Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Equality, Feminism, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, Military, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Tragedy, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Shannon’s Story: Virginity Stolen

A common denominator in all of the stories I have published so far is that the survivor of the attack knew the victim in some way. Domestic violence is VERY REAL and sexual assault DOES HAPPEN in COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS. Many times it can even happen in an engagement and marriage.

This is Shannon’s story. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

You can check out the other stories in this series here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for HelpMary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureAshlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since ChildhoodKayla’s Story: When Friendship TurnsTasha’s Story: A Six Year Grooming

The main blog links here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

What compelled you to share your story?
This world has become so unsafe for women, I hope it makes more woman aware that sexual assault or rape can happen to anyone, and that self-defense and being assertive is very important.

Where did the incident take place?
A hotel in Clearfield, PA.

Did you know the attacker?
Yes, we were engaged, and no one knew I was engaged at the time. I just said it was a promise ring because he was deploying.

What happened?
I had met him when I joined the military, he was 18 and I was 17. He went to basic training a year before I did, while he was home on leave my Godfather had fallen very ill and was dying. We had plans to have dinner with his family and then to spend some time alone because he was deploying to Afghanistan. The morning of our dinner I received the phone call that my godfather had passed away. He was my hero, and also the first person close to me that I had lost. I was completely devastated and I did not want to do anything that day except crawl in a hole and cry. My mom convinced me to carry on with my plans because he was deploying. I carried on throughout the day and just dealt with it.

After dinner with his family, he began driving me home and pulled into a hotel parking lot. I asked him what he was doing because I wanted to go home. He proceeded to tell me that he had paid for the hotel room and was going to use it. He was not going to deploy a virgin. I told him I didn’t care what he wanted my godfather was dead and I wanted to go home. He forced me into the hotel room, proceeded to take off my clothes and started having sex with me.

I felt like I didn’t matter, and I gave up fighting and saying no. I just stared at the wall and cried the entire time until he was finished. I immediately took a shower and he finally took me home.  We stayed together for a few more months until I was over my godfather’s death and broke up with him. I thought I would never see or hear from him again.

Did you seek legal help?
Not immediately, I did not want the day to be any worse for anyone else because my godfather had died and I didn’t think anyone would be believe me because we were dating.

And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
Two years later I came forward and made a statement, because he had tracked me down on Myspace while I was in school and knew I would be home on leave from Christmas. He was also going to be home and wanted to see me. I told him I wanted nothing to do with him and to leave me alone. He asked me why, and I told him he raped me and asked him, “Why would I want to see you?” He apologized for being an ignorant asshole, and said he should have listened and been there for me. I told him I still did not want to see him and spent my leave in fear he would come find me because he knew where I lived.

Later while at my first duty station, he found my email address, which is not hard to do. He emailed me stating he would be nearby training for another deployment and that during non-training hours he would be able to go off base and do whatever he wanted. I freaked out and told my supervisor everything. He sent me to counseling and to make a statement against him. He also helped me get a no-contact order so if he tried to contact me again he would get in a lot of trouble. It was too late to press any charges, but at least if someone else made a statement against him, mine was on file. He was also not allowed to leave the training base until it was time for him to leave.

How were you treated by your law enforcement representatives?
The people I spoke with were very nice and understanding, I told them before I made my statement I knew it was too late to convict him; I was just terrified of him finding me. They understood why I waited so long to say anything, but were glad that I did in the hopes my statement could help someone else down the line.

How has this affected your life?
Since I am back at home, I live in fear of running into him anywhere because I know it’s a great possibility. I suffer from PTSD, and BPD. I have difficulties showing love and affection. My virginity was stolen from me, so I am very detached from sex. I also have a hard time having sex; it must be dark so I can see nothing otherwise I will have flashbacks and see him on top of me and not my fiancé. I’ve been in counseling and therapy for almost 10 years and have tried 20 different medications to no avail, but I can finally say I found a therapist that is actually helping me and not pushing medications and understands that medications make everything worse for me.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
Speak up immediately, and if you’re too afraid to speak up at least find a counselor or therapist and get help as soon as possible. The longer you wait the worse if makes you feel. I’m 28 now, and just coming to terms with this, and it happened 11 years ago.

