Read the inspiring and powerful stories of survivors of sexual violence. You can submit your own using the form at the bottom of this page

relationship abuse survivor story

22 Years Old in Hays, KS | #WeShatterSilence

I was 17 when I met him. I was still in high school and he was the cool, older college man. Everything was new and fun and when he told me that I should always wear my hair that way I thought that he liked it, not that he literally wanted me to always wear my hair like that. The abuse started slowly but crept in. I was stripped of everything that was me. I couldn’t eat onions because he had conviced me that I didn’t like them. I mean, how do you forget that you like a food? The abuse got more and more physical. He made everyhing my fault, like it was my fault for burning the supper that I got tossed against the wall. I was so panicked when he would hold me down on the bed with the covers on my face, I still feel like i’m suffocating if there are covers on my face. After being with him over a year, I finally broke free of his abuse. My wonderful sisters and parents came and never said “i told you so” The abuse didnt’ stop with me moving out. He did a lot of emotional damage. I had to find myself again. Make sure I was doing things because I enjoyed them, not becuase it was the way I was supposed to act when I was with him. It has been 5 years and I still have memories of some of the events that I had forgotten that come back to me. Then, I cry or break out in hives. I’m still surviving day after day. We are all survivors. Audre Lorde once said “Your silence will not protect you.” and she is correct. Now is the time to shatter the silence!

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sexual assault survivor story 10

40 Years Old In Cooper City, FL | #WeShatterSilence

I feel like a sexual assault magnet! I was 8 when my step father first molested me, he always smelled of booze, he continued to molest me until I was 11. At 12, a park worker took me into his office and exposed himself to me. He wanted me to touch him but I ran out.When I was 13, I was jumped by 5 boys at a park. They were all on top of me at once grabbing me, sticking their tongues in my moth and their hands down my pants. At 15, my stepfather was back for a visit, he had his hands all over me and tried to rape me. When I was 20, I was raped, beaten and choked for 3 hours by a stranger. He was never caught. I am STILL scared at night! I am 40 now and have told less than a handful of people about my experiences. Thank you for letting me share.

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domestic abuse survivor story

20 Years Old in Bellingham, MA | #WeShatterSilence

When I was a little girl I thought violence was normal. It was not uncommon for my father to come home screaming, whip off the belt, smack us with his hands and fists, throw us against walls, forcefeed us, stuff our mouths with tabasco sauce, lock us in rooms and other such inhuman treatment…but this was life, this was normal. My entire neighborhood knew what was going on, the weird part is some people liked my father more than the rest of us. It took almost a decade of this treatment before my mother was able to leave. It was hard, we had to hide and leave everything. We dealt with him stalking us, restraining orders and the disappearance of our entire way of life. But my mother was strong, she fought and fought and fought. He did find us but my mother was always quick to inform police and gather evidence. My mom was unrelenting in court. She got us our house back and my father was forbidden from ever seeing us again. Me and my siblings all suffer from anxiety and PTSD as well as the emotional loss of a father and confusion as to why this happened to us. But all of us are in college now, my mother just finished law school and we are alive. WE ARE ALIVE! And if she had not been strong we might be dead, we would be alot worse off and we would not have the amazing chances we have now. I’ll never forgot the silence of my neighborhood, and when I pass by the “Garden of Rememberance” for domestic violence victims in my town I am angry and hurt at the way we were put out of site and out of mind. I think about how many other children whose moms could not get to where my mom finally got, and all i can hope and beg for is that if you know someone is being abused you inform the proper authorities because by being silent you only help their abuser.

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sexual assault survivor story

51 Years Old in Pelham, NH | #WeShatterSilence

I was sexually assaulted as a young child and had no memories of it until my daughter was sexually assaulted at college in her freshman yr. A week after she came home I started feeling funny and my deceased father was lingering over my shoulder. I was starting to panic and called my sister and together we knew he had abused us as children. I went to counseling and I will not let him take away all I have today. I am happily married (31 yrs) have two healty children, and one deceased at age 21. I have worked so hard in getting myself back to reality since my sons death,that I refuse to let my past haunt me forever. I have accepted it and will move on and hope that someday my daughter can do the same. This needs to stop on college campuses!!!

