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For Professionals - Describe a time when you or a colleague received a disclosure of sexual violence, and you chose to Start by Believing.

For Survivors - Describe a time when professionals, friends, or family members received a disclosure of sexual violence and they chose to 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. Before posting, all submissions will be reviewed for appropriate content.

Please note that we do not respond to posts. For survivors who 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 professionals interested in receiving training or technical assistance, please visit the website for End Violence Against Women International at www.evawintl.org or request assistance directly through our online portal.

Recent Stories
I was in my early 20's, still very naive and too trusting. I was dating someone I knew for a couple of years and allowed him to spend the night at my home. We made out, during which time the boundaries were established by my saying no when I was not o.k. with something he did. I was a virgin, very inexperienced. He didnt push for sex, in fact, he suggested that we go to sleep so he could make it to work on time the next day. I went to sleep that night like I had every other night, in a tshirt and underwear. Naive and trusting enough to sleep next to this man. I woke up with vaginal soreness. Not wanting to believe that I was assaulted in my sleep, I checked for blood. If I had been penetrated, I thought, there would be blood, my hymen would have broken. On another night, this time at his home, I woke up to his hand on my back side close to my vagina, am sure with the intent to finger me as I slept. It took me years to accept that this was assault. That despite my very bad choices, I had not consented to any form of penetration. What I now believe and am learning to accept is that he waited for me to fall asleep, when I couldnt say no, when I couldnt stop him or fight back and took advantage of my vulnerability to sexually assault me. Our laws prescribe a ten year sentence for digital penetration or penetration with an object without consent. The law is available, but the shame, the guilt, the stigma and the fear frankly still keep me from taking legal action which I know I should and which I hope I someday have the courage to pursue. Instead of legal action I have chosen repeatedly to deal with the situation in the wrong way. To call and text and lie and threaten him so I could get the details of my first sexual experiences, information I believe I deserve to have. I dont recommend this to anyone. It only invites verbal abuse and victim blaming. Many women go through extremely violent sexual assault at the hands of strangers or even people they know, my intention is not to equate my own experience to theirs. But what I do hope is that sharing this experience will affirm to any woman that reads it and has had a similar experience, that this too is sexual assault; that the pain it has caused you is valid. You cannot consent to any sexual act while you sleep and no one has a right to your body. After years, I finally have some clarity, I can finally say it; Chrisantus 'Chris' George Otundo sexually assaulted me, he is a sexual predator; it was a violation of who I am, it was disrespectful, it was abusive, it was criminal and I am a victim of sexual assault. I pray that I one day gain the courage to pursue legal action; the guilt if he did this to a young girl would be unbearable.
I was 8 years old. I am now 16. I remember Daddy coming in to kiss me goodnight but then he started touching me very inappropriately. My mom had no idea. He would bathe me and do it some more. My friends know about some of it but not who it was. I have to go to court twice a month and I have flashbacks every night when I close my eyes. My name is Rebecca. And I am asexual abuse victim.
it was planned it was an isolated place in the middle of no where i felt so alone and vulnerable i said no but he wouldn't listen i let it continue to protect myself i pretended everything was normal the next day i did what he wanted i didn't choose it. it was something bad that happened to me. it doesn't define me. i am still a loving smart caring girl who will continue to trust one day. the girl in the mirror that i see is broken. she is lifeless she doesn't get up on her usual sched she doesn't care about what she's eating she can't get a good nights sleep she lost her confidence she feels empty
I was molested by my grandfather....It all started in 5th grade when my parents divorced and my dad left my mother and me and mom had to live with my grandparents. So basically one day my mom and grandma were out shopping and left me alone with him. (they didn't know about him being a molester) I used to be a laptop addict and I wouldn't do anything but see the laptop all daym so one day he kept on calling me and asking me to go to the living room and I did. He was shirtless with his pot belly and stuff and whenever I think of it I really REALLY HAVE THIS URGE TO JUST..ugh. I hate it. He told me to sit with him and act like a 'grand daughter' and talk with him and stuff. He sat next to me very tightly, I was so unconfortable I didn't know what to do . I knew that some sexual touching is bad but when he did it I felt so.... shocked like each time I thought of I would always try to distract myself as if It never happened. That animal sat next to me and started shaking my chest area and he smiled at me. His smile was so vile I depise it . I can't. Please. :(. I couldn't get up and I was smiling awkwardly trying to comprehend what the hell just happened to me. Just imagine your own freaking grandfather violating you in such a way . Its disgusting. He never really touch my other parts but only my breasts. That guy then would kiss my lips like I was a sexual object. He would also contine this disgusting behavoir until 7th grade. He would somtimes when we were alone ask me to 'hug him' every time I come back from school. I didn't understand this. Every f****** time he would hug me it was like he wanted to feel my breasts really hard very tight hug. I hate it. And I know you might question why I didn't do anything. Honestly I didn't know what to feel.. I felt embarssed and mad. Thankfully one day A young woman from downstairs who was renting a part of the house with my family would always come over and stuff. I just had this feeling to ask her because I was very close with my mom, for some reason I didn't tell her first. I asked her if this kind of behavoir from my grandpa was normal she said it wasn't and that i should tell my mother . The next 2 days I decided to tell her. She cried and told asked me why it took me two years to tell her this. I couldn't answer her I told her I didn't know.. She asked if I 'enjoyed' it. I told her no. That man would sometimes ask me why I don't talk to him or talk to him like how a grand daughter should. And in my mind today I realize. Treating your daughter's daughter like a SEX TOY a fucking object. I am glad that I moved on. I was still scarred for life. I wish I would have slapped him across the face or done somthing. I would always replay those scenes and think of how it could have been. ~ A random person on Earth just telling you their story