If you could say anything to law enforcement that dealt with your case, what would it be?
Stop being assholes and blaming the victim, and start placing the blame where it belongs: The attacker. It doesn’t matter who the attacker is, or what the victim is wearing.

No means NO. End of story.

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say? 
I honestly don’t know what I would say to my attacker other than I will never forget his face and name and that he made my life a living hell because he was a selfish prick. I still worry about running into him somewhere and him trying to talk to me. I would probably cause a scene and punch him in the face.

Resources: Military Sexual Assault FactsRAINN

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Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Equality, Feminism, Health, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Ashlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since Childhood

Trigger Warning:

 

Many times a person’s first encounter with sexual assault is when he or she is a child. This scars and shapes who they are and who they become for the rest of their lives. Protecting the lives of children should be one of the most important things we can do because children cannot speak for themselves. We need to do better for our children.

This is the third story in my Sexual Assault series, you can read the first two here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help and Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to Torture 

The main blog starts here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

This is Ashlee’s interview:

What compelled you to share your story?
I’ve held it in for years and the only people who know are my therapist and my fiancé.

Where did the incident take place?
My first account with rape happened in Punxsutawney, Pa. at my biological mothers house. The second time, my own apartment in DuBois, and then the third time it happened in DuBois at a friend’s house I was staying at.

Did you know the attacker?
Yes with all three. The first incident I was attacked by family members, and the second and third time they were people I thought I could trust. It can come from anyone even if you know them.

What happened?
At the age of three I was sexually assaulted by my three older brothers. They took me and my little sister upstairs to “play.” The oldest had thrown me on the bed and pulled my pants down and did his things to me. Then my two other brothers did the same thing. After they were done with me they did the same to my younger sister. At this time they were 11,9,5.  It was reported and then we were put into foster homes, but nothing happened after that.

At the age of 18, I was living on my own after getting out of the group home in DuBois. I had a male friend that I knew so well and was a friend of mine for years come stay because I was sick and wanted company. I had taken my medication and passed out on the couch. I woke up with him inside me and his hand around my throat. I tried to say no but he covered my mouth and told me that if I refused he would get rougher and hurt me.

Finally, at the age 20, my father kicked me and my daughter out the week before Thanksgiving. We moved back to DuBois with a friend who was renting rooms out in his house. I was in the process of looking for a job and fixing things with my now fiancé. It started two days after I moved in. He would pin me up against a wall or the bed while I was trying to do laundry or getting ready for bed along with my daughter. I would repeatedly say, “No I have a boyfriend,” or just, “No.”. He kept saying if I didn’t give it to him then he would kick us out on the street, and if I told the police that he would lie. Everyone in the house knew what was going on and wouldn’t help. Soon enough I made my fiancé move in with me hoping it would stop, but because he worked night shift it continued to happen. At first I didn’t tell him what happened, and when I did he threatened to leave me and wouldn’t help me because I wasn’t upfront about the abuse in the first place.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
Not for all of them. I was too scared to know what they would do to me and how it would affect my life more than it already was. I’ve only told my therapist. I wish I would have got help and got justice for what has been done to me.

How has this affected your life?
It has affected me in many ways. My fiancé and I can’t even have sex because I have flashbacks and I start crying.  I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from this and other things that have happened to me.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to get help. Just don’t wait as long as I have. Get all the help you can to get justice.

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
I hope other people come forward if you’ve done it to them so you can rot in jail.

Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Feminism, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Tragedy, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to Torture

Trigger Warning:

 

One of the most common things I have found in conducting my interviews is that these women have stayed silent for years and the events happened when they were quite young.

This has an interesting effect on me because I want to make sure my children are safe, but I also want my children to be able to experience life. I think as parents we can sometimes not know if we are doing the right thing.

