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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.

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Recent Stories
I was roughly gang raped in 2010, my last year in High School. It was very shocking and came out of nowhere. I had just turned 18 on February 15 ,2010. I was so alone I didn't know what to do. No one can understand the mental and emotional pain that came with it. I'm still trying to recover ,but apart of me knows I'll never be the same. When I thought friends at school got a hold of my first anonymous letter it was unbearable. I was drastically bullied behind my back and in public. No one probably believed it. It wasn't supposed to be seen by the public. I was supposed to hold it in because I was threatened not to say anything. These men were not on the football team they appeared to be someone watching come home from school from day to day. I got a lot of criticism being a black girl and over weight. I felt watched or like I should be looking over my shoulder a lot afterwards. I'd get nightmares often and I'd end up reliving it again and again in my mind. I used to get people to call the house phone and hang up. Someone started screaming at me and calling me a liar one of the times the phone went on message. A man shot a gun outside of my house two different nights. My mom seem to notice something was wrong but she couldn't help me. She'd just tell me to call on God. I would run away and talk back to my mom frequently afterwards and cause her and the household to get very aggressive with me. I was to intimidated, low self-esteemed, and scared to tell anyone. The assault was a very violent invasion of privacy. I woke up everyday wanting to die afterwards. I was stalked, blackmailed, and even told "you now have aids". I was way too scared to stop them and there was nothing I could do. I've been keeping the secret from my mom for years. The men would bully and harass me so much and that rumor that I was a rape liar seemed to embarrass me so much I had to leave town. Girls would call me ugly and so would guys. Threaten to shoot me and actually pull knives on me and other weapons. I wanted to drop out because I was already having other problems. I'd cry myself to sleep every night. It was never ending. I kept isolating myself and looking over my shoulder. Why and how could this happen to me. Why would someone want to hurt me. The whole struggle makes me feel like being racist. I never knew this could happen to me. Even some of the Men's family members call me slut and make them hate me. . I stay sheltered because I still think the men are stalking me and I'm so scared I could take my own life. The men appeared to be gang related and it was like they could get away with anything.
My story is not quite as extreme as some others. I am a freshman in college. I was at college two weeks early for marching band camp. For the two weeks I had been living with my section leader, a TA and a couple other members of my section. At the end of the two weeks we had a party, a couple more people were invited over and there was about 15 of us. I had come to feel very safe in this environment. There was one guy who I had just met, he was a designated driver, so he was completely sober. I ended up sitting on the sofa next to him. I don't remember much after that, it kind of fades in and out. I remember people kept bringing me drinks and I had to be walked to the bathroom. I then remember laying on the sofa, my head in this guys lap. He had one hand in my shirt and the other in my pants. I was horrified, I couldn't stop him. I was in a room full of people and no one stopped him. Eventually, my section leader put me to bed. When I woke up the next morning and asked them about it, they said that I was non-verbally asking for it. Also that that is just what happens in college. "He's not the kind of guy that would do something like that." I felt worthless. It's now months later and I still have anxiety about drinking. I won't do it if my boyfriend is not around, because he's the only one I know I can trust to watch over me.
I'm a man. I was raped.
Let's get one thing straight: I was verbally and sexually abused, and as a result, I'm suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The first time it happened, I was 8. My mother was at work, and her boyfriend was looking after me. I was in my room, minding my own business, flicking through the channels, trying to find something amusing to watch. Suddenly, he barged in the room and started yelling at me, shoving me off the bed and onto the floor. He started shoving me with his foot at first, and then he started kicking. The beating got harder, and my screams got louder. I begged him to stop, but to no avail. He threatened me. He said, "Say anything about this, and you're dead". I was terrified. I was scared of what he would do, and so, I kept my mouth shut. From that point, he made the beating a routine from time to time. Whenever my mom wasn't home, working til really late at night, he would shove me around and beat me. I was 12 when he first started sexually abusing me. My mom was away on a business trip, and I was alone with him. I was sitting on one end of the couch, with him on the other. He started by calling me names like "Faggot" and "Fairyboy". I tried so hard to ignore him, but that seemed to only make him angrier. Of course, the beating came first. He punched me several times in my stomach, and kicked my left side until it hurt to breathe. I begged him, over and over, to "Please, just stop". He stopped. I was a mess on the floor, sobbing and holding my stomach in pain. He turned me over and sat on my chest, telling me that I should apologize for being " a little bitch". I apologized, at least 5 times, but that did not stop him from slapping me in the face and shoving his junk onto it. And in the next day, I found myself at the hospital. My mom's boyfriend told the doctor and the police that some kids from school did this to me, and when I was asked if it was true or not, I simply said, "Yes, it's true". I told nobody. I had the chance to stop him, but I didn't. I was terrified. And he didn't stop. At the age of 15, I met Jeffery, who was 22 at the time, and started dating him. He was the first one to know about my mother's boyfriend-turned-husband. He wanted to report him, but I stopped him. I begged him not to do anything about it, and he listened to me. Because I was terrified of my stepfather. Two years later, I moved in with Jeffery after graduating high school, and my stepfather gave me hell whenever I went back to visit. Whenever my mom wasn't there, he would verbally abuse me, calling me a disgusting fag, telling me that I don't deserve to live anymore. I was close to suicide. But Jeffery stopped me. He stopped him. Jeffery reported him to the police, and my stepfather was sentenced 5 years. Thankfully, he is still away in prison. But my mother broke. She broke when she realized how broken I was. Throughout all of this, Jeffery stood by my side. He supported me, loved me, and more importantly, fixed me. I found my happiness with Jeffery. However, my PTSD was getting worse. I started having flashbacks and nightmares every single night. I was frightened to the point where I saw a hallucination of him standing right outside the window. Everything that I thought I got rid of, came back. Even Jeffery is affected by it. It's my fault. It's my fault that Jeffery is now depressed. It's my fault that I'm not getting any better. It's because I didn't stop him that day at the hospital. It's all because of me. And now, I'm struggling not to grab a razor blade and cut my wrists and end it all. I want to kill myself and end my suffering, but I love Jeffery. I love him, but I cause him pain. I want to kill myself. I want to end it all. -Jonah, 19.
