The War on Women *trigger warning – this story contains graphic violence*

Story by Chrystal (whose rapist was given only a few years in jail for what he did)

I don’t know if you will choose to post this, though I hope you do, even if the contents of this message are graphic. Only a handful of people that are close to me know about this, and please understand it’s very difficult to even type this down but I would like to get my story out there, into the public, to try and help people understand what rape is. There can never be a complete understanding, even when you read something like what I have briefly written down, because to physically and mentally endure such a terrible attack…. it’s beyond imagination. It’s been said in political statements as of late, that rape is just sex, it’s just another means of conception. As a victim myself, I would like to say that all of those statements are false. In 2007, when I was 19, my life was drastically changed. I will never be the person I was, I am forever changed, mentally and physically. I want that girl back, the carefree, spunky, go getter… but it’s hard, and I try every day to push myself further, to heal myself.

I was invited to a friends house, he told me that a group of our friends were getting together. Going there ended up being the largest mistake of my life. So much of myself was left there, with my blood and ripped clothing on his floor. I couldn’t pick it up and get it back. After being there ten minutes, I found out he was lying, no one else was coming. After I turned down his advances and tried to leave, he forcibly tied my hands together, dragged me kicking and screaming into his room where he tied me to his bed and then he tied a pillow case over my head, where he then attacked me for over three hours. I don’t think people can understand how terrifying it is to have your head tied up inside of a pillow case, breathing in your own hot breath, not being able to see, only hearing and feeling the attack, not knowing what he was going to do next or where he was at. I thought I was going to die, I think I wanted to in those hours, and for a long time after that terrible day. I have never known a pain like that day. I didn’t know every single inch of my flesh and insides could hurt like that. He kept telling me that when he was finished with me, I would be dead. He spit on me and called me a bitch so many times and told me it was all my fault.

Apart from sexually assaulting me with his own body parts, he also used a baseball bat, a wine bottle, and scissors. When he was done, he threw me to the floor and began kicking me and beating me. I had two broken ribs, a dislocated jaw, a black eye that was swollen shut, a broken nose, a split lip, and blood came out of one of my ears. Blood was coming from every part of my face, and it covered the pillow case in a sick, dark red that smelled like copper and plastered itself to my skin with my tears. I had a break down afterwards, I cut off a large portion of my hair, I tried taking sleeping pills. How can one person ruin someone else so thoroughly?

I fought back as hard as I could, I used every fiber of my being to try and hurt him, to get away. I had so much to live for, even when I wanted all of that pain to end, I thought of my family and how much I loved them. I scratched him, and bit him through the pillow case. I kicked, I screamed and I know I got a few good punches in.

I would be dead now if his brother hadn’t shown up and saved my life. I had been fighting on my own, but I just wasn’t strong enough. He pulled me out of the house and into his car, where he took me to a friends. At the hospital, it was found that I now have nerve damage in my lady parts, so sex will never be the same. The Republicans have stated that women should have to pay for their rape kits. I didn’t have the funds for one. If I would have had to pay for my own, he never would have been brought up against a court. I was ashamed of what had happened and I didn’t want my family to know. I was never home, I stayed with friends, because I couldn’t admit that someone had broken me so badly. That someone had done that to me. How can someone be full of so much hatred?

Mentally, I’m completely different. I’m terrified to go anywhere alone, because I know what people are capable of. I have problems keeping a job because I have had two nervous breakdowns. Jobs were never a problem before. I was confident, outgoing and so smart. I had already worked with numerous Humanitarian Aid foundations and organizations, including the United Nations, at the age of only 19.

I dream of that attack all of the time. It haunts me. Five years after the attack, he was finally arrested. He got four years in jail. Four years, that’s it. I got a life sentence from that attack, it’s with me every day when I look at my scars. For the rest of my life, I’ll fear him. I’ll have fear of so many things. I’ll always be scared that I will run into him, that he’ll finish what he had started. Once, two years ago, I saw him in the parking lot of a store. I threw up and was unable to drive myself home because I was shaking uncontrollably. The mental damage is so bad, that I can’t even watch scenes in movies where a girl is mistreated or a scene where someone has a sack over their head. He might not have killed me as he intended, but he killed so much of me.

