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A Survivor Not a Victim

Overcoming Rape

L’s Story

“Being male means legally you cannot be raped. In my case the police wouldn’t even assist me meaning justice still hasn’t been served to the the girl who we’ll just call Kayleigh for now.

She was much older than me and attended college at my highschool as it was a sixth form. We started talking as her brother was in my year and one of my best friend’s, a friendship which has since been destroyed. It’s hard to tell people or even reach out for help when you’re a male because people just assume it’s nothing major or, “you’re male you must have liked it”. I find it hard to think about and the fact Kayleigh is still out there with no justice served is even harder.

At the time I was 14 and she was 19 and decided alcohol and false promises was the best way to gain my trust.

Even to this day I find it difficult to bare with, I have since settled down with my girlfriend and started living away from home. It’s a scar that’ll never heal the most I can do is spread my message that this isn’t just something that happens to females.

Thank you.

-L”

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DrugRehab.com

drug-rehab-logo-300x125

“We provide information, resources, and treatment for people battling addiction and related conditions.

At DrugRehab.com, our mission is to equip patients and families with the best information, resources and tools to overcome addiction and pursue lifelong recovery. We are here to help you or your loved one every step of the way.”

 

On their site, they have links with resources specifically for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

“Domestic violence is the intentional use of emotional, psychological, sexual or physical force by one family member or intimate partner to control another. Victims of domestic violence who struggle with addiction face significant barriers to receiving treatment, but programs that effectively address addiction and abuse-related trauma are available”

JOYFUL HEART FOUNDATION

From their website:

“Our Vision

The vision of the Joyful Heart Foundation is a world free of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

Our Mission

Our mission is to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever. 

While we understand that our vision may not be achievable in our lifetimes, we firmly believe that violence and abuse are preventable. In support of our vision and mission, we have developed and adopted a set of values and guiding principles that inform and inspire our approach to all that we do:

  • Our Values are the foundation of our organization and guide our thinking, actions, decisions, responses, and priorities.
  • Our Guiding Principles serve as a compass both individually and organizationally. They are the application of our core beliefs that help to shape and direct our work. We approach all we do and every decision we make with the Guiding Principles in mind.”

 

A percentage of all items purchased in the “Heartshop” are donated from product partners to Joyful Heart.

http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org

NO MORE

The NO MORE symbol expresses universal support for ending domestic violence and sexual assault while raising awareness and breaking down the barriers of stigma, silence and shame that keep people from talking about these issues and taking action to prevent them. Wearing or displaying the symbol is one of the many ways you can act to support NO MORE and the movement to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

From the NO MORE website:

“How does NO MORE help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault?

NO MORE’s work to increase awareness, funding, support and activism to help prevent violence is helping to make a difference in the lives of survivors. NO MORE provides tools and resources to partner organizations that offer lifesaving services and prevention programs.In just a few years, NO MORE has successfully brought together the largest coalition of advocacy groups, service providers, governmental agencies, major corporations, universities, communities and individuals, all under a unifying symbol in support of a world free of violence. Nearly 1,000 organizations and 75,000 individuals have joined NO MORE. Hundreds of schools have NO MORE groups, and another almost 30 local city-wide, state-wide and international NO MORE programs have been born. Thanks to our partners, our PSAs have gotten more than 4.4 billion impressions.Most recently, NO MORE helped raise more than $1.2M for grassroots organizations through the NO MORE Challenge, an online fundraising competition that we hosted in 2016 and 2017.”

 

How they help: “NO MORE does not accept donations from the general public. Instead, NO MORE directs individual donations and any profit generated from the sale of products in the NO MORE Shop to partner organizations in the direct service, advocacy and prevention fields (see the list of Benefitting Organizations).”

https://nomore.org

LALAGRAC

“LALAGRAC is a clothing line that empowers men, woman, and children to embrace who they are and to always stand up for what they believe in. There is no grey area in abuse. Abuse is abuse. We have chosen to donate a portion of the proceeds to  RAINN, which is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. To show our support and belief in our cause, when a clothing item is purchased a portion of the cost will be donated to the organization. Each item in the LALAGRAC collection will be named after an abuse survivor.”

They have a selection of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing. Their message is that “THERE IS NO GREY” when it comes to sexual assault.

https://lalagracclothing.com

FCKH8

 

The LGBT community can be very impacted with mental health issues and many others. At FCKH8, $5.00 from every purchase goes to donation.  They also have LGBT products and have already given, 

“$250,000 to the equality cause through directly funded projects and donations to LGBT charities”

http://www.fckh8.com

In Music We Trust

In Music We Trust help’s others with depression by running a clothing brand that donates 50% of profits to the ‘Mind‘ charity.

Mind Charity – “We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental healthWe provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

In Music we Trust has a wide variety of tee’s, sweatshirts, hats, and more!!

http://inmusicwetrust.co.uk/

BRAVELETS

I have one of these, I purchased it shortly after my rape, the cause I choose was for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. They are well made, stainless steel. When I first got it, I never took it off. It was a reminder through some of the darkest times in the beginning of this tragic ordeal.  Also, I believe that this site also allows you to create your own cause (but I could be wrong).

