Our society is at a really pivotal point, right now. While I am only twenty eight years old, I feel like I have never seen women banding together, speaking up, and showing support in the ways that we are seeing those things happen today. From the #metoo movement, to women's marches, to #timesup, to literature, art, and movies that empower and embolden women, there is truly a reckoning happening amongst women in the world. While it has been amazing to see women banding together and standing up for ourselves, there is also pain and brokenness in sharing the struggles that we face. The ME TOO movement has lit a spark in my own heart to no longer feel the need to be silent about the sexual harassment, assault, and abuse that I have faced. It has taught me that there is power in speaking your story. There is power in listening and loving people as they speak through theirs. And there is a raw beauty in the quiet acknowledgement that we have all faced this to some degree, and we won't stand for it anymore. That being said, here are the anonymous submissions I received during our Me Too campaign. These brave women shared their story with me, and gave me permission to share it with you. Our experiences vary widely across the spectrum, but they are all valid, they are all shocking, and they all have the capability to make us feel degraded, devalued, and drained.
Please be respectful as you read through these stories. Let your heart ache with the young childen who didn't know they could say no, the teenagers who were afraid to tell their parents, the grown women who believed it couldn't happen to them. Bear witness to the suffering of others, and stand up. Say enough is enough and demand that every human deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
Do it so that my daughters and your sons and daughters never have to say, "me too."
Warning this post has many depictions of sexual assault and could be triggering to those who have faced similar trauma. Be gentle with yourself, friends.
"There are so many it's hard to narrow it down.
I was sexually assaulted as a child by several different family members. I didn't tell my parents until my early twenties because I always thought my mom wouldn't be able to handle it emotionally.
When I did finally talk my fears were confirmed. It would've been better for me to tell my conservative Christian parents that I was gay than to tell them I had been violated. My mom didn't speak to me for over a month and my dad changed the subject and acted like I hadn't said anything.
When I was 15 I was raped by my much older boyfriend. Took me over a year, and a suicide attempt, before I told my parents. My dad was irritated at me for the timing and location of telling them, my mom asked me if I had had an abortion because all sex leads to pregnancy in her mind.
In college I dated an abusive drunk. There were times when I would hide in my apartment while he banged on my doors and windows and screamed at me to let him in. I knew if I did the consequences would be much worse. We lived in a small town and I wasn't sure how to escape him when I knew I could potentially see him every day. The end of the relationship was when I went to the bar with friends to celebrate a friend's birthday. He came to the bar, pulled me out of my seat and dragged me out. I drove him home and he refused to get out of my car. So I started walking and he chased me down and beat me in the grass in front of his apartment complex. I have vivid memories of him laughing in my face as he shook me and slapped me. Miraculously I got away and I ran until I couldn't breathe anymore. The next day I had to get my purse back from him. He told me it was my fault for making him angry. My mom told me it was my fault for not listening when she told me she didn't like him.
I was running by an elementary school when I was catcalled by a group of boys hanging out in front of the school. When I said something about it on social media, that it was shocking to have 5th graders comment on my sexy legs, I was told by a family member that I should just take it as a compliment. Last week I was walking home from dropping my oldest off at school, pushing a stroller. A man riding a bike passed me and said "good morning sexy mama." I turned around thinking I was just overhearing a neighbor flirting with his wife or something, only to realize he was talking to me.
The look on his face made me walk three extra streets to make sure he wasn't following me home."
"When I was 7, I had a best friend that lived across the street. I spent many summer days at her house swimming and hanging out. She didn’t come over to my house as much because I didn’t have a pool! I would go over every single day when I knew she was home from kindergarten (she was younger than me), ring the doorbell and ask her mom “can Jane play?” (I’ve changed the name to protect the innocent)
Her mom was sweet and as years went by I always thought of her as a single mom and a second mom. She was married but her husband wasn’t around much. She would mow the lawn which my mom found mesmerizing and I found it bad ass. I just remember he had stacks of Playboy magazines in a certain area of the house that us naughty girls would take a peek at when we knew no one was looking. I found it so sneaky and mysterious and at the same time I found it creepy that her dad had so many of the magazines out in the open for his two young daughters to see (Jane has a sister who was 3 years older)!
