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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
This year was my first year at school & I was dorming. I was in another state as well. This happened March 30, 2016. It was almost 1 am & I was doing some homework. I was on my period at the time & I told the guy that I cannot do anything but he just wanted to "ask me something". He was in the lounge on my floor, right across from my room & the lights were off. Even though i turned them on, he turned them back off. He asked me what I meant by "I couldn't do anything" and when I told him I was n my period he said "damn i really wanted to f*ck you".... He then said he just wanted to see my butt so he pulled down my pants & then started to walk me over to a chair & bent me over. I didn't fight him, I didn't scream for help.. I never said no, but I never said yes either... I thought I had got my point across by telling him I was on my period. He initially tried to do anal but couldn't get inside. He ended up inside my vagina and ejaculated inside of me. After he asked what hole he was in & when I told him the right one he said he thought he was in my butthole... He told me not to tell anyone especially my roommate. I took a plan b the next day & that was probably the worst month. I stopped going to class & I started taking MDMA frequently. What made it worse was that my birthday was just 3 days away. I eventually told my roommate, my sister, & a few of my friends. I never told the police because I did not want the school or anyone else involved. i did not want to try to convince people to believe that I was actually raped. I am doing much better now. What we all have to remember is that it is absolutely not our faults for the actions of others.
Im 12 years old & have been sexually abused 2 times in my life. What hirts the most is that I was sexually abused by my cousins. The first time was when i was six & he was 14. We weren't really close but he used to be at my grandmas house all the time , one time right before going to the mivies we went to my grandmas house first , no one was there except for him , my grandparents had gone out & had left him there to wait for my mom, sister, my brother & I. I went upstairs to go to the restroom & he was in my grandmas room which is right next to the restroom , he told me we were gonna play the doctor game & I thought we were actually playing a game so I agreed. Next thing I know is he's trying to open my legs while im laying down so he can check me supposedly as a doctor , then he proceeds to making me turn my back to the mirror pulling down my underwear & making me look back at my bare butt. He then grabs my face and starts kissing me with his tounge , he tells me to kiss him but all I can feel his sloppy lips against mine , I was trying to pull away but he kept pulling me back , he then starts to kiss my butt as I keep trying to get away from him . I dont remember much after that but im pretty sure he then kissed & licked my private parts . Once he stops he threatens me & tells me not to tell anyone . So I never did , I remember in 2nd grade in counselers class with all my classmates they told us to think of something sad & thats what I thought of. Although i was still little I think I understood that it was wrong & he hurt me. I am now 12 years old & still nobody knows. The second time i was abused was also by a cosuin. He sexually abused me for almost a whole month . The worst part is that I let it happen to myself again. The first time that he touched me was one night that his parents had a party , me and some cousins went to that party , that night it was to laye to go back home , so we spent the night. I remember me , my cosuin who abused of me & another cousin were in one bed. Later that night one of my cosuins left cause he was uncomfortable and i satyed by myself with the other one & he touched me first on my butt & he told me it was big , I thought he was playing around so I laughed and hit his hand still thinking that he was just playing . He then touched my vagina , I felt really uncomfortable so I kinda made a fuzz about it and told him to stop . He di he told me to be quite because everyone was asleep. After a little while I had cooled off & when I thought he was playing around asking me if I was drunk he put my hand on his stomach he told me to lower my hand , & I did still thinking that he was just playing around & being wierd until he told me to lower my hand more & I laughed and said no because then I would touch his penis . He then grabbed my hand and made me touch his penis I pulled my hand away and very loudly told him to stop . He told me to calm down again because everyone was asleep.The next day I felt horrible but ai didnt tell anyone because at first I didnt understand what had happened. But about 2 days later he texted me and asked if I remembered what had happened the other night. I played dumb and asked "what" " what do you mean?" he said oh nothing I was just randomly asking . When I texted him back I said that I did remember & that it had hurt me mentally . He said that he was an idiot and that he would never do it again , I said okay but that I was mad & it was obviously not gonna be the same . A couple days past and things kinda went back to normal , amd I thought it was not going to happen ever again but he started doing it again he kept on doing it for almost a whole month. I was there for a month amd a half of the summer (at Mexico on Vacation) . Once I came back to the United States I kinda blew it off for a long time , until about May of 2016 . I texted him amd asked him if he remembered what had happend and wrote him a long letter about how he had hurt me . He apologized and said that he made mistakes and that when I went on vacation he was going to make sure that I had a lot of fun. Once I got to mexico I didnt talk to him when I saw him because i was obviously mad. I would text him and tell him that i needed and apology in person and he would say that he would do it but he never did it . He would text me and ask me if i was gonna talk to him and would get mad at me for not going up to him and talking . He did that for about 2 weeks, one day he texted me that he was going to kill himself because of my fault and that I was going to ruin the whole family if I ever told anyone. Thats when I decided that I needed help and ge needed help so I told one of my uncles hai wife , & their kids which are my cousins who i was currently staying with. So then we told his dad which is my uncle and my moms brother. My unlce took it verybad amd was gonna semd him to another part of thecountry and he said and did a lot of things. One day later he asks to talk to me and my cousin who sexually abused me i accept , we talked abut the problem for about 4 hours until we finally found a solution , me and the cousin that sexually abused of me are now on good terms although what he did was wrong we found a way to make everything better . We are not the best cousins in the world but he respects me a lot more and is tryung to win my love (cousin/family love). Although I have never told anyone about the first time I was sexually abused I think that this friday im going to tell him and ask for advise , but mostly I want to tell him because I dont want anymore secrets in my life and i wmat a weight lifted off my shoulders , i think that he is the person to tell because i htink he will understand although right now we may not be close before all of this happened we used to tell me eachother everything so that is why I wante to tell him. Anyways thsi is my story.