Additionally, there are SO MANY causes to choose from in mental health categories, heal categories….the list goes on!

 

https://www.bravelets.com

Abby’s Story

“It started as such an innocuous hashtag, something I saw on social media and thought, “Wow, that’s cool.” But here I am, days, months, and now a year after I first dove down the rabbit hole, still sitting and thinking about my own “me too” moments. I’ve had many, but one that stands out above the rest…

I wanted to join the hashtag. I sat here from behind my computer screen and judged celebrities for coming forward but not naming names. I wasn’t such a coward.

And yet the cursor continued to flash on the screen in front of me, and I typed paragraphs and paragraphs but couldn’t bring myself to hit “post.”

My family, my parents, and my abuser are all on Facebook, my Facebook, and I could hear what they would say.

I couldn’t take my family’s pity. I couldn’t take my parents’ criticism. And I couldn’t take his indifference.

We talked after everything that happened. Of course we did. We parted amicably, actually. But while he admitted that what he did was wrong, he never fully acknowledged what he did, because back in high school we were afraid of labels, so we would never label what happened between us as something as severe as “sexual assault.” And now, he has a wife and a baby, and I can’t help but overanalyze every smiling photo they post together, wondering what’s going on behind closed doors, how I could help, or if I could even change anything at all.

How can I save a girl I’ve never met if I couldn’t even save myself?

It started when I was a sophomore in high school, a tomboy nerd who was perpetually body-conscious and bullied for almost all of my school experience. I had had a couple “boyfriends,” but none that were serious. I was looking for love wherever I could get it, even though I was surrounded by loving friends and a very supportive home life. I think that’s why I’m ashamed when I tell this story. I had no drug-addicted mother, no father who walked out on me, no money struggles or real issues other than my own self-esteem. No excuses, no reason other than my own lapse in judgment. I knew better. And yet, I ended up in the same situation millions of women have found themselves in before.

He was a friend first. Growing up, I always thought dumb girls who went to bars and left their drinks unattended or walked down dark alleys alone at night were the ones who got snatched up by these kinds of people. And even as I’m writing this, I don’t picture him as one of “those kinds of people.” It’s crazy.

We met in high school and started spending some more time together. We started going to each other’s houses, mostly his. He quickly became one of my closest friends. And I’ll never forget the night that it started. About 6 months after our friendship began, I was laying on his white, leather L-shaped couch in the living room while he laid across the other half, his head next to mine. South Park was playing absently on the TV. We were half-watching, half-talking. We started discussing past relationships, and I mentioned how I had never even had a “real” kiss. My previous boyfriend nearly 2 years prior and I had tried at homecoming, but it was a peck on the lips that was disastrous, and I broke up with him two days later.

I remember hearing his laugh next to my head, and he started talking about what a shame that was.

Before I knew what happened, he was on top of me. I literally don’t remember how he leapt on top of me so fast, but then there he was. He kissed me forcefully, but I interpreted it as passionately at the time. I remember he had full lips that felt like they swallowed mine, and he tasted like the Fuze he’d been drinking. It lasted maybe ten seconds, and then it was over just as quickly as it had begun. He was back on his side of the sofa in the blink of an eye.

“How was that?”

I swallowed. I wasn’t sure, but I knew I wanted more. I wanted to feel attractive, desired…loved. And that kiss did it for me.

The next 3 years was a personal hell of my own design. I thought you couldn’t get addicted to things other than drugs or alcohol or full-blown sex, but I became addicted to our after-school make-out sessions.

At first, we were just friends. There was such an exhilaration behind our kisses, always surprising and almost forbidden. We weren’t dating, so it seemed unexpected. Then, we got more desperate, happy when his father left to get our pizza so we could sprawl across the couch and tangle up in one another. He was companionship. He was body heat. But he certainly wasn’t love. I knew it even then.

Every now and then there was a moment or a kiss that made my heart skip a beat and put a genuine smile on my face. But so many times, I was focused on doing nothing more than pleasing him. It made me feel like I had a purpose, that I could be used. And I was willing to be used and thrown away like a napkin as long as it meant someone was getting some use out of me. My lack of self-esteem and our mutual desire to be loved, even if it was accompanied by occasional indifference, was a near-fatal combination. 

I started feeling like a prostitute, even though the most scandalous thing we had ever done was make out while I straddled him (clothes all on). I would show up in skimpy clothes to give myself the confidence boost I needed to even face him, we would creep closer to each other, tease, kiss. Then I would sneak out after dark, zipping up my hoodie over my deep V blouse, and I would drive back home and play it cool.

“How was it?”

“Fine.”

“What did you guys do?”

He was spooning me on the couch while we watched Comedy Central, he ran his hand down my thigh, and then-

“Nothing. Just watched TV.”

After Otto Frank read his daughter Anne’s diary, he made a heartbreaking declaration. “Most parents don’t really know their children.” Over the years, I’ve come to see the truth behind his sentiment.

We played it cool at school, too. Sure, some people knew that we were kissing on the weekends, but it was high school, and if there was no sex involved, it certainly wasn’t newsworthy.

