse for some reason. I think I deal with it in waves... some days I'm a strong woman-- other days I'm an angry woman-- still others a tired, scared or even battered one. The process has been tiring. Every time I think it's over and I feel as though I've dealt with it constructively, it resurfaces and hurts like new. No more nightmares, though.... thank God, I can't handle any more of those. I did the craziest thing tonight... opened up last year's yearbook just to look at his face. I know it by heart-- only knew him for two weeks and I'll never forget that face. It's strange how that works, ya know. There have been people in my life who have had an amazingly positive impact on me and I could sit here for an hour trying to remember what they look like... in the end, I need a photograph to get the details right. But with this guy, it's always there... I see him everywhere now... features of him in other people. Bizarre. Part of me wishes it were still buried inside me, unseen and unfelt. I wouldn't have nights like this one. But then another part knows that sharing my story is just another step in a very long healing process. That underlying tension and anxiety that accompanied me everywhere is almost gone now but there are still nights when the feelings are so strong and unbearable. I just wish that everyone could be as supportive and open as you it would make it a whole hell of a lot easier. So, I guess I wanna say thanks for being so awesome and for listening all this time. I know I'll wake up tomorrow and feel a hundred times better. It just hurts tonight. Candice

anonymous from Seattle, WA | 05-August-02
My parents were hippies. They lived out of a trailer in the woods. My mom still has an alternative diet and philosophy. But my dad was more into it because of the anti-law pro-drug scene.

My dad believed that children were like dogs. In some ways I agree because like a child a dog needs love and safety and unfailing trust and devotion. But my father felt that children were like dogs because you "needed" to beat them.

Wives were the same way and so after a painful ten years of marriage and two small children my mother took us away.

She went to shelters and to my father's mother. Grandma took care of us while mom went to Hawaii and met a man. She was there with a friend and only for a little bit more than a week. He was charming and Canadien. Grandma continued to let our father see us and he threatened mom so we picked up again and went to Canada. Mom thought that if she could get to this man she had met in Hawaii things would be fine.

They were not. He was abusive and mom became anorexicly thin. But Canada seemed better than the US and dad.

We were there for six months and somehow dad got word to mom telling her that he would go to the courts and say she had kidnapped my sibling and I. Because she was afraid and wasn't sure what her rights were my mother took us back to the US and went on welfare.

I remember that my mom went to court often then and that I was awarded to my parents jointly. My younger sib was too but for some reason my sib wasn't there in my earliest memories. In one memory I was on a couch while my father played cards with his friends and smoked pot. I was hungry and wanted my mom so bad but I was afraid to cry or to ask for anything.

In my other memory where my sib isn't present it is Christmas and I am on the couch again but it is against a wall and there are stockings hung above me. It was christmas night and my dad was standing over me. Earlier that night I had thought I heard reindeer. Now I thought dad was Santa or that there wasn't a Santa just dad. I had a rash that weekend and he was going to put cream on me. But I knew something was very wrong. (I think maybe he had touched me inapropriately before and I remembered it then) He began to apply the cream and then he was licking me.

I pretended I was asleep knowing that anytime my father took an interest in me it was for selfish reasons and I could be hurt bad.

Anyway I didn't talk about it. I wasn't sure what had happened, I was three or four.

The next time I remembered was after I had a nightmare. I was in a bunk bed and climbed down. I was very afraid and my instinct must have told me to go to my parent. I was at my father's home so it was my father. I tiptoed along the trailer home and snuck into the room and crawled under my father's bed. He had taken another wife so she was in the bed with him but I suppose she was on something or he had beaten her earlier because she didn't move or seem awake.

Anyways my father grabbed my arm and pulled me painfully out from under the bed. I was terrified and so didn't make a sound.

He put me on top of him and lifted me up and down.

It hurt a lot and he didn't stop until he came. Then he put me under the covers next to my stepmom and went into the bathroom. I wasn't sure what had happened I was still only 3 or 4. But I remember clearly my dad standing in the bathroom and looking in the mirror.

In the morning he told me that what had happened was not something I ever should talk about. I think he even said he was sorry. My underwear from the night before disappeared and it continued.

Somehow I retained my hymen (which I didn't know about even after a very painful papsmear for court evidence when I was nine). I had worn my underwear to bed, which I almost always did and sometimes still do because I didn't feel safe with it off. And that was between his penis and me. The combination of that and my tiny body I think made it impossible for penetration that night.

