Share Your Story
Describe a time when professionals, friends, or family members received a disclosure of sexual violence and they did Start by Believing.  Or a time when they didn’t.

Feel free to identify yourself, or not.  Responses will be posted here at the website for the
Start by Believing campaign, and they may be shared via social media. 

Please note that we cannot respond to your anonymous post or provide help or other services.  If you need help or want to talk to someone, please contact the 24-hour sexual assault hotline operated by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656- HOPE or visit www.rainn.org to access the online hotline.

For other ways to get involved, click here.

Recent Stories
I was six, an innocent, loving child. I had the deepest amount of affection and trust for my cousin, whom at the time was 14. He was double my age, triple my height and four times my strength. He knew this, and he intended on making sure i knew it. It started just as any cousin relationship does, the occasional hug and playing footy in the back yard. However, he was horny just the same as any teenager, but he dealt with it differently. Instead of being normal and taking care of it himself or with consent he choose me. It started over the Christmas holidays. A six year old doesn't know what sex is, what flirting is, how it works, they just know that it doesn't feel right. I knew from the instant he tried to kiss me that it was wrong, but out of fear I didn't say a thing, not to anyone. He came over almost everyday and the threats just got worse and worse, eventually i was too scared to refuse and he finally got to kiss my the way he wanted. I thought it was over and that was it but the next time he came over he asked if I would lick his penis. I was terrified but i said no, he kissed me again, I hit him and tried to push him away. He pushed me backwards and pinned me down. He kissed me for a good five minutes. I hated it I was crying, I wanted to tell my mum straight away and tell her what he was doing, but the threats, the cruelty of this person, outweighed any other i’d seen and honestly, i was too scared so i let it happen. He then started to touch me. First my boobs then moved down lower. Each time i refused he either punched me or pinned me down. Eventually each time i gave up on fighting him off. A few days past and nothing more happened. I thought that that was it and i could move on now. Was i wrong. We were sitting in the hammock one day and he pulled his penis out. It was the first time i’d ever seen a real penis and it scared me to think what he was going to do next. That is when he grabbed my arm and pulled it over and made me grasp his penis. He touched my chest and vagina while i cried. He told me to put my mouth on it. I refused and tried to run away, which was stupid because he was faster than me. He punched me in the leg and then tripped me over. That was when he first entered me. I’ve never experienced pain so bad. It made me scream and cry so he covered my mouth until he was satisfied. He then pushed me and made some more threats. I was quiet but my mum could obviously tell something was wrong. This happened around five more times before finally i spoke out.
I am a 20 years old, pre-med & I suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Back then I was 14, shy, and a chubby nerd - previously violated a year earlier by a neighbor. I decided to sneak out one night to a party, where one boy named Tommy (turned out to be a false name) caught my interest. He was sweet and and older boy who thought I was pretty. I had been drinking very little, however, I walked upstairs into an empty bedroom because I was getting a headache. I didn't realize Tommy had followed me, I figured he was checking on me to see if I was okay. Well..... That's not what happen. He and two other boys came into the room, closed the door, locked the door, and my hell began. One of the boys said, "Is this her?" Tommy replied, "Yes, where's the money?" Money? Why are they talking about money and me? Then it clicked - Tommy sold me. I saw the cash handed over to Tommy and I got really scared and tried to run for the door. One of the boys grabbed me by the collar and said, "No way, we just paid $800 for you. You're ours for the next few hours." Few hours? $800? That's all I was worth to them? I wasn't a human being with feelings; I was a product and a service, and that was it. The two boys grabbed me, stripped me naked, tied me to the bed post my stomach, gagged me with my shirt, and began to.... hurt me. One of the boys started burning my legs with his cigarettes while the other one took his belt and whipped me. This was the source of "playful" torture. Tommy just sat there in the corner, laughing in admiration. I felt like I left my body; I seriously thought they were going to dump my body somewhere and no one would find me. I couldn't fight them. I couldn't move even. Then the raping began, it felt like someone stabbing me. They took turns repeatedly, covered me in their climax and sweat, and when they got done they untied me. One grabbed his gun, put it to my head, and said, "If you ever tell - I will find you and I will force you to watch me rape the women and kill the men." After that, I never saw any of them ever again. I have never scrubbed my skin so hard before. I felt disgusting. Unfortunately, I never got justice due police thought I was a liar & I didn't know my attackers well. Society blames victim, not abuser. Now, I slowly heal from the events that took place that night with therapy, running, and volunteer work with other abused victims. This gives me some kind of hope of peace.