So, in conclusion, I would like to tell Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and all of those other Republicans that no, rape is NOT just sex and a means of conception. We will NOT just “lay back and enjoy it.” It’s an attack, it’s life changing, it takes so many innocent lives away. I’m thankful that they don’t have to look in the mirror and see a scar on their cheek, reminding them of that day. I’m happy that they don’t have to feel their crooked ribs because two were mercilessly broken. This war on women is extremely personal to me, and I want to tell my story, to make people understand. I have thought many times about ending things, to stop the images in my head from that day, but I won’t do that, I won’t let my attacker win. I may be a victim, but I won’t lose myself to this.
I would be dead now if his brother hadn’t shown up and saved my life. I had been fighting on my own, but I just wasn’t strong enough. He pulled me out of the house and into his car, where he took me to a friends. At the hospital, it was found that I now have nerve damage in my lady parts, so sex will never be the same. The Republicans have stated that women should have to pay for their rape kits. I didn’t have the funds for one. If I would have had to pay for my own, he never would have been brought up against a court. If the Republicans had their way; if I had gotten pregnant, my rapist would have had parental rights. I would have had to see him in some way or another for the rest of my life.

I was ashamed of what had happened and I didn’t want my family to know. I was never home, I stayed with friends, because I couldn’t admit that someone had broken me so badly. That someone had done that to me. How can someone be full of so much hatred?

Rape isn’t Funny

Story by Simone

My body has been used as a weapon against me. Every night for the past six years, my mind is still his weapon. Recurring nightmares about my rape haunt me, my guy friends laugh at rape jokes, and my girl friends tolerate them. As a reaction to the rape, my period has become so heavy that I have to take medicine so that I don’t lose too much blood and have to spend more nights in the ER. The man who raped me has suffered no consequences for his acts, and he continues to rape today. The detective wouldn’t take me seriously when I told him that the reason I waited over a year to report the crime was so that I could turn 18, so that my parents would have no way of finding out about it. My great grandmother, great grandfather, and great aunt sexually abused me. My father had no tolerance for my fear of them. The detective had no tolerance for me either. The man who raped me threatened to sue me when I contacted his girlfriends to warn them about him. According to the law, he should be serving 48 years in prison for what he did to me, but he has served none. My therapist told me that my desire to hurt the man who raped me is unhealthy because the consequences of trying to stop him from raping others are too dangerous. I should come to peace with it within my mind, she said. The problem is that nothing about my rapes was peaceful. I fought back, I pleaded, I was choked, my vagina cut open, my limbs held down by a man I trusted in a house I didn’t know, in a city I didn’t know, in a culture that provided no one for me to go to. My first sexual experience was being anally penetrated by a man thirty-five times my age at a family reunion in Torrance. My first teenage sexual experience was spent with my boyfriend’s weight suffocating me, forcing his penis in and out of me, with every thrust my blood spilling onto his couch as warm tears flowed down my burning face; my hands were white from having the circulation cut off in my wrists, and I was left with no physical scars to prove my experience. Spousal rape isn’t illegal here, they told me. Besides, the statute of limitations is two years. Honey, you really need to stop taking your anger out on innocent men. The law hasn’t helped me, social services hasn’t helped me, so all I have left is my community. But for the most part, my community isn’t supportive of victims and survivors of sexual assault, of people like me. A man in my community has raped. A man in my community has raped, and I see him on his bicycle almost every time I leave my house. He rides by in the afternoons and because of that I’m now afraid to go outside. It feels like he’s everywhere at once. He’s come to bean night after being told not to attend anymore. He sits at the coffee collaborative, looking onto the street, taking possession of the space that’s no longer safe for me to attend. I’m scared. I’m scared, and all of you are laughing about rape. So please, go ahead and tell me again to calm down. Tell me I’m overreacting. Tell me rape is funny. I fucking dare you.

Speaking Out.