I was raised in a conservative Christian household, so while I knew what sex was and had learned from the rest of my classmates the bases in between, I had no idea about what happened when the lines of consent were blurred. I was going to kiss before marriage, but nothing else. I would lose my virginity to my husband on our wedding night, and if anyone else wanted to take it beforehand, I would just say, “No.”

Simple. I would never put myself in one of those situations that D.A.R.E. or my parents had warned me about, and I would never have to worry about someone not taking no for an answer.

How wrong I was.

As the months threatened to turn into years, I began pushing for a formal title for what we were. We saw each other every weekend. We ate dinner together, even though it was always in the confines of the house. He showered me with affection, compliments, and, most importantly, self-esteem boosts. We were, by my definition, “dating.” But he would never hold hands with me at school. In fact, some days he seemed to pretend that he didn’t even know I existed. 

And I as continued to pressure him, that’s when his sweet personality began to…shift.

His compliments would be interspersed with comments about my appearance, my weight, and my popularity at school. He knew where I hurt, and he wasn’t afraid to hit me there. Just when I was feeling confident in my own skin (perhaps almost confident enough to search for a real significant other to love me), he would throw in one of his favorite zingers into casual conversation. “Maybe I’d date you if you were 10 pounds lighter.” “Why do you never straighten your hair…it would look so much better!” “It’s not easy being friends with you, because I get teased for it.” These were never even said in anger, because we never really fought. We did try to date once, but he ended that fast. We got together on a Monday, broke up on a Wednesday, and I was kissing him on that same leather sofa on Friday. We were both addicts that needed our fix, and nothing could keep us away. But conflict was still present. I would want more commitment, he would fire back to keep me quiet and content with what I had, and we continued to wallow in our current situation, spinning our wheels for close to two years.

It was during this time that I saw things taking a darker turn but didn’t recognize them for what they were. The first thing I really remember that struck me as odd was on one particularly late night I was over. I had fallen asleep on his shoulder and woke up to find him re-positioning my head on his crotch. I assumed I had just slipped down onto his lap, but the sound of his fly being unzipped and the feeling of his hand on the back of my head guiding me closer made me shoot straight up in my seat. He started laughing and said, “Aww, come on! I was going to wake you with a nice surprise!” I saw his fly was open and one hand was definitely gripping something inside his boxers. He removed his hand and zipped up his pants, but I apparently I still looked uncomfortable because he said, “Relax, it was just a joke. But hey, maybe you’ll find out you like it one day.” And he put his arm around me again, everything back to the way it was.

And yet everything was different somehow. Maybe I knew it deep down, but I was too naïve to understand it or too immature to admit it. I knew that was wrong. But hey, he’s a guy, and I’m denying him something he really wants, almost needs at this age. I can’t blame him, can I? And no harm, no foul, right?

He blew it off, I laughed it off, and that was the end.

My friends didn’t like him. They never did, and he came to one group gathering but left quickly after realizing that he wasn’t wanted. They had no idea what was going on behind closed doors, but they could see enough just from the way he treated me in front of them. But they were busy living their own lives, and I had arms that were always open for me every single weekend, so I kept coming back to him.

As time went on, our kissing sessions would quickly bore him, and he always wanted more. Me, eager to please, would do anything for him – except what he really wanted to do. He’d make a proposition each weekend I came over (“We can go upstairs.” “I’ve got some condoms.” “Trust me, you’ll like it.”), but I always declined, and he’d shrug and go back to kissing me. Like I was taught that it was supposed to work. I say “no,” he says, “okay.”

But one time in particular, we were home alone kissing on the couch. I was kneeling on the cushion next to where he was sitting, so we were face to face. He was shirtless, one hand in my hair, the other nowhere to be found. He was always trying to grab or move or touch something I didn’t want him to, so I didn’t care where his hand was as long as it wasn’t on me. That thought process right there should have told me something was wrong, but I’d heard so many stories of women enduring things for the men in their lives that it didn’t seem so wrong to me at the time. Suddenly, the kiss was interrupted by him moaning into my mouth, and something warm and wet stuck to my arm. I glance down to see what it was and discovered very quickly where his other hand had been.

My jaw dropped and I stared at him in shock. He had touched himself once or twice through his boxers before, but then would go to the bathroom and do what he “needed to do” since he knew how I felt. But there he was, dick in hand and cum shot all the way across his naked torso and onto my arm. I rapidly looked away from my arm to focus on his face, my look of horror begging for some kind of explanation, but he was in no hurry to end his pleasure due to my distress. When his eyes finally rolled back to the front of his head, he saw my face but shrugged.

“I’m sorry…I didn’t think I was going to cum. But damn, I needed to.”

I didn’t respond, just ran to the bathroom. Washing my arm off in the sink, I was literally shaking with emotion, but with what emotions I still have no idea. 

Wash it off. I was a tease. He’d said it himself many times.

Get the soap. I wasn’t hurt. He didn’t make me do anything I didn’t want to do.

Wipe it dry. It was just an accident, another awkward high school moment I’d laugh about years later.

Well, now it’s “years later,” but I’m not laughing.

Every weekend, it was the same. He’d ask for sex, I’d say, “No.” I’d ask for a boyfriend, he’d say, “We’ll see.” We were both left unsatisfied but still happy enough to continue playing our game.