Of course I had never seen a magazine like Playboy before. When her dad was around I didn’t feel as safe since I didn’t know him as well, and because I knew he fancied Playboy. Also I remember my sisters used to say he was creepy and that they felt like he looked at them inappropriately when they would see him outside. One day we were swimming (I was about 9 I think) and he picked me up and threw me in the deep end of the pool! I could swim but I was no Phelps (don’t know any bad ass female swimmer’s names...sorry). I was terrified and shocked that the man I hardly knew did that to me and made me feel even more leary about him. I guess he assumed I was like my friend Jane and would enjoy it and knew how to swim good?
Either way I went home that day feeling a little traumatized and I told my mom. She was furious and wanted to stomp right over there and tell him off. I begged her not to. I think I didn’t want my future summer swim days to be jeopardized in any way. She didn’t say anything but made me promise that if anything like that ever happened again to tell her. It never did but something else happened. Now here’s where my #metoo story has a crazy twist and will leave you dumbfounded as it did me. I was sleeping over at Jane’s one night, one of the many many sleepovers I had already had, it being my second home and right across the street, and something happened in the middle of the night. Someone woke me and Jane by touching us inappropriately and wanting us to touch her inappropriately. Jane’s older sister, who I felt was like a sister to me, was the culprit. I didn’t scream, I didn’t try to get away, but I went along with it. I won’t get into details. I have never spoken with anyone about it until recently, about 5 years ago I told my husband. I didn’t really want to tell anyone but I felt like I had to finally get it off my chest after all these years. Jane and I were still BFF’s, we never talked about that and I kept going over all the time to swim, play and for sleepovers. I don’t think it ever happened again. I don’t remember it happening again but now as an adult I wonder if it could have and I’ve blocked it out!? Jane eventually moved away to the west side of town which when I was a kid, it seemed like she moved to another far away city.
I didn’t see her as often but we kept in touch and my mom would make the trek every so often to take me over there for a sleepover. Her dad was never there and we had heard that there was something that happened with her dad; mortgage fraud or something about a dispute with his sister about a house which may be the reason they moved. And I think he went to jail for a while. All I know is I loved my friend Jane. She moved out of state to live with her grandparents when i was in 7th grade and we were pen pals for a while. For you youngens, a pen pal is someone you hand write letters to and put them in the mail! Imagine that! She enjoyed living with her grandparents, she was estranged from her dad, she missed her mom and sister. By the time I was in high school we had lost touch but she would call me when she was in town but we didn’t see each other. She seemed to be a little promiscuous, from what I understood. She was angry with her dad and told me he had been unfaithful to her mom and they had divorced (shocker!).
We became facebook friends and after I had my first child we arranged to meet for lunch and I took him with me. It was a nice visit but we had grown so apart that our childhood seemed so foggy and like it was another lifetime so long ago. And we didn’t seem to have anything in common. Then she invited me to go on a little ski trip together one weekend in Taos, just the two of us. Girl trip. We stayed one night and it was fun. Like we were kids having a sleepover again. We caught up with each other, we had burping contests, just like the good old days. We talked about what was going on with our family members. Her dad was trying to have a relationship with her and she wouldn’t have it. I thought now is my chance. Now we can talk about what happened that night. Did she even remember? I had so many questions for her. Did her sister do that to her often? Was her sister abused by her dad and that’s how she learned it? Was Jane abused by her dad? Did she have a happy childhood? I never got to ask her all the questions I had. It wouldn’t come out. I thought maybe she was going to talk about it. Maybe that’s why she wanted to go on this trip. To get stuff off her chest. Neither of us uttered a word about it. We haven’t seen each other since. I still have fond memories of our childhood minus that thorn that I’ve kept a deep secret.
I see her occasional Facebook post but we really are like strangers now. I know she had several boyfriends and finally had met the one she was engaged to. We chatted via Facebook one late nate when she saw I was active and confided in me that the man she was in love with and about to marry had cheated. The engagement was off and she was devastated. She’s still single and I always wish the best for Jane and I hope she’s happy. Thanks for giving this platform to anonymously share my story. It was cathartic for me to write about it. "
"I attended a party my freshman year of college to celebrate the end of Greek Week, a competition among sororities and fraternities. My sorority was paired with a fraternity and we made some new friendships through this. At the celebration after Greek Week we went to the fraternity house and were having a great time. We walked over from our house and I was with my best friend and roommate. I had not had anything to drink and when offered a drink, from my dance partner and FRIEND, I politely asked for a water to which he "obliged". My roommate was hanging out with some of her friends and all of a sudden, I was waking up in a room that I had never been in and had no recollection of walking to.