My name is Abigail. I am 31. I am a white, cisgendered, female, bisexual, college graduate. I am married. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats, and a rosebush at the corner of the deck of my rented house. I enjoy reading, knitting, and helping my husband with his latest crochet project [among other things]. I am disabled due to bipolar 2 disorder and fibromyalgia. I also have disability-level PTSD due to being sexually molested at 5 and at 16 by two different men, one of whom was my stepfather. I didn’t remember the sexual abuse for a long time – until I was 29. By then, I was separated from my emotionally neglectful first husband and was in an emotionally abusive polyamorous relationship with a man and another woman. When the poly relationship ended, I tried to kill myself – my third and most serious attempt in 5 years. I am now waiting to receive SSI benefits, because I cannot work out in the ‘regular’ world anymore.
If you met me, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell right away that I’m disabled. I don’t ‘look’ disabled – at least, that’s what many people have told me when I have disclosed to them the reality of my day-today life. And when I start to tell people about my childhood, I have to stop sometimes and laugh, because it sounds so unreal, so Jerry Springer-esque, even to me, at times. But it’s all true. I was forced to perform oral sex on an adult man when I was in kindergarten. I did have a gun held to my chin when I was being raped at 16. I did have to watch my stepfather throw my mom around like a ragdoll when I was a junior in high school, while I was simultaneously earning a place on the honor roll and acting as vice-president of the Latin Club and holding down a part-time job at the local gas station. I did weigh 115 pounds at that time, at a height of almost 5’7”, because I was throwing up almost every day and could barely keep anything of nutritive value in my stomach.
I don’t tell many people about my childhood. Like many survivors, I have a really hard time trusting anyone. And, well, I don’t look like what most people consider to be a domestic violence victim. I’m well-spoken. I’m happily married. My only scars are from self-inflicted injuries [and you have to look pretty close to see even those]. But I am a survivor. And finally, I am proud of myself for the woman I have become, and am still becoming.
If you’re reading this, and you’re a survivor, I am proud of you, too. All of we who have survived this crap that the wider world so clinically calls ‘domestic violence’ are amazing, and beautiful, and wonderful. Whoever and wherever you are, I am giving you the biggest high-five there is. And if you are reading this and you are being abused and haven’t been able to get out of it yet, I am sending you my love and my encouragement. No one deserves to be treated like garbage – it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or how you got into the situation. You are worthy of love, and respect, and to be treated well. You can get out of it and get through it. I believe in you.
Thank you for reading.

From Victim to Survivor

Story by Anonymous

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I grew up in a lovely home, went to a lovely private girls school and lived in a beautiful, peaceful area of Australia. I had a boyfriend when I was 17 and we went out for six months. Sex with him had been pretty boring for me, but I ever felt pressured or uncomfortable (except that I was never really physically interested in it).
After we broke up, I was out one night with friends and bumped into a friend I knew. He was with a friend of his. I was 18 and they were about 22. The friend if his and I were getting along and flirting a little bit and he asked if I’d like to go back to his place. The conversation with him was fun so I said yes. We got back to his house and he started kissing me and took me to the bedroom. I was completely shocked and realised that if you said yes to going back to a boy’s house, it meant you were agreeing to sleep with him. I had had no idea he would think that and immediately thought that I couldn’t say no because it had been my fault for going there with him. I just froze and lay there while he had sex with me over and over again. Because I was completely dry, it was incredibly painful. Eventually he fell asleep.
When I woke up in the morning, I could barely walk as I was in so much pain and I was so swollen and bruised and sore that I called in sick to work.
He barely spoke to me and when his flatmate came in, he said he couldn’t remember my name. I felt so sad, so rejected, so used, so ashamed, so confused and my lovely life just shattered.