Looking back on it, I realize that he was likely waiting for me to give in to having sex with him and was dangling the promise of a formal relationship like a carrot in front of a horse. To this day, I’m not sure if he is even capable of this kind of manipulation and calculation. I hate to think so, but I also can’t deny that it makes the most sense. (Even 7 years later, the blinders are still in the process of coming off.)

Strike 3 came on a cold day after school. I can’t remember the season, but I remember that it was cold because walking back to my car that night was one of the loneliest treks I have ever made. It was Friday, and we carpooled straight back to his house after the final bell rang. We got some chips and he got his Fuze (I HATE the taste of Fuze forever), and turned on Comedy Central in the living room. We were on a different sofa, a smaller one, so we laid down to spoon so we could both fit. No one was home, but that wasn’t an issue for us. There had been so many other chances, other opportunities if something were to go wrong, so why would it be today?

He started kissing my neck, and I began to relax. Then, he was on top of me just as suddenly as he had been two years prior, and he was kissing me just as forcefully. He was pressing me into the soft fabric of the couch, and I felt like it was swallowing me. He began to kiss his way down my body and tried to pull my tank top down to expose my bra. I laughed and playfully pushed him away. He went back to kissing my lips, and I relaxed again.

That’s when I felt his fingers playing with the button at the top of my jeans. I broke away from his kiss, but I couldn’t think of anything to say over the sound of his heavy breathing. His kisses against my neck became almost aggressive, and he unzipped my jeans.

“Hey, what are you doing?”

If he heard me, he didn’t respond. He grabbed the waist of my jeans and yanked them hard, pulling them all the way to my knees.

I yelled his name in shock and horror, but he pinned me down.

“What are you doing? Stop!”

“You’ll like it.”

“Like what? What are you talking about?”

In between kisses on my neck, he said, “I know how you feel about this stuff, but trust me, once we get going, you’ll get into it. I know you will.”

My stomach sank further than my body was pressed into the sofa.

“What are you saying? I already-”

He wrapped one hand around my neck, not too hard but hard enough to cut off my speech. His other hand worked my jeans even further down my kicking feet. “Just try to relax, trust me, it hurts less if you relax…It’ll be tight the first time, but that will change over time. Just trust me, okay?”

Trust me.

I remember the smell of his cologne. I remember the pinching pressure of his weight on my hips. And I remember the warmth of his body, the warmth I once longed for, as he crushed me beneath the weight of his desires.

Still, it wasn’t real to me how much danger I was in until I felt his fingers jab into my underwear to feel me, then around it to slip inside…

To this day, I’m not sure if he just touched the outer edge, or if he actually got a finger or two inside of me. I think I’ve honestly blocked it out. All I know was that that was the switch that I needed to realize that this wasn’t funny anymore. And it actually never was.

I freed one arm to slap his hand away, but he took the hand off my throat and used it to pin me to the couch. My other arm was wedged tightly between my body and the back of the sofa. I remember he was laughing while I was thrashing around beneath him, like he was still thinking that this was just some kind of foreplay. I used to like to think of myself as being too big and too strong to be taken advantage of like my smaller female companions, but I will tell you that in that moment, I felt nothing short of helpless.

One of his hands held mine while the other aggressively pulled one of my breasts out from beneath my tank top and bra. I kept pleading with him to stop while he undid his belt and fly. All the while, he was still kissing me and complimenting me and reassuring me that everything would be alright. I wasn’t crying, wasn’t screaming, but I was telling him, “No.”

Over.

And over.

And over again.

Finally, I got my hand free that had been pinned between my body and the sofa and grabbed him by the shoulders, bracing myself against him and rolling over, throwing him off of me and to the floor at the foot of the couch. Panting, I sat up and quickly readjusted my clothes back into their proper place. Not even looking back at him, I grabbed my purse of the table, threw my car keys inside, and started power-walking toward the door. Not running, because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

This was just another one of his honest mistakes.

I didn’t know the full story.

What else did I expect from a 17 year-old-boy who had been denied sex for two years?

“Where are you going?”

I turn around to see him buttoning his pants and running after me. At the time, I think he’s concerned and he wants to apologize. Now, I realize he was worried he had gone too far, and that I would refuse to be his plaything anymore.

“Home.” I whipped around to leave.

“No, you’re not! Get back here!”

A hand, his hand, caught me by the wrist. A hand that had once held mine, wiped away my tears, gently stroked a strand of my hair while I fell asleep. And the hand jerked me backwards, back towards him, with so much force that I nursed a hidden shoulder injury for nearly a month afterward. I fell to the ground with a sickening “thud,” my head glancing off the linoleum floor of the kitchen as I came crashing down.

And after the crash, there was silence. Five solid seconds of silence as I lay there, a lone tear streaming down my cheek, and he stands there, finally appearing to become aware of what he’s done.

He knelt down beside me and then continuously talked. For the next ten minutes, all he did was talk. There were tears. There were apologies. And he continued to ask if I was okay from the fall…but never from what happened before.

My friends know a much more heavily edited version of this story…and most versions end with me storming out the door and refusing to come back until I fell back into old habits a couple months later. I tell it that way because I like that ending better.