I frantically looked for my phone to call my roommate and had a hard time processing that I also didn't have all of my clothes on. My head was pounding, I had no voice after a long week of singing and cheering, and I felt incredibly helpless. I shot up out of the bed and found my pants and my phone and couldn't find my shoes. I wandered downstairs to find my roommate who must have known what was going on from the look on my face. Without shoes on, she held my hand as we walked back to our house and went and woke up my "Big Sister". My lack of voice made communicating really difficult and the fact that I honestly couldn't describe what had happened in the 4 hours between when we go to the party and when I stumbled around finding my roommate well after 2 am. My big sister and my roommate drove me to the hospital where the nurses repeatedly asked me how much I had had to drink, which was NOTHING, and harassed my friends to make me tell the truth. They offered to call the police but urged me to inform them of how much I had had to drink or they might not even come. I looked at my friends and told them I couldn't handle this horrible treatment and that I wanted to go home. My friends were my absolute advocates and made the nurses give me a drug test, antibiotics, the morning after pill, and administer an HIV test. I was not on birth control, had just gotten out of my high school long relationship, and couldn't process what was happening. My HIV came back negative with instruction to come back in 6 months for another one, and I had high levels of GHB in my system. We went home and I seriously cannot remember how the next week went.
Throughout the week after, older girls in my sorority who were friends with this guy continued to ask for my story, "give them the details", asking me if I had led him on and what really happened. This was miserable as my mind made up details as to what happened. I didn't really know. I know I was naked, I know it felt like I'd had sex, I know that he didn't use protection, and I knew that I lost over 4 hours from my night, but it wasn't a feeling of having been asleep. The President of my sorority called me to her room one day and told me to sit down. She had spoken with the President of the fraternity that this guy was in and that they were going to kick him out and he was being forced to move out. I was shocked at first that I hadn't been asked if this was okay with me, but realized I needed these people to do this for me whether or not I asked for it. The president of the fraternity called me over and over that week pressing me for details and telling me that "his brother would have nowhere to go if they kicked him out and had him move out" and eventually I told them to let him stay. I didn't want to feel anymore guilty than I already did.
My friend told me about free counseling that my university offered and I immediately made an appointment and got some help. I learned that the best way to deal with this was for me to talk about it, and teach others about it, be the "unlikely" victim that shows a group of younger women how to be safe and how to cope. The next semester I had elected to take a swimming class and the first day I went, I changed into my bathing suit, sat on the bleachers with one of my good friends from high school who through this all knew what had happened, and out walks the guy who assaulted me. I panicked. Of all the places I could encounter him for the first time, it was while I was in a bathing suit feeling very vulnerable. My friend, who is a guy, picked up on what was going on (friends who understand you without words are really just the best), and he told me it would be okay and he wouldn't leave my side. He told me he would support me and drop the class with me if I wanted and I decided that I couldn't let my life be dictated by a bad man. We stuck the class out and I never talked to him once. I cried on the way to almost every class but overall, I am glad that I made the decision to stay.
Fast forward 2 years and I'm at the gynecologist getting an annual exam and they hit me with the news that I had stage 4 HPV. I went in for my biopsy and I was hysterical and shaking the entire time. The poor nurse was so confused wondering if it hurt. I told her what happened and she let me talk for 20 minutes. They prescribed me a medication that ended up giving me an esophageal ulcer and I felt like I was sick for SO LONG. I hadn't brought any of this on myself and I shouldn't have had to go through it. I was safe with my 1 previous partner and this was SO UNFAIR. I was mad. For the first time in a few years, I was really, really mad. I stayed mad for a few months and had a lot of difficulty with physical interactions with the guy I was dating at the time. He didn't understand, which was okay. How could he? I dated around and honestly made some bad choices in sexual partners, something I personally was morally opposed to but I kept acting out. I couldn't make myself realize that I didn't need to do that to be loved and accepted. I finally met a guy my senior year of college that I fell in love with at first sight. We had a long distance relationship off the bat and I felt real love, even if it didn't last. He saved me and probably never even knew it. He didn't do anything other than show me love from hundreds of miles away.