A couple of months later, I had just finished school and I became friends with a group of boys who were about 21. There were about five of them, and they didn’t work, just hung out at the house all day, taking drugs and partying. Being a sweet little innocent girl I was, I thought hanging with them was very cool and exciting. We would chill out and take drugs together. There were a few times that they would all take me to the bedroom and try to get me to take my clothes off and touch myself for them but I always laughed it off, feeling uncomfortable, but also feeling like as a girl, I was supposed to be flattered by this kind of attention.
I had a crush on one of the boys in the group, and I really wanted him to like me. One night he took me into his room and had sex with me, and I let him as I thought it must mean that he would then be my boyfriend. The next day he wouldn’t talk to me and ignored me after that. I was very confused and felt very sad and used.
A day or so later, a van arrive at the house with three guys in it who were their friends. My friends said I had to get in the van to meet them. I got in, was chatting with them and then they said they wanted to have sex with me, there in the van. I laughed and said no and got out of the van, thinking it was a joke.
A few days leter, I woke up back in my bed at my parents house, without remembering going home, and had sores all over and around my vagina. I didn’t know what it was and assuming it was something I had caught from having sex with the boy, I went to the clinic. I got tested for every STD and HIV and the results were all clear, and eventually the sores went away.
I went round to the house to see them that afternoon after going to the clinic, and I went to the house and there was no one in it, although all the doors were open. I went back to the front of the house, got in my car to drive away and realised that all my tyres had been let down. It could only have been them and they had obviously hid from me when I arrived.
I drove home and never saw them again.

Two years later, I was chatting with my Mum and that time in my life came up in the conversation. She mentioned something about how she had had to come and pick me up from a house and take me home. I had no idea what she was referring to so I asked her for more information.
She told me that a boy called her and just said that “her daughter”, without using my name, was very sick and could she come to pick me up. He gave her the address and she explained where the house was. I have never knowingly been to a house in this area, or know of anyone who lives in this area, and is quite far from the house where I used to hang out with the boys I knew. My mum said the house was filthy, and I was lying passed out on a filthy mattress on the floor and that she didn’t recognise the boys there. I couldn’t walk, she carried me to the car and took me home where I slept for two days.
I listened to my Mum tell me this and felt extremely sick. I am certain those boys drugged me, took me there and raped me.
I didn’t ask her for more details and have never mentioned it with her since. I also have no idea why my Mum didn’t make sure I was ok or ask what had happened.

Immediately after this friendship with these boys ended, I began to date another boy. I was in a relationship with him for five years where almost every sexual experience was rape. I didn’t know that then, I only knew that I was depressed, sad, felt controlled by him and lost all my self esteem. He would say I had put on weight, tell me not to wear make-up, not let me talk to anyone or go out with anyone except him or his friends, make me sit and wait for him for hours while he did things he wanted to do or talked with his friends. I had no one…I didnt talk to my family because he told me they were bad for me and made it very difficult with them. He pursuaded me to lose contact with all my friends.
Luckily I eventually left him as I knew that if I stayed with him I would be desperately miserable my whole life. It took me six months of trying to leave him before I snuck out one night and never went back. He was stalking me, calling me and my friends and turning up at my house for the next six months.
Only now that I am reading all about rape do I know that sex with him was rape. I used to tell him I had things to do on the computer late at night and sit there hoping he would go to sleep before I came to bed. He took naked pictures of me and he promised me he had deleted them after I begged him to, but then I found them on his computer. It was a desperately unhappy time.

I then had other relationships with men where they pressured me to have sex with them and I reluctantly let them as I just didn’t have the strength to keep resisting, and I didn’t realise that I could say no, and that forcing someone to have sex with them is not love at all. Often they were controlling, very jealous and said they found me sexy, but then got angry with me for being “sexy”. One time I had a party at my house, with my girlfriends and I got very very drunk. All my friends left and as they were leaving, a guy who I had met a couple of times turned up. I was so drunk I just vaguely remembered him turning up. By that stage I had fallen asleep in the back garden. I woke up in the morning to find him there naked in my bed next to me, with a used condom on the floor. I didn’t even know then that I had been raped until recently when I started looking into it all. All I knew in these situations was that I felt really uncomfortable but didn’t know why.