So... I'm just writing this to know if I should be worried and if he did sexually assault me. Cause' I really don't know. I'm in 8th grade, I'm 14 and I matured a lot faster then any other girls, I ware a D size bra and it attracted a lot of guys in my class and in high school. I do live in Louisiana and the school I go too has only about 220 people there and it's pre-k through 12th. Anyway, to what happened (I will be using fake names). So it was around the beginning of November or late in October, im not really sure, but I went to my 6th hour class with my class and when we got there, we had to finish our FFA leaf project (you just collect a bunch of different leaves). Well CJ and I didn't finish, along with other people but our teacher- we had woods around our school- let CJ, his friend Dylan and I go in the woods to try and find the leaves by which we needed. Well, when we went in the woods Dylan went on his own way and left CJ and I alone, and we were just joking around and stuff and having fun, not even bothering looking for the leaves. Eventually he wanted me to give him a piggy back ride because I wouldn't let him give me one because I was wearing a skirt. When he jumped on my back I lasted about 30 sec. and then we fell. Well, when we fell, I fell between his legs and we were just laughing but then he started grabbing my breasts and I tried to get him to stop but I couldn't get up because he was holding me down and I told him "no" but he wouldn't listen. He then forced his hand between my legs and tried to finger me but the thing was he couldn't because I was also wearing tights with my skirt but he did however get a little ways in and it hurt. I eventually saw Dylan and broke myself out and ran to him. I acted as if nothing ever happened. But we were far back in the woods and we found all the leaves we could and we were heading back to school. Dylan was a little in front of CJ and I but I didn't mind because I thought that CJ wouldn't try anything when his friend was around. Well I was also wearing flats that easily slipped off and one did fall off. CJ picked it up but wouldn't give it too me. He said "I'll give you it back if I can grab your boobs." Well there were thorns and pine cones all around us so I couldnt make it back to school without hurting my feet badly so this is what I thought. I thought that if I said yes and I put my shoe on I could just run to school because we weren't that far from school so I said yes and he surprised. He came up to me and was about to grab me but I stopped him and said that he had to give me my shoe back. He did and I put it on and ran. To my luck I ran to a gate with trees that I couldn't go through and only the way I came could I go back. Well CJ was there and he said that I couldn't go anywhere and that I just shouldn't fight him and live up to my end of the deal. Thinking that I could run pass him, I tried and I did get pass him but he grabbed my hair and pulled me back and tried to through me on the ground. He then viciously started to grab my breast and dry humping me and it really hurt, I was begging him to stop but he wouldn't. He eventually stopped and left me alone. A week later he texted me asking for nudes and he said that he would stop messing with me if I gave them to him. I sent them to him and he did stop. For about 2 and a half months we went by like nothing ever happened. All though between this time and now I told my counselor, Mr. Bob, what happened, I didn't tell him everything but he did stress that if he touched me again that I should immediately come to him. Present Day: CJ is now started to act strange. Well before the thing in the woods, he was acted strange, he would slap my butt or try to lift me skirt up or rub against me. Now he's starting to rub up against me and he pulled a hand full of hair out of my head when I said something he didn't like and he would bend my hand back where it would fill as if it was about to break but he would stop right before it would. Question: Was this serious or not? It's just that he was laughing the whole time he did this. Also, should I be worried that he'll try something else because of how he's acting. And should I tell my counselor the whole story and what has been happening
All Submissions
 
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2/7/2016
I was in my early 20's, still very naive and too trusting.
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2/3/2016
I was 8 years old.
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2/1/2016
it was planned it was an isolated place in the middle of no where i felt so alone and vulnerable i said no but he wouldn't listen i let it continue to protect myself i pretended everything was normal the next day i did what he wanted i didn'...
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2/1/2016
I was molested by my grandfather.
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1/30/2016
So.
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1/30/2016
Inam chosing to remain anonymnas.
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1/27/2016
It started when I was 5 and she was 7.
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1/25/2016
I was 17, innocent and obviously so very naive.
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1/25/2016
A year ago I decided to go on a dating site called badoo.
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1/25/2016
When I was age 16 or 17and was in high school My best friend had a boyfriend whom was in his twenties and even tho she was 16, she was intimate and her parents allowed it.
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