When I started dating my now husband, I decided to be open with him immediately about this part of my life. How sometimes, for no reason, physical touch HURT me on the inside and I sometimes freaked out. He was so loving. I saw on Facebook one day that my rapist got married and I remember sending my best friend a barrage of texts detailing how AWFUL AND UNFAIR that was. I don't think I've seen him now for about 3 years but songs, people, dates, and the recent storm of men and women coming forward with their stories has brought up a lot of memories. I think the weirdest part is that I don't know if they are real memories. I don't know what happened during my assault. I don't know if it hurt, how long it lasted, where he went afterwards, or what he said to make me come to his room. I don't even know if I participated or if I was "asleep".
At some point in the years following I got a text from a random number apologizing for ever hurting me. That this person had been coerced by friends to try to hook up with me and he was sorry. I never replied but I know that this was him. I don't think I'll ever forgive him for doing that to me. For turning me into, even temporarily, a person who wasn't me and who was self destructive. I hear about forgiveness at church a lot, and I always contemplate forgiving him, really making the effort to forgive him, and I have yet to get there, which is okay. I made it out the other side of this as best as I could. I am healthy, in a healthy marriage, and have spoken to classes, my sorority sisters, coworkers, and online about my experience. I have to say, one of the hardest things about this is seeing people who were also raped and assaulted, not make it out as well as me. Who spiraled into a dark place and have yet to climb out. That isn't fair. Why was I given the strength to make it and they weren't? Its crushing to me and I take every opportunity to love these women and let them know that there isn't a right or wrong way to deal with this.
There isn't a perfect amount of recovery time. Letting them know that while we went through something similar, we all view it and react so differently-our experiences can't be lumped into one group. It isn't fair that this man broke me down, and that men have broken other women down because they had the power to do so and it makes me MAD. I think its okay that sometimes I get mad about it because I never get mad and people take me more seriously then. I will never shy away from supporting a victim of sexual assault, harassment, domestic, or stranger violence. God gave me supernatural strength to recover and a gift to be there for others and I plan to use that gift for forever. "
"I was working at a casino at a job I loved. I loved interacting with customers as the main part of my job and I felt like I was great at it. There was a frequent, particular guest of the casino/hotel that was very wealthy and always kind and generous to me. I had heard stories about the crazy things he was involved in, but I treated him like any other guest and he often tipped me very well. One day when I was doing my job, this guest who was highly inebriated cornered me in a place that was not visible to anybody else. I tried to talk myself out of it and let him know I needed to get back to work and that my bosses needed me to go report to them. This man who was not a large man but taller than me used one hand to pin one of my hands to the wall behind me and his other hand went up my shirt and pulled my bra to the side. I was fighting hard with my movements but I couldn't scream.
I had been assaulted once before-how could this happen again? It felt like a lifetime that we were in this corner away from anybody who could help. He tried to kiss me but he was so drunk that his movements were clumsy. He eventually took his hand out of my shirt but continued to feel around on top of my clothes all over my body. He let me go and stumbled back to his friends. I went right back to work, feeling like I'd been away for 20 minutes, and finished my shift. I didn't tell my bosses but confided in one of my closest friends who worked in a different department. We were not romantically involved but had strong feelings for each other and he stormed into my boss's office to tell them what happened. My bosses were shocked and didn't quite know what to do.
After a few days of thinking on it, they decided that the best thing for me to do was not to say anything, and that if I saw him in my area, that I could come inside and somebody would switch positions with me for the day. They explained how much money this man spent at the casino and hotel as well as reiterated to me his involvement with bad people. Bad, important people, who could hurt me if I spoke poorly of him. I never pursued anything. I would have had to give information to Tribal Police, potentially having him banned from the casino losing his money that he constantly spent there, and potentially have back lash from higher ups at the Casino.
I had a lot of people who had my back to protect me at my job from that point on, but it still really sucked that I was very restricted on doing anything legally. There are approximately a billion cameras at this casino, and I was able to confirm with a friend in security that no camera sees the area where my assault happened. I ended up leaving that job and have never seen the man again."