I am now 31 years old and am finally dealing with the repressed feelings of shame and sadness from all these years and experiences. This happened after a few random sexual harassment incidences here in Paris, where I now live. One night I was going home and a guy tried to talk to me on the train station. Without me knowing, he then followed me all the way home to my front gate where I realised he was there. I was terrified. I yelled and called for help and tried to run away but he kept chasing me and I couldn’t escape. He then pulled his pants down in front of me, which gave me enough time to run to my front gate, put in the code and get inside. He was pushing from the outside, I was pushing from the insde and I managed to close the gate and escape.
Then, a year late, after moving house to feel safer, I went out early in the morning to go to work and a man in a car was waiting outside my door. As I started walking, he started his car, followed me and then drove up on the footpath to block my way. Luckily I am now almost always in a state of almost paranoid hyper-awareness and ran before he could get me. He continued to chase me and try to drive up and block my path but I managed to get away. I have never been more terrified inm y life and went into shock very badly.
A month later I had to go out at the same time so I got my girlfriend to walk with me as I was so scared. He was there waiting for me and started his car and got ready to chase me. We got his number plate and ran the other way. The police got a statement from him and I havent seen him since, but I have also moved house again so he cannot find me.
The night after that happened I went to a club with my friends and someone spiked my drink. I collapsed and spent the night in emergency after being taken away in an ambulance.
There are other incidences that have happened to me, but these are the main ones that are always running through my head.

I am on anti-depressents, am seeing a therapist and trying to deal with all this as best as I can but my life is affected every minute of every day. I cannot go anywhere alone, and feel angry at my lack of freedom and autonomy.
I only just realised the other day with my therapist that I had not been feeling angry at all these men, because I had been feeling sad for my own lack of awareness, and for my own naivety and innocence. I am working on forgiving myself for those things, which are never a bad thing. It is hard to give up that feeling of being upset with myself for “putting myself in those situations”, and see it for what it is which is that they did those things and they are the ones that shouldn’t have.
I find it difficult to trust any straight men, and have no straight male friends. I realised that I have never been physically attracted to men but continued to allow them to pursuade me to go out with them and let them have sex with them even though I got no enjoyment from it.
When I met my girlfriend and finally joyfully and consentually  made love with her, I realised how amazing, intimate and wonderful sex can be. I feel safe with her and trust her and I feel genuinely loved and respected. I am in a relationship with a beautiful and gorgeous woman who is being so supportive as I go this journey of trying to find peace. I hope one day I can.