It's been over 11 years. Back before I met my husband. After I ended things with my now ex-fiance. I was 22 years old and had just started living on my own. I was hanging out at my apartment with a guy I has known peripherally for years during middle and high school. We shared a mutual best friend. I was told he felt ugly and didn't think girls like me would like him. I thought he was attractive and liked that vulnerability about him, so our friend set us up to hang out. I picked him up from his parents' house and he offered me an Oxycontin on the way. I don't do drugs, so I declined. We were at my apartment listening to music and looking through our yearbook. He asked if I wanted a beer or shot from the fridge, but I said "no". He kept asking, so I accepted a lite beer of which I drank about a half as I didn't really like beer - I had it there for friends. I was not a lightweight in the drinking department, so I couldn't have possibly been drunk off of what I had. The next thing I remember is being on my back loosely propped up on my own couch like a rag doll and him struggling to take off my pants. I blacked out again. Next flash is me lying on my bedroom floor naked with him putting on a condom, beginning to climb on top of me, and talking about his "huge cock". At these flashes, I remember not being able to move. I felt like lead. I couldn't even lift my head. Then I remember waking up next to him in my own bed. I couldn't even remember if it was the same day or not. I was completely disoriented. I felt horrible because I couldn't remember what had happened to me, so I pretended to be asleep. He proceeded to put a pillow over my face and began to masturbate. When he was finished, I waited a while and then got up to use the restroom and took him home. Our mutual friend came over to hang out the next day and before I could tell him anything, he told me he already knew what happened. I was all over him, I was told. He couldn't keep me off of him, I learned. I was told that I was a slut. It was so funny. I wasn't a virgin, but this was the first time I had felt shame and embarrassment. But, at the time, I had no idea I had been drugged. I thought I had somehow gotten so drunk that I blacked out and acted terribly. I mean, that's what I was told. I had that mark on my record, now. That shameful (for females only, of course) list of sexual partners. It was one that felt awkward. One that I didn't feel was right. And I hated it. But, I kept it under my hat for another two years. The day after, the guy called me and asked if I would hang out with him again. I was in a strange fog and said, "yes" - I didn't want to seem even more slutty by not ever seeing him again after I "ravaged him". His dad has gotten back into town halfway through our date and we wound up going to the movies with him. I'll never watch that movie again. It's a funny one with one of my most favorite comedians, but I can't bring myself to even speak its title. I felt so dirty sitting in that theater next to him and then going to dinner with his dad who was so gracious and sweet. I feel his poor dad had no idea what he had raised. 2 years later, when my now-husband and I were discussing our sexual pasts, I told him that this one was odd to me. Didn't feel right. I shared the entire encounter with him in detail. When I was done, he looked in my eyes and said, "You realize you were raped, right?" I was shocked. I had no idea, but it made everything make as much sense as snippets of memory could. I said, "No...I never thought that." He continued to explain to me that was what happened and that I should feel no shame or embarrassment. While it was a horrible revelation for me, it was a beautiful moment to look back on. While the man I thought was my best friend made fun of my rape, this guy who I was just starting to admit I was falling for showed me an empathy I didn't realize a male could feel. I grew up being sexually touched against my will by random males, including my own father a couple of times. I had never been raped before that, but I had suffered. I am 33 years old now. I have been going to a counselor for 4 of those years who is male. He is amazing. He's taught me so much about myself and helped me allow myself to feel worth. I told my mother and one of our dearest friends about 3 years ago. I didn't mean to - it just happened in conversation. My mom didn't really respond, but our friend quickly got up and hugged me as I cried. My mom still makes comments about women who don't report being irresponsible or hard to believe. Same with those suffering abuse (which I suffered at the hands of my ex-fiance). She knows these things about me now (except for my father's involvement), yet she still holds the old anti-feminist female-to-female hatred. It hurts, because she's my mom who has always been there for me and stood up for me like the most passionate momma bear. But I have my counselor and my truly amazing husband. And I am today the mother to two beautiful boys. Two boys who will grow up to learn to never, ever treat a woman (or another man) as a sexual object. As an object of any sort. They will learn to respect their fellow humans and never violate them. They will know my story, so they can understand that even someone like their sweet, non-sexual mother can suffer such a fate. A woman they would feel could never have "brought it upon herself". You are not alone. We are not alone. We are strong. We are worthy. And we will survive.
All Submissions
 
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12/6/2014
I was roughly gang raped in 2010, my last year in High School.
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12/6/2014
My story is not quite as extreme as some others.
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12/3/2014
I'm a man.
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12/3/2014
Let's get one thing straight: I was verbally and sexually abused, and as a result, I'm suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
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12/3/2014
It's been over 11 years.
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11/16/2014
I was six, an innocent, loving child.
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11/15/2014
I am a 20 years old, pre-med & I suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
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10/25/2014
When it happened I tried to block it out of my memory.
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10/21/2014
I was sexually assaulted roughly nine years ago.
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10/17/2014
I am 50 years old.
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