"Growing up was confusing. I was taught from an early age that my body was something to fear, and that it would incite men to act, say, and do awful things. That I’d be to blame for something happening, because I should know better than to put myself in that circumstance. Sexuality was framed as good yet dirty, and the subtleties of consent weren’t gone over. It was all very black and white as far as sex went; no sex, no contact of any sort before marriage, but your body ceased to belong to you when you married. When did my body ever belong to me? It belonged to my parents, then my spouse. I felt like property. Manipulation to force or “imply” consent wasn’t something that was discussed, nor did I think to question it. I was forced to hug and kiss family members I didn’t know for fear of embarrassing my parents by my “rude” behavior. Saying no to an authority figure was out of the question. I don’t blame my parents for any of the following specifics; they did the best they could with what they knew. But society needs to change. Girls (and boys) shouldn’t be raised with consent being a question. If your answer isn’t a resounding “yes”, it’s a “no”. Period. I shouldn’t be in my 30’s figuring out my boundaries. I shouldn’t be reliving my past experiences. We all have the right to feel safe, and it’s amazing to me that in this day and age, we still don’t. Age 9: a boy reacted in anger with me by lifting up my shirt in public, at school, in front of other students.
Age 11/12: on the way home from the State Fair, my sister and I were subjected to a drive-by flashing by a man clearly well into his 30’s, driving without his pants on and exposing his erection. He changed lanes to meet us despite our moving seats from one side of the bus to the other. I still remember his face.
Age 13/14: a teacher (in his late 30’s-40’s) at my Christian school made many comments about my pleasing appearance, commenting that I “have very nice legs”, and that he didn’t know “what the boys were thinking” since I didn’t have a boyfriend. I’d heard other girls had similar complaints about this teacher. As far as I know, he’s still at that school.
Age 14: my boyfriend fingered me in the movie theater, despite my saying “no”. When a physical response was reached, though it was a reflex, not enjoyed, I was laughed at and earned a new nickname that spread around his social circle.
Age 15: my former boyfriend made loud, disparaging remarks about my body and looks, made up stories about how I was sexually, and turned me in to school authorities for supposedly “rubbing it in his face” that I had a new relationship. A peck on the lips before class turned into reporting me for “making out” in the hallway. When I relayed my side of the story, I was dismissed, and told not to “provoke (him)”.
Between the ages of 14 and 18, countless pressures from boyfriends for oral sex and vaginal intercourse. I wasn’t ready, and communicated such. The pressures still came, along with emotional abuse (and occasional physical abuse) stemming from their sexual frustration. I often was called a tease.
Age 16: an adult family friend (nearly a decade older) expressed interest in me. I’d known him since I was 13. We talked online and had an inappropriate relationship (given my age) throughout my 17th year. After I’d turned 18, I woke one morning after he’d been staying over after a party, and he was standing at the foot of my bed. He then took off his towel, crawled into my bed, naked and wet from his shower. He didn’t ask, and he used my body. I’d had a longtime crush on him, but he played with my feelings and my body like they were nothing. He would tell me we had a relationship, but nobody else knew- he didn’t tell his friends, and I most certainly didn’t tell my parents.
Age 17: a long-time boyfriend “gave his virginity” to me, but didn’t give me the choice to choose to give mine to him. His dad was in the next room playing a computer game. I felt empty, and confused. I loved him. But I hadn’t consented to sex.
Age 22-24: Most of my marital sex was obligatory, unenjoyable, and non-consensual. It was my “duty” to provide my body to my husband, no questions asked (according to church). After all, if he strayed, it was my fault for not providing the sex he wanted. I endured painful, uncomfortable intimacy. He strayed anyway, and later married the woman he was seeing while we were still married.
Age 26: Briefly worked at a strip club to make ends meet, was groped every shift, and was subjected to lots of lewd comments. Men seemed to feel entitled to my body, simply because of the nature of the work. However, it was against the club rules to grope and fondle dancers. The clientele rarely complied. Just because a job involves the consent to be gazed upon and close to someone doesn’t entitle one to get physical. It’s a fine line, but it’s a line.
Age 27-28: Was in a relationship with an emotionally and physically abusive partner, who cheated and subjected me to various health risks due to his promiscuity. He tried to keep this a secret, but I later found that he’d had multiple sexual partners of both sexes. I did not consent to being in such a risky relationship. I didn’t consent to possible STI’s as a result of his behavior. He tried to blame me for his actions.
I can’t remember all instances of unsolicited comments on my figure, or looks, or remarks on how said features make some man feel. I’ve been called at on the street, I’ve been sung to while walking alone, followed in convenience stores, and propositioned online. As infuriating as all of this is, and painful to rehash (and downright unbelievable looking back), I refuse to let it rob me of my joy today.