My Experience Does Not Define Me

Story By Anonymous

I grew up in an amazing home, with a family who always supported me. However, I always had extreme anxiety and had a hard time socially. At the end of elementary school, I thought maybe Junior High would be my chance to be deemed as cool. Soon, I found myself getting depressed. I developed eating disorders, and I didn’t really feel like any of my “popular” friends understood me.
Then I met a guy. He was quiet, and sweet. We could relate to each other. We were both lonely and we both felt misunderstood. Pretty soon, he asked me to be his girlfriend. We were both happy in the beginning, and really shy!
He began gaining more friends because of us being together. He started hanging out with my friends more. He started being more confident, and loud. After about a month of being together, I was over at his house. We were laying on his bed, and his hands started sliding up my shirt. No one had ever touched me like this before. I didn’t know what to do. I froze. I didn’t say anything as he kept trying to take off my bra. I left his house feeling miserable. I didn’t know what this meant, I didn’t know what had just happened.
The next week, I told a friend at school about the way he was touching me, in hope of receiving advice. Word got back to my boyfriend, and he tried to hang himself on a tree. I felt awful and he told me that our relationship was NONE of anyone else’s business and I wasn’t to tell anyone what went on between us. I apologized and agreed not to tell anyone anything about our relationship.
Now, things started getting a little more complicated. We were around each other every single day, I thought I was in love. After a few months, he started trying to put his hand down my pants. I wouldn’t say anything, but I would move his hand away from my Vagina and up towards my stomach. Over and over again he tried to touch me, but I would’t allow it. None if this was verbal. I felt to guilty to actually say the words “No” or “Stop”. I thought this was what boyfriends and girlfriends did.
He asked me when I would be ready for him to touch me there, and I told him I didn’t know, maybe a month or two. I was afraid of getting dumped, so I told him that in the hopes that maybe I WOULD be ready by that time. The very next day I was at his house, on his bed, the same thing. He put his hand down my pants, all of a sudden. I had no words. I froze. No one had other touched me there before. Afterwards he asked me if it was okay, what he had done. I replied with something along the lines of “I guess so..”. He told me that now he had done it once, he could do it whenever he wanted to.
I couldn’t even really process what was going on, let alone tell anyone. In my mind, it was okay. Everyone thought we were in a happy relationship and everything going on was consensual.
The longer we were together, the more he changed. He started making lots of friends, having tantrums when he didn’t get his way, and demanding everyone what to do, even his own family. Sometimes he would scream at me, and his mother would tell me I should probably leave, because he was “acting out”.
He began to physically intimidate me, putting his hands on me in ways that felt threatening. He began telling me I was annoying, and I needed to “shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down”. Sometimes I would start crying and he would just ignore me, walk away.
Things started getting worse. He told me he liked seeing me hookup with other people. He would force me. He made me make out with nearly all of his friends, and show them my breasts. His friends would hangout with me, but constantly “compliment me”, but they really just said sexual comments about my body. He would tell met to hookup with them and then accuse me of being a “cheating slut” when I did.
He would constantly talk about girls he found hot, and compare me to them. He told me he wanted to fuck my friends, and that they and nicer bodies then i did. He started ignoring my calls, making me sit around all day, waiting until he was done with his friends, until he would finally tell me I could come over.
He started telling me I was ugly, and a whore. He made jokes about me being fat when I ate a lot, even though he knew eating was something I struggled with. Then, he forced me to make out with a girl. He video taped it. He thought it was hot and he wanted to keep it to watch. I did it. I enjoyed it. Both of us begged for him to delete the video, but he wouldn’t. Pretty soon all of his friends had seen it.
When his parents weren’t home, he would get mad. REALLY mad. Because I didn’t want to do anything sexual. He would lay on top of me, with his hands on me so I couldn’t move, and masturbate in front of me. He would look into my eyes and say sexual things. I layed and watched, unable to get up or do anything about it. Sometimes he would call me a stupid whore, and jizz on my face. He would tell me that he could do better then to be with me. I believed him.
Sometimes he would have me take my shirt off, and take pictures of me. He would send them to other people, without my permission.
He started talking about his ex girlfriend, a lot. He said he was in love with her and that if I didn’t suck his cock he would get back together with her, and ignore me. Since I was with him all the time, I basically had NO friends anymore. He was everything I had. I agreed to it, but he tried to shove his cock down my throat when I was least expecting it, and I gagged. I told him I would never do that again.
I began to get more and more lost and confused as time went on. When I saw his penis, I didn’t get turned on by it, I wanted one. He would make fun of me and talk about how amazing it was to have a cock, and I had no one to support me with my gender dysphoria. I also realized that I had an attraction to girls. He told me I wasn’t really into girls, and I believed him.
Sometimes when I was asleep he would put my hand in his pants. Or he would grab my hand, and force me to give him a hand job.
He began making out with boys, and telling me he had been showering with his friends. I didn’t mind it, but at that point I had no idea what our relationship had become. We had become so close I ended up going on vacation with his family.