I was raped but I believe it's my fault I let him in i explained to him I'm not ready make it go down it went down we kept kissing he didn't like it too much I got off and keepers watching tv then I wanted his attention so I kissed him I was on top of him because that was the only way to kiss him he would not turn side ways I said I wanna wait till your birthday or mine plus we need a condom he said he doesn't have one I said this is why we wait he rubbed my back I started to feel warm inside he said it's gonna feel so good I said lets wait I don't think I'm ready before this we kinda experimented but I didn't shave we didn't plan to have sex I told him stop he stoped . He told me to take off my pants I said no you take it off we kept kissing then we took off our pants well I pulled mine back up and looked at him he said take it off I did he said get down I did it I keep telling him no he said it's too late and he penetrated me I was so scared I blacked out but he was the man I love I just couldn't tell anyone what happened I was ashamed then I told myself it was consensual.
It started when I was younger . . . way too young to understand the things that were happening to me. As a child you're told not to be shy. To get to know the people around you because they're your "family". But you never see it coming behind the smiles and the occasional touching. I mean, you're in a safe place and everyone wants to get to know you. You find yourself in conflict with respecting someone who's older than you. That no matter what's being done to you, that smile assures you that nothing's wrong. He was a "family" member, or so I thought, and it went on like that for quite some time. I blamed myself a little for letting it happen . . . for letting them take advantage of me but it was already to late. In spite of what has happened, that person isn't in my life at the moment but its still something that forces me to think twice about who I invite into my life. It was hard moving on from then. I started listening to metal and rock music, wearing black when my mom told me not to, I even used to cut myself a little too. Whenever I'd go out, I wouldn't wear anything too revealing. Baggy jeans and a nice top. Nothing too tight fitting either [or maybe that's just me and my weight]. Sometimes my mind would be elsewhere in a conversation even though I would be there physically. I'd laugh and pretend I was following along but honestly I just wasn't all there. I began to see men in a different light. Whenever sex came up I would just find myself a little uncomfortable. I wish they wouldn't ask. If I'm ever in public I try to put some space between us so people don't get the wrong impression. I don't believe in love or romance but I do like 80's music, or anything a little older, and ecchi anime. I have a lot of people around me now but its still hard for me to trust them all the way. For right now I try my best to enjoy myself and my own company as a lone wolf. I am Tivannee Prince. I am a survivor.
Just this weekend i attended a small gathering at my friend's brothers house and his roommate was there. He has known me for years and has always been infatuated with me. We all watched a movie and he tried sticking his hand in my pants. I was uncomfortable but didnt want to make a big deal of it because my friend and her brother were in the same room. As the night went on, my friend's brother decided to go to bed and my friend left quickly because she had started her period. That left me and him in the living room alone. I told him i should probably start going to but as soon as my friend left the house, he grabbed me, pinning me down onto the couch and started to kiss me. I tried to push him off but he just kept himself down on me and i was too afraid to make a noise and wake my friends brother up. I would have been so embarrassed if he were to see me like that. Then he proceeded to stab his fingers in me to try and get me off but it hurt so bad and he kept sticking one, then two, then three in (im a virgin, or perhaps, was) and i swore any second i would start bleeding. I tried to like it, like it was some spontaneous spur of the moment romantic deal. Of course it wasnt though. After of course he decided i was ready enough, he let himself have away at me. Called me beautiful and sexy. I tried to enjoy it. But it hurt too much. He tried choking me, i guess because thats what gets him off, but it was so difficult to breath and the room was so dark except for the X files playing softly on the tv. after he was satisfied with his craving, he told me hed been wanting to do that for 3 years. 3 goddam years. His little sister is nice. She goes to church with me. He had just given me $10 earlier that night for food. He called me beautiful and talked like a gentleman. He was just too excited i guess. I guess i led him on by being too nice. All i know is ive never felt so disgusted about my body until a man, a man i knew well and for many years, was writhing and heaving on top of it as my insides hurt.
All Submissions
 
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8/17/2016
This year was my first year at school & I was dorming.
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8/16/2016
Im 12 years old & have been sexually abused 2 times in my life.
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8/16/2016
I was raped but I believe it's my fault I let him in i explained to him I'm not ready make it go down it went down we kept kissing he didn't like it too much I got off and keepers watching tv then I wanted his attention so I kissed him I was on top o...
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8/15/2016
It started when I was younger .
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8/14/2016
Just this weekend i attended a small gathering at my friend's brothers house and his roommate was there.
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8/13/2016
Me and my younger sister were molested and I was raped up till I was 3, she 1 1/2.
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8/6/2016
I lived in a small town when I was younger.
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8/6/2016
I'm 16 and my on and off boyfriend one night took me one of his friends house for a party.
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8/5/2016
This was just a few minutes ago.
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8/2/2016
I went to a bar with some friends and the bartender offered me and my friends free beers.
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