The courts ruled that my father had rights to me and my sibling by him. So we were forced to go to his home on weekends.

He beat us and molested me.

My sibling could refuse to go and could stay home with mom. My dad didn't care about my sib so long as I went.

He beat my stepbrothers and my halfsib too. He kicked my littlest brother when he was bending over to pick something up. He was only a toddler.

My big step brother refused to do something and my father beat him real bad and after that he didn't have to visit as he stayed with his father. All of my stepbrothers had seperate fathers and so the younger brothers were stuck with my dad. The middle brother was beat up regularly and now wishes to kill my father. His own father disappeared when he was one or two.

As for me the beatings got less but my father started telling me when I was six that he was going to marry me and we would have children in a trailer on the new property. He started seeing similarities between my mother's and my features. I think he was insane or on drugs when he was telling me these things.

But one thing was sure he wanted to give me a horse when I turned twelve and I am certain that he planned then to rape me.

When I was nine my stepmother found some help. My father was kicked out of the large home and my full sib and I started to visit him in the rental home next door. We stayed with our brothers mostly and only at night did we have to be back at my dad's new home.

Finally, maybe because my stepmom was showing me how and my mom was counseling me to tell (she knew something was very wrong-and had me in counseling for years trying to get the story so she could get dad out of our lives) I told.

We went to court and my stepmom fled with my brothers. She came to one of the court proceeding and was shaking so hard.

I remember I was in a dress and someone led me out of a small chamber where they were trying to coax me into telling my story on the witness stand but I was so scared I couldn't talk. As I was led from that room into the courtroom I had to pass my father.

He was sitting and my grandmother was standing behind him with her hands on his shoulders.

It was the last time I ever saw him or my grandmother.

He received 3.5 years in prison.

He served less as he earned some time for good behavior.

He jumped parole and went to another state where he found another single mom and settled in with her and abused her and her children.

He got thirteen years for that crime-mostly because he broke his parole.

I am not sure what all he did but the thought of another little girl and her family being hurt like he had hurt me and mine made me retreat into myself some more.

I was so angry and frightened. I talked in my counseling sessions but I felt like nobody understood me and my counselor was out of touch.

I went to college away from home and stayed mostly in my dorm room studying. Except when my roomates would induce me to go out. I didn't eat for the most part and lost so much weight that my roomates were worried about me.

I dated one of my roomate's boyfriend's friends, he wasn't at all intimidating and I was curious about what it would be like to be with a man as I hadn't had a real boyfriend through school.

He was on drugs for most of our three week relationship. But I didn't care because I wasn't interested in a relationship. One night I told him that I wanted to have sex and so we did. He wasn't very present but neither was I.

I am sure that what I experienced as I lost my virginity (which I hadn't known I possessed) was true shock, and disassociation.

He and I are good friends now but it took a year for me to process the sexual act and put him in a safe friend corner of my mind. He and I shared a small affair the next fall term. And it was through his gentle coaxing that I began feeling a little safe around men.

But while he and I were on unfriendly terms I went through a phase when I flirted with many boys and fell for a boy who had a girlfriend (high school relationship that carried over) and I nearly seduced him. But after a clandestine relationship of a month or so he decided to end it. We never had sex but we were pretty intimate and slept in the same bed.

I was very hurt and felt very powerless and thrown away. Knowing I was attractive and thinking that was power and validation I used my sexual attractiveness to lure a player who I knew would be easy to play with. Who i thought I could get some sort of validation from.

I played it dumb and really honestly didn't want to have sex with him. But that changed when I got drunk with him.

He and I ended up in my bed naked. But since he was drunk he wasn't stiff enough to penetrate my very tight vagina. I had only had sex once still and was very inexperienced.

He wanted to make me happy and so performed cunnilingus on me. But that just made me feel dirty and angry as I remembered the nights my father abused me.

But because I wanted to be in control and because I didn't know how to say no I acted like I liked it.

He wanted something in return and because I couldn't give him my body he demanded oral sex. I obliged but when my mouth was on him he put his hand on my head and forced his penis deep into my mouth. I choked and didn't know how to make it stop so I stayed compliant and let it happen.

The next morning some sense of proving to myself that I was in control and to deny to myself that I had been afraid and hurt by him the night before I had sex with him.

It hurt so much. Sober now he wasn't sure if he should continue but I said that it was okay and forced myself to continue. I raped myself.

After this I continued a relationship with him knowing he had other girls and with the thought that he didn't care for me. My irrational reasoning was that having sex with him was a great way for me to learn how not to give power to sex.