If there are any young men and women out there reading this, please know that you can get help. Please know that you can talk to someone. You do not have to give in to peer pressure. If someone is pressuring you, please tell someone you trust and avoid contact with that person. If you’ve been pressured into doing something, tell someone you can trust. Bullies and Attackers thrive on fear. They lie and manipulate to get what they want. Parents and children, I ask you to please have an open line of communication with each other. This can be a life-line to your child. Parents, please listen to your kids.

This is Mary Kay’s interview. This is the second interview in this series you can read the first part here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault and the second part here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

What compelled you to share your story?
I felt compelled to share my story because I’ve been silent about it for so long. I feel like an impostor when I tell other sexual abuse survivors to not feel ashamed, yet I feel extremely ashamed about my own story. It was time.

Where did the incident take place and did you know the attacker?
The first incident took place at my attacker’s house. I was 13 and he was 15. He was my boyfriend at the time.

What happened?
We were alone in his house and he was pressuring me to have sex with him. I adamantly told him I didn’t want to. I wasn’t comfortable. I wasn’t ready. I was afraid of sex. I was only 13. He became very angry and dragged me up the stairs to his bedroom by my hair.

He threw me onto his bed and I was screaming and crying and told him I wanted to go home. I wanted my mom. I wanted him to stop. When he got on top of me, I kicked him. It didn’t slow him down at all. Nothing made him stop. I felt helpless. I silently cried while he pushed himself into me. When his mother took me home that night, I ran into my bedroom and closed the door.

I was a happy, peppy girl before that happened to me. When I closed my bedroom door that night, the peppy, happy girl died and a sullen, frightened girl emerged. I was never the same.

Do you have any advice for other survivors?
Like I said earlier, I tell others to not be ashamed. But I am. So it’s hard to say that and mean it. I’m not even sure that I have advice. I really just want to say that you’re not alone. And you are loved and whole and beautiful ❤️

Did you seek legal help?
I didn’t speak a work of it for years and years. When I did, it was to my mother. Nothing was done. She comforted me but legal help wasn’t sought after.

If you could say one thing to your attacker, what would it be?
If I could say anything to my attacker, it would be this: your selfishness made me selfless. I know what pain and anger and loneliness is and I cannot stand to see anyone else feeling those things. I feel that any selfishness I had inside of me, your demon-self absorbed when this took place. So thank you for that, you piece of shit.

Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Feminism, Health, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self Defense, Sex, Sexual Assault, Uncategorized, Women, Women Empowerment

Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

This is Callie’s story. The name has been changed to protect her identity. She was comfortable enough to share the location of the events. This is in an interview format. Here is the link to the first part of this series: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

Here are the other stories in this series: Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureAshlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since Childhood

I’m compelled to add that if you or anyone sees domestic violence or sexual assault happening, you should report it. Please do not turn a blind eye. So many people are in precarious situations and they are silently begging for help. HELP THEM! Here are a list of resources: RAINNDomestic Violence Coalition

What compelled you to share your story?
I have never told anyone but my now husband about the abuse.  I just had our child and I feel like it is my responsibility to come to terms with what happened to me and try to be strong enough to one day publicly speak out.

Where did the incident take place?
There were too many incidents and locations to count. His home, the high school, my home, the city park, restaurants and stores.

Did you know the attacker?
He was my boyfriend at the time.  I was freshly 16 and he was 20.

What happened?
I met Chris at Community Days in DuBois, Pa.  I was with some girlfriends and he came up to us with a group of his friends.  He was so charismatic and handsome; I was immediately smitten.  He would build me up and make me feel so wanted.  About two months into our two-year relationship he changed.  He became physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive towards me.  Physically he would push me, hold me down, and hit me.  One night when I was at his home he pushed me down a flight of stairs. His mother watched it happen and just walked away.  He would tell me no one but him would ever love me and that if I left him he would kill me and my family.

I truly believed all the things he said to me; I was so young I didn’t know better.  I was basically screaming for help without actually telling anyone, and no one noticed.  I was sent to psychologists and put on medication, and still no one helped me out of this relationship. 

When I had just turned 18, his brother punched me for absolutely no reason one day.