What really happened was that I silently nodded to every apology and promise he made. I shakily rose and set my purse back down on the table, and I sat back on the exact same sofa with him to finish our show. I ate dinner with him, chatted with him, and even kissed him goodnight on the way home. I walked alone to the car, shivering in my skimpy attire, and rode home in silence.

That’s not the kind of happy ending people are looking for, but it’s the truth.

Even after all of this happened, it took me another year to formally end our little rendezvous (we used to still meet up when I was home on break from college), and I could write a whole essay on just the mental and emotional abuse he put me through during that time. But I could also write an essay just as long on the good times, the happy memories, and the love and laughter we shared together.

The thing is, it’s never as cut and dry as people who have never been in the situation make it out to be.

I wish it was.

It sounds terrible, and I know it is, but I wish he had been a masked man in an alley that groped me before I escaped. That would have made it easier for me to cope with. And some days, I even wish I was raped. As horrible as that sounds. Because then I would feel justified somehow – I wouldn’t feel guilty for feeling as strongly as I do, for still being so emotionally affected by this. I always find someone whose story is worse and leaves me feeling guilty for drowning in the tide of emotions that overwhelm me sometimes.

It took me 3 years to begin to process everything that had happened, even after the last time we saw one another. It took me a few months after that to actually say out loud that I am a victim of sexual assault. And now, 7 years later, I can finally put into words and admit all that happened. Both what he did wrong and what I did. I think I’m able to say it now because I realize that although our relationship was toxic from both sides, it’s not an excuse for what he did to me.

We’re still Facebook friends…and I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s just a morbid curiosity to see how his life unfolds. Maybe deep down I want him to see I’m beautiful and successful despite of those nasty words he once hurled at me. But I doubt he even remembers them anymore…

And I think that’s what hurts so much. I will carry this with me for the rest of my life. Constantly debating telling my friends, my parents, my boyfriend about what “really” happened over the course of those 3 years…

And I don’t know if our “dates” ever even cross his mind these days.

Maybe one day I’ll reach out to him. A part of me wants to send this to him, but another part of me is ashamed of what I’ve confessed to here, what I’ve written, and that dark voice in the back of my mind still wonders if I’ve made something out of nothing and if all of this was just an unhappy accident.

As tears stream down my face while I spend hours writing this, I fear sending it to him because I don’t want to cause him any pain.

I hope I publish this someday, although probably not under my name. But to you, dear reader, if anyone is reading this, this is my real, unedited experience. Do with it what you will. If you are looking for comfort or a kindred spirit, I hope you found it. If you are looking for something that makes sense of what you’ve seen in the news lately, here’s the simple, true story of a nobody. And if you’re here to criticize, go right ahead. My story warrants criticism, and there’s nothing you can say that I haven’t whispered to myself as I cry myself to sleep.

Stand up. Speak out. Be heard.”

– Abby –

Coping Is Important For Healing

Finding a way to cope with your assault is very important. This gives you an outlet to channel all your thoughts, feelings and emotions through. There are many healthy ways in which a person can cope, and unfortunately there are many self destructive ways in which a person can cope. This post is going to focus on the positive ways because when you are already in such a negative state, it is hard to think of positive ways to cope. I have been there, I have been through the negative coping mechanisms and they just make a person spiral down deeper and deeper into the darkness. So I am going to talk about what other people do that helps them to cope, and I am going to talk about what I do to cope. Please comment below if you do something that is not listed because I know that others would love to know! There is no “manual” on how to recover from rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, molestation, incest, or sexual abuse; so this is my way of trying to aid in the recovery of others.

artArt is one way people cope. Art comes in many forms from painting, drawing, writing, poetry, making collages, photography, performance art (if you play or want to learn to play a musical instrument), ceramic/pottery and making sculptures. Now, you don’t have to be an artist. You only have to enjoy what you are doing. I always wanted to paint, but I never knew how. I can draw, but I didn’t find it an effective coping mechanism for me (but hey, at least I tried it right?). I tried a “Paint Nite” you go to the website, pick a painting that you like, and the location, then they teach you how to paint it. It was really fun, and the painting actually comes out like the one they show you! I have done several of these.

Reading is another coping mechanism. It allows you to escape for a time into a place of your own choosing. Whatever genera of material you like, pick up some great books and get lost in them. At least for a moment, you will be able to focus your thoughts somewhere else.

gardeningGardening. This allows you to use your creativity, and foster new life and new beginnings. If you like gardening but live in the city and don’t have an area where you can garden, there are many community gardens all around. If this is something that appeals to you, search for community gardens in your city. You also don’t even need to garden outside, get creative with indoor plants and design an indoor garden in any room!