When it happened I tried to block it out of my memory.... I was 13 years old and wanted to spend the night at my friends house, her house was incredibly dirty, her mattress was on the floor along with dirt and moldy food and clothes... Her older brother was having a party that night with all of his friends. By the time the party was over most of them had fallen asleep in my friends room on the floor...... I was woken up by somebody kicking my foot very early in the morning. I woke up and saw a man who I had assumed was one of her older brothers friends standing in front of me. He told me to get up, so I did. We left the room and he had a bottle of alcohol in his hand. He told me to drink it. I told him it was too early for alcohol but he insisted so I took one shot, then he insisted I drink more. He held the bottle up to my mouth and forcefully poured it in my mouth. I told him I didn't feel well and went to the bathroom to be alone because I got scared. I heard a knock at the door so I opened it only to see it was the same person who made me drink.... He forced his way in and locked the door behind him. I was so drunk and foggy that I didn't know what to do. He started to undress me and all I could do was weakly push his hands away until he threw me to the floor of the bathroom and put himself inside me. I just shut my eyes and kept saying no... I thought maybe it was all a dream and that I hadn't really been woken up in the first place... Then he picked me up and bent me over the sink, he pushed himself into me analy. All I could feel was a rush of pain but it wouldn't stop. I started to raise my voice to scream for help until he put one hand over my mouth and the other on my throat choking me until I could barely breathe... When it was all over he saw that I was bleeding from both of my areas and all I remember him saying was "I think I popped your cherry" and laughing. Then he left the bathroom and left me bleeding naked bent over on the sink... He was 24 and I was 13.
I was sexually assaulted roughly nine years ago. For the longest time, I didn't tell anyone. I just wanted it to go away. I thought that if I acted like it never happened, I could forget about it. I went to great lengths to avoid anything that reminded me of what happened. I purposely walked the long way to all of my classes, because I knew I wouldn't have to see him. Whenever I had to drive by the apartment complex where it took place, I would look away. If a memory of what happened popped into my head, I would run or clean my room or anything else that could get my mind of it, even for just a little while. This went on and on for nearly five years. Until the day my high school had an assembly on sexual assault and rape. I couldn't run away from it this time. I had to sit there any be reminded of what happened and I couldn't do one thing about it. It all came crashing down and I found myself unable to escape the memories everyday after that. I finally got into therapy and I'm working through what happened to me. I urge you, all of you, don't run away from your abuse. Confront it, work through it, it gets better.
I am 50 years old. But I have vivid memories of being cornered in an abandoned house with two male friends as a 15 year old and being told they would not let me go until I gave them both oral sex. I cried and screamed obscenities and was in such fear I did not even realize both boys left me there alone. I never told my parents. My teenage brain told me that this was an event that I had to handle myself. Talk to your children to let them know that these types of incidences are exactly what needs to be shared, and they will be believed.
All Submissions
 
Data pager
Data pager
11/16/2014
I was six, an innocent, loving child.
Read More
11/15/2014
I am a 20 years old, pre-med & I suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Read More
10/25/2014
When it happened I tried to block it out of my memory.
Read More
10/21/2014
I was sexually assaulted roughly nine years ago.
Read More
10/17/2014
I am 50 years old.
Read More
10/6/2014
I have never told anyone.
Read More
4/28/2014
When I started having flashbacks to a childhood rape, I contacted my county's rape crisis center and asked if they knew of counselors that had experience treating male rape victims.
Read More
4/23/2014
The first person I told about my rape was my husband and he made fun of me.
Read More
4/22/2014
Sometimes the perpetrator is your spouse.
Read More
4/18/2014
When I was in foster care, I used to get sexually assaulted and raped each day.
Read More
Start by Believing campaign proudly brought to you by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI).