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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
Its the late 80s and i am around 8-9 years old. Being a child in the 80s was innocent fun. You could trust anyone. So it wasn’t a big deal for me to spend the night with my godparents son. My god brother “Tim”. He was around 9. “Jim”, my oldest god brother was 15. One night “Tim” wanted to show me something. He said there was a way that girls make boys feel good but i couldn’t say anything cause I would get in trouble. The next thing i know i’m laying under him, naked. At the time i figured it was supposed to hurt to make him feel good. This “game” happened every time i spent the night. One night while he played with me his big brother “Jim” walked in and caught us. Tim got off me but we just laid under the covers butt naked. Jim didn’t say or do anything, he just stared at me. I can remember i wanted to cry because i thought he was guna tell my parents. He closed the door and Tim finished his game with me. Now Jim had always loved having me sit on his shoulders. He would tickle the inside of my thigh and went higher and higher every time till he was no longer tickling my thighs but my private. I didn’t say nothing. I let him do it. He also loved to sit me on his lap, but I thought it was his belt buckle on my bottom. He would tickle me more and make me wiggle around on his lap. Anyways, back to that night Jim caught us, later that same night i woke up from a bad dream i guess and left the room. I heard Jim awake in his room so I peeked in and he told me to lay down. I told him i was scared and i fell asleep. Fast forward to the present day, I lost contact with them when i was around 11. I found them on facebook a couple months ago and after talking for a few months, I finallyconfronted the oldest one with what i remembered and he couldn’t stop apologizing. I told him i have had these horrible nightmares of him on top of me hurting me. He confessed it wasn’t just nightmares but repressed memories. I made him tell me what happened that night because I couldn’t remember. He said i laid by him and he held me. He removed my shorts and fondled me. He then orally molested me. He started to insert his penis but it was painful for me so he took it out. He said i just fell sleep. When i asked him if there was anything else he did and he said no. I don't believe him. I was always on his shoulders or on his lap. My godfather, from what I remember, only sat me on his lap and when he would pick me up to hug me he would wrap my legs around his waist, his arms wrapped around my thighs and his hands on my bottom but his fingers were always on my private. I new what they wanted from me and i jus let it happen. I didnt understand that i had no control over sexual arousal and that i wasnt supposd to enjoy it. It was a different feeling and i liked it. I was taught wrong and it wasnt my fault. There are still missing pieces to my memory puzzle and it’s frustrating. I still have some nightmares and now i dont know if there repressed memories or just ugly nightmares.
I was five when it happened the first time. I was playing with the nieghbor girls down the street when my biggest nightmare approached me. Their grandfather forced us to "play" on his van. He would lock the doors and rape us. He did this for four years till it finally stopped. I tried to stay away from him but he would show up at my house telling my parents the girls wanted to play and he'd take me. He threatened to hurt me if I told so I kept shut. I finally told the school counsoler and the cops came to school. Word quickly got around and my years of torment by my peers began. I got beat up and made fun of a lot. It took 3 years to build a court case and when we did I had to testify in front of my abuser for hours. He was put in prison for a life sentence for the rape of multiple girls, possession of a weapon, and child pornography and for not registering as a sex offender after his first jail stay. That man ruined my life. Today I suffer from severe PTSD and often get flashbacks. It makes daily life extremely difficult. However, I try not to let this part of life control me and I strive to prove the world wrong. I am a mother, I am a friend, I am a nurse, I am kind, I am a wife, I am beautiful and most importantly I am a survivor.
My story isn't too important to me, but I figured I'll share it. I'm a 18 yr old female and when I was young, my grandfather was very mean to me. He would hurt me and my siblings and we'd hate to see him. Since he's my dad's dad, my dad is also very cruel to my mother. He won't punch her, but he will hit her and things. I have a stepbrother, who is only 11 and has to see his dad abusing us and my mom.