Volunteering. Some people find it therapeutic to volunteer. Maybe you love animals and would like to volunteer at an animal shelter. Maybe helping the homeless is more your style so going and volunteering at a soup kitchen or a local shelter is something that would be a fit for you. Perhaps you prefer to donate blood and help with the efforts that go along with that, so an organization like the Red Cross or local blood drives would be something that you can focus a bit of your energy on. Or maybe you might enjoy visiting the elderly in nursing homes. There are so many elderly folks who never ever receive any visitors. One thing that I haven’t done yet, but I will be doing is getting a bunch of flowers, writing a bunch of handwritten cards/notes, and I will be taking them to a local nursing home where I will pass out a flower and a card/note to people who don’t get any visitors. I will sit and visit with them.

boxingExercising. This one is my coping mechanism. Exercising is a great way to cope with sexual assault and many other challenges that life gives you. Types of exercise include: walking, jogging, running, yoga, palates, cross-fit, dancing, boxing, kickboxing, weights, zumba, aerobics, bike riding, spin class, martial arts, swimming, rowing, horse back riding, or playing a sport you like. I box. I box because it allows me to channel my anger and frustrations out on the bag. It is also a great and tough workout! I also do yoga because I find meditation very helpful. I struggle with keeping a clear and present mind, and yoga helps me with that.

Hopefully this information with be helpful to you, if not now (which is completely understandable) then at some point in the future when you are ready.

Male Sexual Assault Victims Need Just As Much Advocacy As Females

Sexual assault has no limit when it comes to age, race, gender, gender identity, class, education, geographical location, religion, profession, or political views. All victims are created equal in the eyes of sexual assault. That being said, one group of victims whose voices go unheard far too often are male sexual assault victims. Rape and sexual assault happen to men too. Even if statistically it happens a little bit less to men than women, does that really matter? No, it doesn’t. Each and every sexual assault victim has been grossly violated, and suffers through an excruciating emotional trauma.

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The views that the majority of society have with regards to the male sexual assault victim are tragic and flawed. Men are raped and sexually assaulted by men and women. If a man dares to come forward with the information that he has been sexually assaulted, the stigma attached to that is reprehensible and truly portrays victim blaming and shaming to an extreme level. Common views that are associated with this are “Real men don’t get raped” “You are a man, it is impossible for you to get raped”, “Oh please, you know that you like the attention, s/he was so hot” etc. The idea that a man is capable of being sexually assaulted is an idea that the social constructs of society dismisses; and that is simply false. Because of this, so many men live in silence with the agony of their assault, never being able to heal. For some who do come forward, they don’t receive the support they need from family and friends, as they are harshly judged and in turn are stigmatized. For others, they are fortunate to have wonderful family and friends who know that all sexual assault victims are the same, and gender has no bearing.

The message needs to change. Awareness needs to happen. The warped social construct and views surrounding sexual assault victims, especially male victims, needs to be abolished.

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Sheri’s Story (Video)

Sheri has sent a video to be shared on my blog and it is below. This is on YouTube, and she also has her own blog;  https://myexperienceasarapesurvivor.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/david-richard-terrell-raped-me/

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She narrates her story, her statement to the police. This is hard to listen to, but she is very brave! Not only for reporting him to the police, but for getting a rape kit, and for talking about her story and not letting her rapist silence her! I hope that her rapist gets what is coming to him legally!

 

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Saasha

“Who I’m- survivor of Sexual assault(s), 23 years old, nationality Indian, Living in Canada.
Few years ago, I went overseas for my Studies. I was staying with my dad’s brother, my uncle who had bad drinking habits. I never get to know my dad’s family very well because they were living overseas. I was around 10 years old when I saw them last time. They were visiting us for 1-2 weeks that time. its been long time since i saw them last time, and now I was about to live with this family of my dad. Day comes, and now I was living with them. everything was good for first 1-2 months, but then things were changing especially my uncle. He was watching me each and every second I was in that house, while I’m sleeping, watching TV, or preparing my food, when I’m getting ready like all the time. He was like staring at me, I saw him making faces, blowing kisses, whistling and touching himself while he was watching me. I was getting scared, but I pretended that I never saw him doing any of it. Terrible part was he was doing this in front of everyone and no one was saying anything to him. He started making excuses to touch me or get closer to me. His touch was scaring me.