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sexual abuse survivor story 1 (1)

38 years old in Hopewell Junction, NY | #WeShatterSilence

I was in 2nd grade when I was sexually abused by my neighbors son. He was 15 to 16 at the time and I was 7. I looked up to him as a role model. He taught me how to throw a baseball and gave me my first glove. He fondled me and forced me to perform oral sex. I blocked it out for 10 years and I have been haunted by it ever since I started to remember what happened. I have children of my own now and I am very overprotective of them. I know where Tino(the guy who abused me)lives, I know his phone # and I want justice. But I have no source to turn to for help. I dont know how you could ever harm a child. Every spring the feeling of anger and helplessness consumes me as I see my children playing in the yard.

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rape survivor story 9

30 years old in Spring Lake, MI | #WeShatterSilence

2006

Flying to San Francisco, I arrived late to my hotel the weekend before the bombing of the WTC and asked my concierge at the Hilton to find me a restaurant where I would feel safe. I wanted it to have fantastic food, not have it be dead or empty, and not have it be a meat market. The female concierge said, “Oh! I know of a perfect place. I know the owner and the maitre’d; they will take care of you.” So she called {a restaurant} to make me a late reservation. ‘She was right, he took care of me. The maitre’d even sat down with me and struck up conversations, so I was not alone, which I thought was a little unusual, but I was fine with it because the place was full and I was eating alone. By the end of the dinner, I remember him saying “This is too easy, I feel guilty.” Soon after, I could barely support myself up (if not at all) for the rest of the evening and was sick for four few more days. He basically took me to his apartment and raped me, (I didn’t exactly resist because I couldn’t even hold my head up). The next morning he brought me back to my hotel in his shiny (maybe newer) SUV. I felt dirty and ashamed that I let this happen. I never reported it because I was in a lawsuit over someone killing my husband (in a crash) a year earlier. If the other attorneys found out, they would have thrown it in my face & publicized it (I didn’t want my mother to know). ..I had told my attorney (female) and my sister. They both told me that I was drugged. I’ve never, at the age of 30, had anything like this happen to me before. I couldn’t believe it. …so I learned quickly, not to even trust the staff at restaurants & bars (which makes it very scary that we can’t even trust them).

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rape survivor story 8

15 years old in Milwaukee

2006

Let me just say that i was raped by my stepfather as well and now im not only scared 4 life im terrified to walk out my front door,to walk to a friends house, and even to let my boyfriend kiss me.i found TBTN in a magazine,went to the website and found out that i am not alone. when i sleep all i think about is those bad times,but then i come to the website and all the bad times seem to fade a little. So i just want to say.. THANK YOU TAKE BACK THE NIGHT websit U LET ME SEE THAT I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS FIGHT. AND TO ALL U OTHERS OUT THERE U ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR FIGHT!

Are You A Sexual Violence or Abuse Victim and Need FREE Legal Help? Click to Apply!

