You stole from me.
You full of hate and anger looked at me and saw something you can never have.
So you stole from me.
You stole from me.
YOU TOOK MY INNOCENCE!
How can I ever get that back?
For years I walked around with a chip on my heart.
Darkness surrounded me.
I can never let anyone close.
You stole from me.
There’s a part of me that will always be silent when I meet someone new.
You stole that part from me!
I can never look at another person the same again.
No matter how much I want to – there will always be that thought. That nagging evil thought:
“But what if they hurt me too?”
You stole my innocence.
You stole from me.
How can I get over that?
Finally I’ve realized you don’t.
You get through it.
And by God’s grace I am working through.
Yes, it’s been 15 long years, but I swear you ain’t gonna win.
I will be a ninja and fight, cause there is NO way you will win.
Jessica Tweets as @imperfectmomma.
I was raped when I was 22. It was fast and stunning. I knew the guy, a friend of a friend of a friend, and it happened in a car after a concert. He just kept repeating the same thing "you know you want this." I did not. I did not. I fought and pulled away, but then something sort of broke inside of me and I froze. I think I froze. I still can't explain to myself why I didn't get out of that car. I used to say if it happened again I would kill him in order to get away. I would do it all differently.
No hospital, no police, no counseling. I mostly tried to pretend it didn't happen. It felt like it happened in a movie to someone else, or I told myself to think that way. It's just this horrid thing in the back of my mind, this place where I don't understand the world, men, myself.
Over 15 years later, it's still there. You would think it wouldn't be. For all those years this thing haunts me but not in a big way. I used to tried to tell boyfriends about it. When that question "who have you been with comes up." Or when I'd be not in the mood for sex. (I can get overwhelmed when faces are too close to mine.) But I always regretted telling them. It made it present in our lives too much. In our faces. They always said "why didn't you just run?" And then they saw me differently.
So I stopped telling people. I've since had friends tell me stories of rape or talk about it in general and I give them sympathy or say I can't imagine. I didn't tell my boyfriend, the one, the one who is now my husband of almost 8 years. He doesn't know and never will. I almost told him when I was pregnant, because childbirth and breastfeeding put me in this weird space about it all again. That overwhelming feeling from breath in my face was there and I hated it.
I feel horrible that I hated it, but I did. It was a depressing time, I feel like it was a lost time and I was not at my best. I can't even imagine having another baby, and I think this is the reason.
I wish I didn't have so many regrets but I don't regret keeping my secret. It feels good to say these things, but I don't like being defined by them. My only question is whether some day I will tell my daughter. The thought of her not being safe makes me sick. I want her to know how to fight back. I want her to never have to worry about any of this.
Firstly I wanted to say all of the stories posted here have moved me greatly and I feel this website is doing such a wonderful job in bringing these issues out of the shadows.
I grew up in an abusive household and I guess I didn’t know what a normal relationship looked like. I moved out when I was 17 and wanted to start fresh. I thought that I had finally escaped my abusive past and fallen in love with my Prince Charming.
The first two years everything seemed good. It appeared to me that I was living in a bubble of happiness and I genuinely thought this person was my best friend. Looking back on it I can see that there may have been signs as there were a few instances where he was short tempered with other people but I shook those off because I loved this person completely.
My bubble burst about two years into the relationship when things turned to violence. I remember it began slowly where during an argument he would hold me down or pinch me surreptitiously in public if I said the wrong thing. Then one time he threw me off of our bed and began to kick and hit me. I was in total shock. There was no apology. There was no recognition of what had just happened. We both just walked around as though it had never happened. I mentally blocked it out as best I could because this was the man that I had broken my virginity to, this was the man that I loved, the man who loved me.
Similar incidents began to occur with greater frequency. I remember he launched at me and smacked my head into a cupboard when I was arguing with him about watching pornographic material. I believe this caused me concussion because I was in a lot of pain and very dazed and confused and all I wanted to do was sleep. He was very clinical about it and said that I couldn’t sleep because if people have concussions then they can die so he kept me awake for half an hour. It has always puzzled me why he did that. Was he afraid I would die and then he would be charged with my murder? It seems like a very strange thing to be so concerned about after having done the act itself.