I was sharing my room with my grandmother, and my sister. He started coming to my room drunk even my grandma and sister are in there too. He knew I was scared. Every time he was looking at me, he had that scary smile or laugh on his face. My grandparents, his wife was blaming me for his behavior because as they said I wear half sleeves which was provoking him. Whenever he was drunk I asked my grandmother to give him his meal. He realized that I’m ignoring him. Now his anger was coming out. He started yelling at us (me and my sister), and my grandparents. He started hitting his wife and my grandmother, started bitching at my parents and us. He was punching into wall, throwing TV remotes at everyone and breaking laptops and TVs by punching. He was replacing broken TV with New TV again and again (can’t even count how many times). He was coming to my room and lay on my lap in front of my grandparents and his wife. Every time I was running/or pushing him away, we were facing his anger. It was everyday story. I remember sitting in the corner of my cousin’s room, scared, closed eyes, covering my ears while he was screaming my name outside. To calm him down, my grandparents and his wife makes me sit next to him in living room. Where he was touching my thighs, trying to kiss me, rotating my face to look at him. I can’t forget his scary face and laugh. No one was stopping him, he was coming to my room every other night. He was touching me, kissing me, rubbing his penis against me and I was just crying, frozen physically and mentally; doing nothing. Darkness of night and tic tic of the clock was killing me. All this was so regular that everyone in that house was now ignoring everything. They were letting him do whatever he wanted. I was not sleeping anymore. 4-5 days continuously without sleep (not even for 15 minutes) was my normal routine now. If ever I fell sleep by mistake, there was there staring at me in my room. No one was helping me in that house, so I tried telling people at my college, people just ignored. My physical and mental health everything got effected. I started missing my school, work, stopped my social life. I was too scared that I lived there for 2 years. I got so affected mentally that I was not able to remember who I was or what my name was. I remember going to my college once and I sat there, cried for 45 minutes because I didn’t remember who and where I was, and what I was doing there. Streets, college students, college building everything seems familiar but was unknown. Throughout my life; from when I was 4-5 until now I had these memories or blur flashbacks of my childhood. During childhood and my teenage years, my life, my Actions was not making any sense to me. I was touching myself since I was 5 may be. I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just feeling good. Making things clear here, I didn’t know what was sex until I was 17. It funny that until my 17th, I believed that kissing each other on lips is sex. I know this is stupid, and childish. This put smile on my face right now that how childish I was but makes me sad too that I was unaware that I innocence had been already taken away. I hate myself that how could I like touching myself. These memories were of my early childhood, I was 3-4 year old. Few of these memories are, my 19-20 years cousin brother choking me with his penis, fingering and licking my vagina every day for 4-6 months in my own house. Remember that I was 3-4 that time. Oh boy, my body is shaking with fear now… [Pause]. All I remember after that is crying from pain and cleaning my own blood from my vagina. I was too young to understand that what it was. So, I recover from this thing somehow. May be because I didn’t know what that was, or I was too young to understand.

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Anyways, my uncle thing trigger all those memories causing more psychological damage. I stop fighting physically. I stayed there in that house with my uncle 2 years. I was dead from inside, no emotions at all. I was feeling nothing, totally numb. I was not talking to anyone anymore. If someone was starting a conversation, I was not answering properly. So people stop talking to me either. Now my grandparents were angry at me too because I was the reason of every problem in that house. He and my fear both didn’t let me sleep every night. I started falling asleep in day when he is not at home. But my grandparents will not let me especially. They start checking out my bags, purses, looking for money. My grandma used to prepare dinner for everyone. She stopping preparing my food. I was eating not even once per day. I was not feeling like eating. My body messed up, physically, emotionally, everything was changed. If I was eating, half of 6 inch means 3 inch subway once a day or milk or something similar. That was my food for day for almost a more than year. I lose my weight, Got dark circles, anxiety problems, major depression… I was not myself anymore. My doctor put me on anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

Finally one day, I broke down emotionally and told one of my former classmate who was active in social groups. He contacted a social worker and police. I was out from that house now and my uncle got arrested and released. I pressed the charges and got restraining order against him. All he got was probation and prohibited of consumption of alcohol for 1 year. It’s been more than a year that I’m out from that house but I’m still on high dose of anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

I thought end of the story is end of my pain. But this didn’t stop here. I found this video of a local popular you-tuber from my community about his recovery from major depression. I was overwhelmed. I know this guy through my former friends/classmates and met him once or twice before. But never talked to him. He is good comedian, and I used to watch his videos. So his depression video goes viral and he told that he would love to talk to anyone about depression if anyone wants and suffering from it. He was former students of my college too, so I text him on social media. My first message to him was, “Hi how are you? I need your help. Please help me. Tell me what help you got/how did you survive this depression?” I was so overwhelmed, I was just throwing question after question. He told me that He would like to talk about it in person. So I said yes. I got text from him another day that If I have time today we can meet today. Again, I said yes. He told me that he is coming with his female friend, where I wants to meet? When I heard that he is coming with his female friend, I got comfortable and I said at my place. I was not OK to talk about incident or depression in public. It was around 10 pm. He sent me a text that they are 5 minutes away from my house. Bell rang!!! I opened the door, He came in. He was alone. I asked him where his friend is. He said he dropped her at some place. Now I was scared, and totally uncomfortable. He sat at one side of the sofa and I’m at other end. I was having maximum distance from him I can. As I was talking about depression, He starts coming closer. I told him that He should stay there where he is as I’m not comfortable. I repeated myself 3-4 times. He didn’t stop. He hold my hands, and started rubbing it on his chest. He was rubbing his penis against me. Reminding me of my uncle, my fucking body was frozen again. I didn’t fight him physically. But kept saying no, Stop this, no stop this please. He Masturbated and left. I spent my all night sitting on the floor with fear. I felt guilty that I invited him at my place and didn’t fight back. He gave me marks of bites all over my neck. I hate this body. I wish I could get rid of it. I wish I could cut my fucking vagina. Why did I survive my childhood abuse? Why I’m still alive? I was so strong, what happened to me? Why men are so strong that I can’t push them away? Why the fucking I …what the fuck I’m doing here. Why the fuck I’m alive. I hate myself, you know why? I confronted him when he sent me text again one day, He apologized and I fucking believed him. I thought it was all misunderstanding, because i invited him at my place and he took it in wrong way. but I didn’t invited him alone, he was coming with his female friend. And I was saying no. We argue over this, and I felt he is really sorry for his actions. I accepted his apologized. Next thing I remember, he asking me that “so we are not having any misunderstanding anymore. Everything is clear right?” I said, “Yes”. He said you wants to go for coffee, I took it as sorry. Again, this stupid me said yes to him, and trusted him again. We went for coffee, we talked. Everything was clear. I felt that he is sorry. I asked him to drop me at my place, we get into car. Next thing, he was masturbating. I was shocked. Car was locked, it was really dark outside, no car, except some bike Gang members may be. I told him to drop me home. He said lets go. Instead of dropping me at my place, He went to his place. Car stopped!! I asked him where are we? He said this is my home. I said, “I thought you’re dropping me at my place.” HE said yes I’m. I need to pick something, you should also have some water, come inside. It will not take long. He started touching me again. I told him stop stop stop stop please don’t stop stop for more than an hour. At this point, he was screaming, yelling at me. He was angry. All he said was stop pretending. My phone was dead, I didn’t know my location. I knew I was not going anywhere. If I ran, He’s gonna get me. He will beat me up to death, He will lock me up and will rape me every day. I was scared for my life, not just for getting raped. He spared me life, but I was raped all night…
I didn’t tell anymore for 5 months that I got raped, that It happened again. But it was all my fault, if i hadn’t been contact him at first place, If i hadn’t been so scared, If i hadn’t been trusted him again. and now I refusing to admit that I had been raped, that I let myself raped again..I just can’t give up the sense of control that I rebuild again and again. I just can’t.

