TRIGGER WARNING. The stories shared here may be very triggering for survivors of sexual assault.
Rape is the most under-reported crime. A staggering 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police (National Sexual Violence Resource Center). I recently put out a call for an anonymous series for The Honest Body Project. I wasn’t quite sure what types of submissions I would receive. When the stories started pouring in, I was shocked. Nearly all of the submissions were about unreported rapes and sexual assaults. I’ve read the statistics, I know that rape is severely under-reported, but to see all of these stories, many whom have never been told to a single soul, shook me to the core. It became clear to me that I needed to create a series for these women and give them a platform to share their experiences, while allowing them to do so anonymously. We are putting a “face” to this faceless statistic. We are shining a light on rape culture and screaming that is NOT okay.
-Natalie McCain (Creator of The Honest Body Project) Contact me here: email@example.com
“Several years ago, I visited relatives up north and ended up staying for several weeks, it being summer vacation. I was 14. During my stay, I had an older male relative ask private questions regarding personal sexually experiences, situations I’ve never experienced or even heard of at that age. He grabbed my breasts and kissed me at one point, all without my consent.”
“I confided in a close relative about the incident. She told my parents, so I wouldn’t have to. Ultimately I was reprimanded about what had happened, it apparently being my fault. In the end, I was confused and felt betrayed.”
“I was date raped at 17 by someone I considered a friend. I was really drunk and thought (at the time) it was all my fault. I brushed it off. I told my friends and mom that it was fine. It was consensual.”“I gained a lot of weight in the following years. It took me a long time and therapy to accept what had happened and why I built such a wall around me. I still have never told people about what happened to me.”
“My mom left when I was 5. My dad allowed me to still visit her even though she was mentally unstable. I became witness to her having multiple sexual partners. My older step sister introduced me to sex at the age of 6, and she was only 7 or 8. From there I watched my mom give oral sex to a random guy she’d met at a friend’s house we went to after she and my stepfather fought.”
“By the time I was 8 she’d moved to North Carolina and was with someone new. She was actually somewhat sane at this time with multiple meds. She’d leave me home with him while at work. After a few times he began with his sexual advances. He never physically touched me (that I can remember), but I can remember sitting Indian-style in front of him while naked and pointed out my anatomy, and called me sexy. I remember once he took me ice skating and made me wear yellow cheerleading shorts with my mom’s black panties underneath…”
“I can still see his face. When I think of it, it shakes me to the core. I didn’t scream. Why didn’t I scream? I didn’t tell anyone. Why didn’t I tell anyone? We were in a public place. People around. If I could go back in time, I’d scream. I’d kick him. I’d bite him. I would tell.”
“I go through phases with my Dad. Sometimes I am beyond angry and appalled at the gross things he did to women. And sometimes I forget. Sometimes, for a few short moments, hours or days I have my dad back and things are normal. It is not that I ever forget, but I have learned that sometimes I need to put my feelings first. And sometimes a girl just needs her dad. I remember when I first found out why my dad was fired from his job, I had a complete breakdown. I thought I had breakdowns before, but nothing compared to this. The mixture of shock, disgust, confusion and loss all balled into one, topped off with the fact that I couldn’t tell anyone created an internal dark storm within me.”
“I started questioning every single moment and memory in my life. I ransacked my parent’s house, looking for answers, looking for clues, feeling as if I had missed something. Like I should have known. And the whole time, I was mad at myself, because deep down, I think I did know. After that, every single memory was clouded by darkness. It was weird. The happy memories were there, but instead of being in color, they were in black and white. My Dad was always kind of different. And for some reason, I always felt bad for him. In the same way my heart aches for an elderly person eating alone. So I always put in extra effort to make sure he knew I loved him. To this day, I still feel bad for him in that same way, but now I get very angry at myself for feeling that way.”
“I am tired of keeping this inside. I am tired of paying the consequences of someone else’s actions.”
“I was 16 and I wanted to dress up to go to a punk rock show. I decided that I would wear a tank top with a bra built into it. It wasn’t something I normally wore since it was considered too provocative for high school attire. It was by no means an invitation for what happened to me that night. It was a loud, crowded, sweaty place and there were a mix of teenagers and adults in the place. There was a bar and some of the adults in there were drinking. Again, this was by no means an invitation for someone to violate me.”
“I was a girl, dressed up and excited to actually be out having a good time on a weekend with my parent’s permission. I was walking through the crowd and a man – someone much bigger than me – decided to reach into my shirt and grab my bare breast – like it was his to grab. I did not invite him to do this. Nothing about what I was doing at the moment invited him to reach under my shirt and grab me. He laughed it off and kept walking. I was shocked. I was angry. I wanted to yell and scream and hit him and ask him why he did it – but it felt something like… I was too small and insignificant for him or anyone else to hear me. As if I were a mouse screeching out in pain as a horse stepped on it. Nobody would hear or care.”
“I buried this down and told myself it was no big deal. Who hasn’t been grabbed unexpectedly? But then I wonder – who else is feeling like no one is listening? How many others have been stepped on and reduced to a tiny howling screech of a voice? Fuck that. That’s NOT ok. This should NOT be normalized. This should NOT be shrugged off. This is called rape culture. Nobody likes that phrase – because it is ugly. Let’s acknowledge that The Ugly exists so that it can be addressed and reduced – and even eradicated. Let’s do that… Can we do that? Could we please just do that?”
Sexual violence statistics:
Video created by Deirdre Eberhart – 321-804-2758
If you have been the victim of sexual violence – There is help. National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE
Please remember you are NOT alone.
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