Unfortunately, the memories will never leave, and some things left more of a mark than others, but we are not alone. That is both sad and encouraging. I only hope future generations have it better."
"For a long time I didn't see these as counting. But now that I have a daughter I know that I would not want her to be treated this way. Even though my experience was "mild", I want to acknowledge that it is not okay for our autonomy to be compromised. I was about 10 or 11 and playing on the slip and slide at a neighbor's house. My friend's brother and his friend waited at the end of the slip and slide and caught us. The brother held onto me and intentionally touched my vulva and moved his fingers around. His friend was also chanting vulgar things that I didn't understand at the time, but could sense that they were sexual. I never told anyone until now, 22 years later. Another time I woke up while sleeping at a cousin's house to see my younger male cousin standing over me and touching me over my underwear. I never said anything to him and wrote it off as him being curious. But now I know I wouldn't want my sons to think that expression of curiousity is okay. "
"There are so many of these stories, I'm not sure I can bear to tell them all. One has recently flooded my memory after many dormant years, and that's the one I'm choosing to share with you today. When I was seventeen, I made a friend. He was a friend of a guy I had dated and moved on from. He was twenty or twenty one and we had a class together at the local community college. He started asking to hang out after class and I was happy to have company to study. I made it clear very early on that I had no romantic interest in him and saw him as a friend. I had started dating someone else casually, even. But this guy was relentless in his romantic pursuit of me. I didn't want to appear rude or be a "bitch," so I kept up our friendship and figured after our class ended, I could stop hanging out with him. One day, he invited me over to study for a big test we had. I had just started exclusively dating the guy I was casually seeing, but I needed to study for the test, so I obliged. I showed up and he was dressed incredibly fancy and his parents had the table set for a huge dinner. Again, I didn't want to appear rude, so I went along with the dinner. I didn't know how to act when his dad said, "It's good to see _____ have a girlfriend over. We haven't had many girls here since the last one ended badly." so I just smiled and nodded. After the uncomfortable dinner, we went to his room to study. He closed the door, which seemed odd. I noticed a hole in his door asked him about it. He casually said, "Oh, I got mad at my ex and she kept trying to leave, so I closed the door and punched a hole in it." Alarm bells started to ring in my head, but again, I was afraid of being rude. He never once opened a book, and put a movie on instead. I tried to study, but before the opening credits ended, he was all over me, forcing me to kiss him while I shoved him away. He knew I had a boyfriend, I thought. This had to be a misunderstanding, right? He unzipped my pants and shoved his hand down them while I tried to squirm away. I told him I didn't want him to be doing any of this, and he said, "I promise you'll like it." I laid there, shocked and frozen while he put his fingers inside of me. And the next words he said will haunt me forever, "I can't believe you're cheating on your boyfriend with me." He had me. I couldn't tell anyone because I shouldn't have been there. I had a boyfriend, why was I alone, behind a locked door with some other guy? My mom called me and saved the day. I had to get up. I had to move. I left and cried the whole way home. I texted my best friend and told her "I kissed ______" even though I hadn't. He had forced his lips on mine while I shoved him away, but with those ten words, he had made me the bad guy. I was a cheater. I deserved to be violated. Thats what I thought.
I wish I could go back and hug that poor, scared girl in that bedroom. I wish I could tell her that she didn't do anything wrong. I wish I could teach her that she is valuable and beautiful and she doesn't have to absolve the guilt of a sexual predator. But I can't. All I can do is scream my stories from the rooftops and teach the next generation of girls that they deserve better. That I will fight every day to make the world a place where they don't have to fear their friends and blame themselves."
"When I was 11 a friend and I were walking and two men in a car drove by and Cat-called us...I remember feeling so guilty and shameful. I also remember several years later when I was in 7th grade and I was spending the day with a school-mate. We had to run some errands and went to a grocery store. To men were following my friend and I and speaking in Spanish about us. Her mother turned and replied in Spanish that we were children and they should be ashamed. Her anger was ferocious and I felt guilty and ashamed and proud all at once.