Another time I was having a huge panic attack and shaking all over and he began to punch me so that I would stop. He punched my stomach repeatedly. I said to him I felt like I was dying and I just remember him saying, “you’re not dying” and punching me as though in his mind he was just trying to make me see reason. I felt like I was the person in the wrong and that he was just doing the right thing by calming me out of my panic attack. Its strange how we can be made to feel that things are out our fault.
Another time he flipped me over on the bed and began sinking his nails into my neck and as I struggled to get up he pushed me back down. I remember wondering whether my neck would snap; whether it was a reasonable or unreasonable fear I don’t know. I just remember feeling very afraid.
I recall countless incidents after that of being throw across the room, attempted strangulation, blood nose, blood lip, bruises, scratches, being thrown out of my chair and being denied the ability to contact a therapist. I can see now why he didn’t want me to speak to a therapist because he was worried perhaps that I would report him. It seems the more depressed I became the more the violence continued, he even ripped a number of special items of clothing and one necklace while it was on my neck which he had given to me.
One of the final counts of violence was when I was at his house. I was surfing the net and I think I must have had a cup-of-soup in one hand. I had brought up the number for a psychologist. He came behind me to see what I was looking at and seeing this he flipped me from my chair and the soup fell all over me and scalded me. He didn’t say sorry and he didn’t help me clean myself up. At times I asked him why he did these things and he said that it was because I made him do it.
I found the entire experience incredibly dehumanising. Perhaps the greatest blessing in disguise was that he ended up ditching me for another woman (I sincerely hope he never hurt her). However, I was finally free as I don’t think I would have known how to free myself I was that deeply entrenched in that world. My whole reality was altered. I suffered with deep, deep PTSD after the relationship broke down and was even hospitalised with severe symptoms.
Since then I have rebuilt my life and I am proud of how far I have come and what I have achieved. I am writing a law honors thesis on a legal issue to do with domestic violence. I intend for the exercise to be healing and to propel me in my journey, which I hope will ultimately be one that helps other survivors.
Despite the fact that I hear so many tragic stories, I do still believe in love. I believe that love can conquer all burdens and wounds. However, I now know what healthy love looks like. I am an eternal optimist.
It may not seem original
Do not ascribe that to my lack of creativity
Or free thought
It is attributable only to the fact
That I am not the only woman to live through this
Far from it
Blame this lack of originality
On our society
And its teachings
And its lack of unlearning
The need for control
I am merely one in four
On college campuses
That has been
Can that even be considered
A minority group
In our society anymore
Can that even be
Like I did.
I had no choice but to.
I had no choice in any of this.
On that word.
A defining factor of yourself
Shoved onto you
Penetrating your self-perception
A black mark
Unwanted and unasked for
Forced onto you by another
And their selfish desires or lack of self control
Somehow it now defines you
Ask yourself.. How fair.
where is our justice.
Being burdened with this word
Let alone the memory.
Breathe it in
Exhale deeply through it.
Center it within your body and feel it’s presence
Weight on mind
Heavy on heart.
Feel the disgust spreading through your extremities
This word is somehow an ugly composition of lines
Or is it tainted with the meaning.
Focus it until you corse with the colors that I did
Mainly the darkness of self-loathing
I want you to feel what that word is
To one in four women on college campuses
Do not look away.
stare at it
It is an ugly word
Only because it is the one of the most despicable acts
One human being can use to inflict on another
While most can barely read the word
Keep looking back at it
Just to make sure its real
I wrote it there
So you couldn't ignore it.
Deal with it for the 3 moments it takes to read this.
As I live with the memory of it
For my entire life.
Do not shy from the connotation that bites painfully into you
You want to
To shelter yourself
To pretend it does not exist
It doesn’t happen
Not to me
Not to my girl friends
No man I surround myself would do that to
My body- that I respect and honor
My soul’s sacred temple
Whose walls could never be graffitied
by such a perverse act.
It just doesn’t happen to me
It doesn’t happen to anyone
Now repeat that
A million times to yourself
And your friends
And your colleagues
Then look up the statistics
Then please contact me
Write to me
Talk to me
Yell at me
Did ignorance change the prevalence of it?
the vile truth
stop it from happening
To another woman
Unwanted physical contact.
over another’s body.
Being the one out of control...