sexual abuse survivor story 1

19 years old in Bellingham, WA

2006

When I was young, in third or fourth grade, I went to the doctor. I honestly can’t remember if the doctor was a man or a woman, but I remember that (s)he sexual abused me. My parents were not in the room for some reason. I don’t remember the extent of what happened, only the beginning of it. Somehow, I think it was a female doctor, but again, I’m not sure. Aside from this, I’ve told one person. When I was 15 or 16 I was sexually abused by my dad, he didn’t rape me, and it only happened once. I never told anyone but a few close friends. Never my best friend, she’d have taken action. I have an OK relationship with my dad now, I see it pains him to remember it whenever we’re around each other. A few months ago I took my girlfriend to see her friends and family in her hometown, and one of her friends got her high and tried to rape her. He molested her and by the time I got to where they were I could see that she was terrified. It was pretty terrifying for me as well, getting her out of there. Telling him no and pulling her away from him. She was so high she could barely function. She made the decision to do drugs, but she never made the decision to be a sex toy. There was another girl there, and after I took my girlfriend away from the situation and got her sobered up, we went back for her. I wish we’d gotten there sooner, but we managed to get her out too. It was the worst of three similar instances. It was discouraging to me because I felt that if I had been a guy, or it had been a boyfriend there instead of her girlfriend, those guys would have been hesitant to try anything. We’re just friends now for other reasons, but I know she still thinks what happened was her fault. It wasn’t and I’ve told her so. She made a bad decision by getting high, but she didn’t deserve what happened to her. It still scares me whenever I date that I won’t be able to protect my girlfriend or myself because I’m a woman.

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rape survivor story 7

53 years old in Cincinnati, OH

2006

Hello. I am the mother of a now 15 almost 16 year old daughter. She was raped at age 14 by a 19 year old male. Before the rape over a year ago- he almost killed her 2 times by giving her 150 proof alcohol. He also gave her her first taste of marijuana. I am writing this now because I just heard from the prosecutor’s office that the verdict is NOT GUILTY. You see,we have gone through so much and have waited a long to hear the bad news. The bastard who did this to her is not guilty according to the law of the land and free to go out and do this again and worse. When I entered the country I am from just now- I was ashamed to enter USA. I am 53 years old, and had never been to a court trial or hearing before. And,especially, never a witness for my baby daughter. And now, instead of a court system that I had previously had faith in, my daughter and I and my family have been re-victimized and re-raped by this very court system. The charge of rape had been reduced by the grand jury to indecent conduct with a minor. This decision had disturbed and confused me at that time of the decision. But, you know, I never stopped hoping and expecting that there would be justice in the end. And, now I was proven wrong. I don’t know how to tell my beautiful, brave daughter that the court did not decide in her favor. I won’t tell her how angry I am and how it feels like “justice” spit in our faces. I now believe that if I and my family was rich and/or had power in this stinking county that the trial was held in, I would not be writing about my disappoint now. I am bitter and mad and feel totally powerless to do anything else about it. My advise to any and all who might be wondering if they should remain silent is that silence only gives the bastards more power and makes them laugh at us. He will be laughting at us when he hears the verdict. But, in the back of his mind, he will always know the truth and know how brave my daughter is for standing up for her rights. He forever scarred my daughter by taking away her innocence. But, I do know he will ultimately be punished by God-the higher power than this fool of a judge, grand jury members, and prosecutor. To all of you who failed us- I am so glad we are able to rise above you. My daughter will be OK in spite of you. My daughter will be rewarded for all the s__t she has gone through by a joke of a legal system I no longer have faith in. Thank you for listening out there. And, God Bless you all who have been wronged by ones we had trusted and who should have done something about all the pain instead of causing us more pain.

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rape survivor story 6

25 years old from Atlanta, GA

2006

Two years ago I was raped by someone I thought was my friend in my own apartment. When people ask me why didn’t I report him to the authorities, I really don’t know what to tell them. I guess it’s because there was a part of me that blamed myself for what happened. I was the one who let him come by late that night. For days my apartment reeked of his cologne. The smell would turn my stomach every time I entered my home. He had violated my body and my personal space. I lived in fear for months wondering if I would come home from work one day and he’d be at my apartment. Thanks to my family and friends I feel more open to speak up about what happened to me and I no longer blame myself for what happened. It saddens me that sexual assault is such an epidemic and that it is a crime that is treated so lightly by many people. I hope that there will be a turning of the tide before long.

Are You A Sexual Violence or Abuse Victim and Need FREE Legal Help? Click to Apply!