Another time I was traveling and I was at a local store when a man just reached out and grabbed my breast. I was in complete shock and while I stood there not knowinf what to do a friend who was with me slapped his hand and began to raise her voice. Not wanting attention, he disappeared into the crowd. I’ll never forget his demeanor-his sense of ownership of the body of a stranger. It was an awful feeling that didn’t leave me for some time. "
"I have been coming back to this over and over. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know where to start. I started to write about my boss when I was 18 who used to come into the prep kitchen where I was alone and he poked at me with the day-old baguettes. He'd say to me does your boyfriend satisfy you, do you want to take this home and play with it. And he laughed this evil laugh and he'd walk out. He was old and cranky and wealthy and at that time in my mind he was powerful looking back Now he was nothing.
Then I started thinking about a mistake I made when I got into a car with for boys when I was 16. I thought they were my friends and they wanted to hang out. It was late middle of the night my parents were out of town no one knew I was out and they had their hands all over me. They were putting their hands up my shirt and down my pants and the driver saved me from being raped but I was already violated. I thought it was my fault because I got in the car them. And I've never told anybody.
When I was 12 my perpetrator came to school to pick me up and I was terrified it had been at least 8 years and I couldn't take it anymore. I finally told my sister about it and turns out all four of my sisters we're keeping the same secret.
When I was 20 my boyfriend was out of town and I went to a party with his friends and I had too much to drink. I went to my car because I knew that I was intoxicated and I woke up two two of his friends violating me. I never told him.
I've spent the past 20 years wondering how I allowed myself to be a victim so many times.
I've had friends Neighbors acquaintances ask to see my breasts to lift my shirt to touch their "junk".
I have three daughters and I'm worried for them."
I was in an Old Town Gift Shop looking at dream catchers for my new bedroom. I was alone in a room, as my husband, of not even twenty four hours wandered aimlessly looking at New Mexican gifts. My friends were in a different store, it was quiet, and I felt safe. As I reached up to touch a dream catcher, I felt a man start to touch me. It wasn’t the innocence or tenderness of my husband. It was the malice of a man who whispered, "shhh, sexy," in my ear.
Tears began to fill my eyes as I froze in fear and humiliation. I was a bride yesterday! Didn't he know? Didn't he care to look at the wedding ring on my finger? As quickly as the attack started, it stopped. I looked around, ashamed that I had just been molested inside of a store that resided in a town I grew up in. I looked down at my clothes
Did I tempt him? Did I provoke this? I pulled uncomfortably at my turtle neck and jeans... so angry that society would instill that this was somehow my fault no matter what I was wearing. I struggled to find the words to tell my husband and friends as they ran towards me, tears streaming down my pale face. The shop owners and security guards pressed for answers I was terrified to give, and in shock to disclose. It felt like a small attack to what other women endure, but it was the end of an era of feeling safe for me.
"I worked at the pro shop at the golf course connected with the University I attended. When I was hired my boss warned me that some of the older customers could sometimes be inappropriate toward the female workers, but he told me he would handle it if I needed him to. I learned pretty quickly who he was talking about, and learned how to handle it or avoid the ones who were incessant (meaning drunk.) If it got out of hand I would tell my boss, but usually I just ignored the nonsense and did my job.
However, one of my co-workers, Ray, loved flirting with me. I didn't mind the attention, particularly because there were times when things were slow and there wasn't much else to do but banter. Eventually though he started being very explicit about things he would do to me if I didn't have a boyfriend. I stopped participating in the banter and he was wounded, cold, even mean sometimes as a result. The I broke up with my boyfriend.
About a week later he started coming up behind me and pressing me into the counter and whispering sexually explicit things in my ear. I would tell him to stop and he would walk away laughing, saying he knew I liked it. This went on for almost a month. I couldn't afford to quit my job so I was actively looking for a new job. One day I was leaning over the counter, working on some paperwork. I thought I was alone until Ray came up behind me and had his hand up my skirt and a finger inside of me. I tried to get away, but he pushed me face down onto the top of the counter. I could feel his penis between my legs when suddenly he pulled me off the counter and told me to act natural so that the customer heading in the door wouldn't think I was a "dirty bitch who seduces her co-workers."
I managed to avoid him until my boss came in an hour later and I told him what happened. He told me to go home for the day and he would deal with it. I dreaded coming to work the next day because I knew Ray was on the schedule too. But someone else was there when I walked in. I asked him where Ray was. He angrily told me that he had been transferred to another department. I realized that was the job he had applied for twice before, and said as much.
"Yeah, I guess your lies about him actually helped. And as long as no other bitches try to spread vicious rumors about him in the next year, they'll erase your accusations from his personnel file."
What is Simply Sisterhood?
A campaign to end