I somehow got the courage to put an end to our relationship.  I stopped answering any kind of communication from him.  He started standing outside of my home and work and would just stare me down. He would send me terrible threats through Facebook and text.  My now husband would walk me to and from my car at work.  I actually moved to Pittsburgh for a bit because I was so scared.  Eventually he stopped contacting me, but he found out I had moved back to DuBois several years ago and told a mutual friend that he was going to get me back.  I began seeing him walking in my neighborhood, my husband and I decided to move out-of-town. We’ve kept our address a secret for this reason.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
I did not. I knew I needed help but I didn’t know where to go.  I also felt people would not understand why I couldn’t just leave for so long.

How has this affected your life?
I am constantly looking over my shoulder.  I have run into him three times in stores, and each time I was able to make out to my car before having a full blown panic attack.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
You are not alone, and you are worth so much more than you think!

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
You took advantage of a young girl. You knew what you were doing and you are still doing it to other girls.   You shattered everything about me into pieces. I lost who I was.  In spite of you, I have found a good and kind man and I have a wonderful life now.  You were wrong!

Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Family, Feminism, Ideals, Life Lessons, rape, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Sex, Sexual Assault, Suicide Prevention, Violence

It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

Trigger Warning:

I remember my assault distinctly.

It’s a story I have shared with many people and have written about on this very blog. But, I count myself lucky amongst survivors because my attacker didn’t get the chance to follow through on his actions because one of my friends rescued me. You can read about it here: Keep To The Code

However, there’s a staggering amount of people that don’t have that luxury.

I have been absent from blogging for quite some time. My days now are spent chasing around my beautiful daughter, and growing her little sister inside me for a few more weeks. They are the reason I decided to start typing again.

Well, them and all the women in my local area that have decided to come forward with the stories of their sexual assaults, is what I should say.

Last year a friend of mine was drugged and almost died because a young man decided to make her a target. Though there was video evidence from the bar they were both at, the police refused to pursue the matter. She went to local news stations and no one would pick up her story. She felt terrified and alone.

A few days ago, a story surfaced in my area of a young woman that was shamed by our local police for reporting her rape. Instead of being taken seriously, she was cuffed and taken to the psychiatric ward of our hospital.

Incidents of victim shaming happen every day. It’s 2017 and people still have to worry about being assaulted! It’s absolutely ridiculous. On top of worrying about being assaulted, we can’t always depend on our law enforcement officials to defend us, and we are left there alone and made to feel stupid.

Over the next two weeks I will be doing an interview series with those willing to come forward and share their stories of their assaults.

It may be 2017, and we may have a long way to go.

But it’s time us survivors be taken seriously by our peers and by our law enforcement.

As I publish the stories, the stories will be linked back to this blog. I will also be including this link in the other stories.

Let’s fight back together
Here are the stories:

Tasha’s Story: A Six Year Grooming
Kayla’s Story: When Friendship Turns
Ashlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since Childhood
Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to Torture
Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

America, Beauty, Feminism, government, Health, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Sex, Tragedy, Women, Women Empowerment

Keep to the Code

This is an official warning that graphic content will be discussed. Rape will be discussed. 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

When I was 21 and a senior in college, I was still a virgin.

When I was a freshman and a sophomore, I wanted nothing more than to lose my virginity. I felt like it was this giant disease I had that infected the world. If you would be more interested in that segment of my story, please read my guest blog here. When I was junior, the urge began to fade.

When I was a senior, I just wished I would meet someone worth taking it instead of just blindly giving it away.

But I remember one night when I feared I might not get that chance…

And if it was not for a good friend of mine, I would have been a victim.

My girlfriends, specifically my roommates, and I had a code: Keep each other safe, and if one of us gets too drunk, take care of the other. For four years I kept to this code and it worked very well. If my friends would get drunk, I would be the one that would pace myself and stop drinking to make sure that the others got home. They did the same for me. It was easy. We knew that we did not want to regret any decisions in the morning. And my one roommate, knew she wanted to keep my virginity safe. I guess you could call her my virginity keeper.

Yeah. My virginity keeper.