Powerless is not a word descriptive enough to tell you
What I felt that morning
It was the first day of a new year.
that was the first thought I had upon waking.
The first day of a year of days yet to be filled.
hopeful and fresh.
Still naive to the retrospective happenings
That happened right where I was laying as these thoughts came to me.
I woke up in your bed.
Tired after a full night's sleep?
I had thought I had slept in your bed alone.
Residual drag could be blamed on my drunken stupor the night before.
How did I get here?
Last thing I remember was..
Whats the last thing I can remember?
Ball dropping in times square
Countdown… palpable pulsing excitement
Screaming 3.. 2..1..
Happy new year!
that following time period is a sensory deprivation chamber
One I have been in before
One I have come safely out of
In the morning
After empty sleep
Later laughing with friends
Over silly things that I did
I could not remember
But thats what friends are for.
To keep you safe
To remind you of your late night
Innocent in their nature
I went down creaky stairs to find you.
To find out what laughable things I had done.
I had spent new years eve
Out. enjoying time with my friends.
Friend. I was still blind. So you were still this to me.
I find you. I sense…… Nothing wrong
I return to your room. To clothe my body. In something of mine thats appropriate. For the first day of the new year.
I see it. All too suddenly it is laid before me. Shoved into my view.
It has been called the glass slipper of our generation
And it is all the evidence I need. Repulsive. Mind suddenly racing. Thoughts
slurred together, as if the alcohol I’d ingested the night before had suddenly
come back. And ruined my ability to think clearly.
Any contents it held had long ago leaked onto the wood of your bedroom like a
It drowns me
But no memory
Of the previous nights happenings
See I thought we had an understanding
Maybe you were hopeful, we had made out a few times but 2 weeks prior
I explicitly stated
We are just friends
Sorry if this disappoints you I just don’t feel that way for
Is that not my right?
I have to know
Because it couldn't have happened
There is no way in hell.
This really does not happen to people
At least it doesn’t happen to me..
But in a few questions
you confirm my worst fear
And I resist throwing up on your bedroom floor.
Has to be given to someone
What other target
I was the one who got me drunk
So drunk I fell down at the party
So drunk you had to carry me home
Like the good friend I thought you were
You laid me in your bed.
And then apparently laid down beside me
And proceeded to have sex with me.
To then believe my drunken agreement that
I want it
Give it to me.
My drunken consent
Its no consent at all
How can you justify that it was agreed upon by us both
When you remember ever ongoing
And I was told of it by the used condom still laying on you floor
Would you even had told me if I hand’t asked?
What gave you the idea
That you could get away with this
it was okay
I was clear thinking enough to give you permission
Even tho you carried me home
my drunken state had no effect on my ability to consent
Even though I couldn't even stand at the party
That I wanted it even though I had told you I had no interest
When I was sober
Well tell me
Which bullshit excuse to validate your actions was it?
You gave me $40
To pay for a pill
Composed of chemicals
Which I do not agree with putting into my body
Under normal circumstances
But had to
Because I cannot have a child now
So you paid me off
I felt used
Even more worthless, as if this money was to be a compensation, a fix-it, an eraser of what happened, of what you’ve burdened me with.
As if a fertilized egg was the only burden.
I was not, in that moment
Even worth that $40.
But it was my fault
Because I got drunk
And trusted him
Sitting in my car, Repulsed to still be next to you
But hiding it , Because I would not be unkind to you
When this was my fault.
One in four women
May have believed At some point afterwards
That they asked for it
In the way they dressed, in the way they acted, in the way they flirted
Because thats what you are taught.
I want you to scream NO.
Whisper it at first.
Then scream it at the top of your fucking lungs
And put some heart into it.
Because it is time that every single person
Not just one in four women
Not just women
You did not ask to be raped
The only blame to attribute is to whomever defiled your sacred temple
Without your permission.
One in four
is no longer a minority.
One hundred percent of this
Can no longer be ignored.
And do not let that word distract you.
It is not how I perceive this
It is no minor event
No part of this is minor
One in four is too many
One is too many
So read it again
As many times as necessary
To see how ugly it is
I pray that you
You won’t do it
Because every woman
Deserves to wake up
To a fresh day
Or a new year’s first morning
Without having to live every day on
With the memory
that she has been