I told my counselor and police few weeks ago. i’m just not able to admit that I had been assaulted again. this can’t be right!! this can’t be happening again.”

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Sexual Harassment Starts Younger Than One Would Think

Author: Anonymous

“Everybody always talks about how when they got to their 16, 17, 18, and 19 years, and how they faced sexual harassment almost daily, but no one ever talks about how it starts much sooner. I’ve been experiencing sexual harassment since at least fourth grade.

In fourth grade (I went to a rough school), kids were discovering twerking, or, as it was called at the time, the “booty dance” (stupid, I know, but we were fourth grade). Guys would go to the curviest girl in the grade (me) and ask them to do the booty dance for them. If we didn’t, they would threaten us. Petty little things, like “I’ll steal your homework and shove it in the toilet” or “I won’t let you out on the playground” but in fourth grade, those were awful threats. So, I learned how to twerk and entertain the boys.

In sixth grade, I was walking to my desk, right in front of a teacher, and a guy slapped my ass and called me his bitch. The teacher looked away and pretended she never saw. I asked her why she didn’t do anything, and she said “boys will be boys”.

8th grade was awful. Guys figured out that the teachers wouldn’t punish them for harassment, so they went overboard. I remember a guy grabbing my backpack while it was on my back and humping it. Guys would walk by me and my friends seat and yank our hair and say “ya like that hoe?” guys would push us to the floor on the bus and pretend to fuck us. I remember a guy pulling a knife on me because I said no to his advances.

Everyone always talks about harassment in girl’s later teenage years, but people rarely realize that it happens when we’re young, too, we’re just to blind to see it.”

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I agree with this author, and I think that a large part of the problem with sexual harassment and rape today is that issues like what the author are not addressed. Children are taught at a very young age that “boys will be boys” or that when someone sees an inappropriate action being done to another person, that the “correct” thing to do is look the other way. These types of attitudes must change!

Road to Recovery…When Does It End?

It has been exactly 8 months since I was raped (actually 8 months yesterday because it is after midnight). I am  not doing much better at all, I am still having awful nightmares; the went a way for a couple of weeks, but not for long, migraines are in full swing (this one is 7 days long!) and I miss so much work because of them. I had stopped blogging because all I think about is rape, and I thought that taking a break might help – but it hasn’t.

I don’t want to live in this world anymore

What have any of you survivors who read my blog do/have done that help’s? I don’t know what to do. I need to change my life around, I miss being happy and full of joy, and I want it back. He took so much from me!

I came across this great read: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/life-after-rape-5-keys-to-growth-and-healing-for-women-0217155

I immediately started crying because of this (in particular the bold)

I rarely meet a woman who has experienced rape and is comfortable using that word. In fact, in my experience most try to avoid it and instead use language such as “I had an incident,” “You could say that he touched me,” or “I had sex with him but didn’t really want to.”

That almost  what I said to my boyfriend via text the day I was raped, and because of that, the police did not take me seriously. I was in shock and horror and…who want’t to say or write that out loud to anyone, let alone themselves or a boyfriend! I said, “We had sex but I didn’t want to”. Not only that but I also described that I woke up and he was on top  of me inside me. But police and DA’s in this country take the word over a Rapist every time.

I have been searching for ways to overcome this, and I see the same things….forgive yourself, blame the rapist, talk to family and friends, exercise, volunteer, therapy….I am having a very hard time finding something that helps. At first, about a month after, I forced myself to go out and do things – be social. Now I don’t want to talk to anyone, I am starting to feel weird around my boyfriend, and  just really wish I could find some answers.I miss…..me….

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This Conversation Is Too Funny

This two parakeets are adorable!  Lol

 

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