We broke up but because we saw each other frequently around campus I couldn't heal and would have panic attacks that I didn't really understand.

It wasn't until years later in a much more healthy relationship that I began to understand how sex could be a warm affectionate act.

On my 21st birthday my father sent me a card from prison. I didn't open it until two years after I had gotten it. He apologized and told me he was being rehabilitated and learning how he has a chemical imbalance.

He didn't write to my other siblings. He just wanted of me a chance to try a friendship. It sounded like an old boyfriend begging for a role in my life.

I read it in a parking lot in my car. I cried. I haven't written him back as I know it is a form of manipulation. If he were truly sorry he would have apologized to all of us.

Jennifer from Worcester, MA | 23-March-02
I had spent most of the night outside on the front steps of my dorm. The cool air was refreshing after having vomited at least a half dozen times. I had been drinking, and wasn't used to alcohol. At this point, I was 90% coherent, aware of what was going on around me. Suddenly I was joined by all my friends who had come out to see what I was doing. I could hear their voices, I can still hear them today. I can feel them passing by me, jumping over me. Follow me as I get up again to vomit another 6 times on the sidewalk. I can still hear my roommate telling me I'll be OK. Then he was by my side. I felt Jarrad's arms around me, guiding me around the parking lot. It started to rain, and I could hear him singing Jim Morrison songs. I felt him follow me, and lead me inside. My friends, had dissapeared.

I remember him carrying me upstairs, up to the third floor to his dorm room. My feet smashed into the metal door as we cleared the stair case and entered his room. He dropped me on the bed, and slammed the door behind him. The black light was on, the room was absolutely filthy, and I could make out broken bottles and broken furniture on the floor. Then I felt him on me, not in one place for more than a second. There were sharp pains between my legs, on my breasts. My hair was wet from the rain outside, I was covered in vomit. I couldn't feel my arms and my hands began to tingle as the blood rushed out of them. The combination of vommiting and still being slightly drunk left me breathless and unable to speak. The weight of his body crushed me and all I could think about was "I can't believe he's doing this to me". I stretched my arms to my sides and tried to open and close my hands. I couldn't move, I was absolutely paralized and voiceless. He continued to take off all my clothing. I was cold, and still sick and so afraid of what was going on. Everywhere he touched, it hurt, pierced with pain. It was my first sexual experience, ever.

Eventually he passed out from the alcohol he had drunk. The size and weight of his body shoved me out of bed, and as soon as I could walk, I dressed and left his room. I remember looking at the poster he had in his room, of Jim Morrison illuminated by the black light. Jim stretched out his hands and seemed to beckon you to follow him. I remember thinking, I was in hell.

Returning to my dorm room, my roommate woke up and asked me if I was OK. I faintly wispered, "Yes", and went to bed. Still sick, in pain, and completely unable to understand how the night had progressed to this point.

It took me SO fucking long to realize I had been sexually assaulted. Jarrad was a popular guy, all the girls wanted him, so I thought if I had anything bad to say about him, I must be the one who was wrong. I was inexperienced sexually, so I HAD to of been the one mistaken. I even felt GUILTY that I had let him down, hadn't pleased him in some way. BULLSHIT! Some people will say to me now "It's your own fault for being drunk" or "Another rape victim not taking responsibilty for her actions". And for so long, for TOO long, I thought that way, and carried that guilt. WHY AM I THE ONE CARRYING GUILT!! How MONSTROUS can you be to pick up a person, covered in their own vomit, drunk and sick and RAPE them? I finally realized one day ... I am not to blame. What the HELL gives another person the right to take advantage of another human being. MY being drunk is NO excuse for his violence and intrusion on my body. It's taken me damn near 7 years to truly be able to believe that, and it's so clear, so true, so right!

I eventually told my mother what had happened to me, and told her the guilt I felt, the shame I felt. She looked me straight in the eye and said the words that still hold onto, the words I tell OTHER survivors today, " I DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE DRUNK, PASSED OUT, AND NAKED IN THE MIDDLE OF A PARKING LOT. NO ONE. I REPEAT, NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO VIOLATE YOU".

A little while later after the assualt, I had been talking to Jarrad's roommate. What his roommate told me, chilled me to my soul. He said Jarrad KNEW that night was going to be my first night drinking alcohol, he KNEW that I was going to be sick and he wanted to be there to "take care of me" when I was drunk and sick. He had planned the entire rape.