One night, she came to visit me at school and we ended up extremely wasted at a party in a three level house. I still considered her my roommate even though she had graduated the semester before.  I just wanted to have fun and I didn’t want any trouble. So we stuck together because that is what we always did. We had met up with some guys and other friends before we ended up at this house….this terrible, creaky, dismal and over-crowded house. I remember one guy that had found me attractive. I told her I wasn’t interested in him, so she made a mental note, despite the drunken state we were both in. We meandered through the levels of the house talking to various people we did not know. We held hands too. I know it sounds silly, but we did to make sure we had a hold of each other. We had made our way into a hallway next to the bathroom of the third level. Loud music was playing all over the house.

That’s when everything changed.

I had to go to the bathroom and she was talking to someone. So I started off on my own. Only because the bathroom was literally ten feet away.

Ten feet.

I got grabbed.

The guy that had found me attractive was pulling me into the bathroom. I knew I didn’t even want to kiss him, despite him putting his lips on my face. I didn’t want any of it. Yet there I was in a bind because of how my arms were pinned. I kept saying, “No. Leave me alone.”

But he kept on pulling and yanking me into that bathroom. I kept fighting to get away and people around me just left me go.

I thought to myself, “No. not like this. It can’t happen like this.” I knew I didn’t want him to take it, and if he was being this aggressive with kissing, I figured it would only go downhill from there.

That’s when she grabbed my arm and started pulling me away. I was in a tug of war between a guy and my roommate. She kept screaming at him and he kept screaming back at her. Until finally I crumpled to ground. That was enough for him to lose his balance and let me go. And I crawled away with my roommate in tow. We stood up and ran down the three flights of stairs. We ran out of the house and hid behind a dumpster because I was afraid he would come after us.

Then finally, we ran some more until we met up with some people and were safely nestled in our apartment.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Looking back at that moment, I know I would have been in a terrible situation if it wasn’t for my roommate. I could have lost something that I didn’t want to lose.

And you know what’s terrible?

Many girls run into similar situations all over the world. And their friends don’t help them.

We live in a culture. Specifically, we live in a rape culture. And it seems like people don’t really want to talk about it. The fact that society creates and allows rapists to thrive is sad. With that being said, we, as women, know that we have to be strong. But at what cost?

People expect women to just protect themselves. People also expect women not to “put themselves in compromising situations.”

Since when is living your life a compromising situation?

Women shouldn’t live in fear that any day a man could come up to them and force himself on her. That’s wrong. And men should be the ones to change, not women.

But yet, it’s expected for us to change. I remember the night. I didn’t “express interest” or “lead you on” and yet you still wanted to take away something from me, something you felt you were entitled to have. As if I should feel guilty if I had anyway; sex should never be an expectation. You didn’t get that something that you wanted.

Something, thankfully, you didn’t get because my roommate and I kept to the code.

In various cases of rape, I have noticed a growing trend: these girls get left by their “friends.”

I’ve got news for you; a real friend wouldn’t let that happen. A real friend wouldn’t abandon you and leave you in a compromising situation. That whole safety in numbers thing…..it works. Granted, I know that in some cases a man could over power both females, but he would most definitely have a hard time trying to force himself if another person was clawing at his face or gouging at his eyes (which would be my personal attack preference).

I was so pumped last week when I saw various pictures going through my NewsFeed for “Take Back the Night.” I can only hope that it brings back awareness to everyone all over the world that acts of violence like these need to be stopped. There is no way this can continue. Women, for now, we must stick to the code and keep each other safe at all costs. I can only hope and pray that someday society will stop allowing rapists to be sympathized for.

And I can’t wait for the day that we don’t have to fear anymore. I also cannot speak for actual victims because I never have actually had to live through that horror, only the fear that it was immediately going to happen.

This cannot happen anymore.

Men, you should NOT let this happen anymore. The fear, the act…..it MUST stop.

It’s your job to make the change, not ours. You aren’t a victim when you try to be aggressive and take something from us.

In fact, you’re just pathetic.

If any of you need help, contact: Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
A 24-hour phone and chat service to help victims of sexual assault or abuse.1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Visit the site here

Also check out this blog that quite frequently discusses the matters. It’s excellent:
http://makemeasammich.org/