I can’t really remember how old I was not that it’s been to long but a few years have passed and it’s something I cannot forget. Usually when your 14, 15 things that happen don’t really stay stuck to you but this did. I grew up without my Mom and Dad and was raised by my lovely grandparents whom I adore with all of my heart and I cannot thank them enough for all they have done. They were very strict and different and I hated that I wanted to be like my friends and have freedom and hang out all the time but I had no way to do that. My Dad though I wasn’t his child and my Mom well she deals with substance abuse so she gave me up because money was never enough she picked her drugs over me. Sad right? I used to sob over it I felt so unwanted but live kept moving. When I was about 10 years old my mom decided to show up and ask for money because it truly was never enough she never had a serious job and decided to marry a man that got paid decent enough for them both to live by. I blindly gave every last penny I would save up every weekend to give to her because I just wanted her love. When I got to the age of 12, 13 I started thinking she’s just using me, but maybe I can use her too I wanted to hang out with my friends so I thought I’ll tell my grandparents I’m staying at her house on the weekend and really go be with my friends. Yes, my plan was perfect and worked out, my mom didn’t want me around anyways I had no problem sleeping over people’s houses and showing up Sunday afternoon at my grandparents’ house without a problem. One day my mom was in her moods because there was no money if you know what I mean and I asked to sleep over a friend’s house and she said no I tried to bribe her with money but she just wasn’t having it. So I went out and came back at about 11p.m. and there was only one room in her apt I volunteered to sleep on the floor but she wouldn’t allow me too, she told me to sleep in there bed with them, in between them after hours of constant fighting I did as I was told, when I woke up I was in tears. I was confused, I was terrified, I froze, my brain didn’t want to register what was happening. When I opened my eye I was facing my mother’s back and felt a hand in between my legs, as tears were falling down my face I was praying for him to stop, I wanted it to stop but it didn’t. I closed my eyes and told myself this is a dream this will go away but it didn’t when my Step Father decided to get up I was still not able to move. My mother I believe was unaware of what had happened and she asked me to get up and move but I couldn’t and he replied to her “Leave her Alone” all I could say in my head was you Sick Son of a B. When they both had left the house I grabbed my stuff and ran, I didn’t know where I was running too but I just kept going with tears running down my face. I was too afraid to tell anyone, the only person had confided in was my boyfriend all he did was tell me he was there for me but that couldn’t console me it made me even more depressed, I wanted to rip my skin off I felt disgusted and felt appalled by my own self. Why didn’t I move? Why didn’t I scream? Why didn’t I wake my mom up? I never returned to that house. Every time I would see him I would run and cry. I stayed away from my mother for a very long time and only recently began to talk to her because she has breast cancer. I know it’s not her fault, but were she goes he will be there too and I cannot see him. I am 19 years old now and I’m a broken soul, I can’t have a stable relationship, I dont love myself, I don’t allow anyone to love me. I wake up every morning and just think of that day, I smile on the outside because I’m alive I should be grateful I have coworkers who care about me and my grandparents who love me but maybe it’s time I tell someone maybe this will help me. I just want to get better I want it all to go away. I want to be normal.
My story to me, is not important, but the story I want to tell about is. I am a 20 year old male, who has been raped 3 times in the past two years. When it happened the first time, I was completely in shock. I felt no sense of security, and was terrified to leave my apartment for days. I was unsure what to do, so I decided to try to file a police report. When I had told an officer about what had happened, I was answered with laughter and the words "Men don't get raped". So I carried on my life, until I had it happen again. Soon after, I had completely given up on looking for ways of help. Still to this day, I am scared to report a sexual violence crime. The moral of the story is rape doesn't only happen to women. It is a non-discriminatory act of violence. And that's why the first step is to start by believing, sexual violence can happen to anyone.
All Submissions
 
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4/27/2016
Its the late 80s and i am around 8-9 years old.
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4/25/2016
I was five when it happened the first time.
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4/25/2016
My story isn't too important to me, but I figured I'll share it.
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4/22/2016
I can’t really remember how old I was not that it’s been to long but a few years have passed and it’s something I cannot forget.
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4/21/2016
My story to me, is not important, but the story I want to tell about is.
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4/20/2016
I survived the sexual assault, but emotionally and mentally I was gone.
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4/20/2016
I have been repeatedly sexuly assaulted.
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4/18/2016
I was attacked in December of 2013, which was my senior year of high school.
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4/17/2016
I was 15.
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4/17/2016
My name is Clare when I was 12 years old when it started, a friend of our family I was molested I believe it was my fault he told the cloths I wore and I just let it happen for a few years I was told if I tell then my family would be took away he giv...
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