On that vacation, the shower would only stay warm for so long, so we were supposed to shower together in our bathing suits. One day, he said we were going in the shower, but when I walked into the bathroom, he was completely naked. He had a boner. He had that look in his eye and I was afraid. I didn’t want to have sex with him. He told me to get in the shower, but I refused. I sat in the corner of the bathroom wondering what I should do. Eventually after he kept telling me to get in, I did. He wanted to take off my bikini top, so I allowed it. At that time my hair was long enough to cover my breasts. He kept persisting that I take off my bottoms as well, but I would’t do it. He kept getting closer to me, and I kissed him but put my hands on his shoulders, not allowing him to come any closer to me.
In the hotel, sometimes I would wake up and he would be sleeping next to me. On that vacation, he also banned me from wearing makeup. From that point on, If i ever wore makeup, he would literally wipe it off my face. If i was wearing mascara, he would pick it off of my eyelashes. He told me I looked ugly.
One day we were on a raft in a river. He hit me in the mouth with a paddle, making my mouth bleed. He refused to apologize for it.
His little sister would always call me a whore, and in all of his friends eyes I was just a sex object open to any of them.
Once we were back from vacation, he forced me to buy condoms for him. I told him over and over again I didn’t want to have sex, but he made me buy them. He then told all of his friends that we were going to fuck, and that he had done everything with me except intercourse. This wasn’t true.
He started policing what I could wear, what pictures I could post online, and who I could hangout with. He said I had to straighten my hair because when I didn’t, I looked ugly.
Whenever I would try to appreciate my body, he would tell me I was wrong, and that it was ugly.
He threatened me into sending him nude photos, which EVERYONE ended up seeing. Sometimes I would take the photos, but not send them to him because I didn’t want to. One day he took my phone and saw some photos I had taken. He told me they weren’t hot, but gross. But of course, once again, it was a “joke”. He sent them to himself, even though I told him not to. I deleted them off of his phone, but he already had them sent to his e-mail.
He always told me that if I ever broke up with him, he would kill himself. He said he would post the pictures of me online. Sometimes he would break up with me, but the next day he would tell me we were back together.
Sometimes I would try to have a talk with him, and let him know I didn’t want to have a physical relationship. He would tell me that he couldn’t be with me unless it was sexual. I didn’t argue with this, but he wouldn’t break up with me, so we’d stay together.
He would make fun of my body, telling me I was to big or to small, or my boobs were weird, my butt was to big. I became extremely self conscious, not that I wasn’t to begin with.
He would embarrass me in front of his friends, ripping off my button-up shirt and running away with it, so I was stuck in only my bra. He would do this in public, and there was nothing I could do about it.
He would talk about me to his friends, telling them I was an ugly whore, and spreading rumors about me.
Pretty soon I wasn’t allowed to go places unless he was there to watch me. He always suspected I was cheating or doing something wrong.
I became depressed, and lost all of my self esteem. I almost felt like there was no point to life. Eventually I broke up with him, because I knew if I stayed, I would end up killing myself.
He called me nonstop for days, guilt tripping me with messages and blaming me for “ruining his life.”  I told a few friends some vague details about my relationship with him, and word spread. Pretty soon he told me that I was a crazy liar and that I was the one that came onto him and he never did anything to me.
It got bad. I thought all that happened was my fault. I felt totally worthless. A year later, I attempted suicide.
I lived through it, and he was still my friend. In fact, i considered him my best friend. I apologized to him for what I had done wrong and we talked constantly. We would hangout, as friends, but he would pin me down on his bed and try to kiss me.
Eventually we stopped talking, and it took a while for me to realize what had actually happened. I was never angry. I never blamed him. I cried, suffered, and blamed myself for “putting myself in that situation”.
Then, i found out he was sent to a therapeutic boarding school. He wrote me a letter. He said that we are BOTH victims. He didn’t really apologize, and I don’t know if he ever will. Sometimes I do believe I’m crazy, and that I made the whole thing up in my head. It haunts me every single day.
I can barely think about it without crying. I cry every night, wondering why this had to happen me. And years later, it has caught up with me. Im angry. Im fucking angry that I got treated that way. Im angry that I blamed myself and many people like me do to! Im angry that it fucked my life over, and I have no idea how to fix it! I am angry!!
I can’t build relationships with anyone, and due to PTSD I have not been sexually active. I have to many feelings of shame and guilt. He made me feel so wrong and dirty and disgusting that now i just.. cant. None of my partners have understood, and my PTSD and anxiety have torn about every relationship.
I guess there will never be answers to all of the questions I have, and I feel like part of me will always blame myself. This is a process. I’m hurting every day. But I’m healing every day, and every day is one step closer to recovering. Its just so frustrating sometimes, I want it to be over! I wish it never happened, I don’t want to deal with it anymore!
The flashbacks, the tears, all of it. I’m so tired of fighting this battle, especially alone. Tired of people telling me to “get over it”. Tired of seeing people sexually active. Tired of crying myself to asleep. I’m just fucking tired.
What happened with him definitely changed my life. I still have gender dysphoria and I am uncertain about my sexual orientation.
What I learned from this is, there aren’t always answers. Life isn’t black and white. But this process is about growing and changing and learning. I am a survivor. I will be okay. My experience does not define me. I will learn to love the fabric of my soul, my body, once again. I will learn to put trust in somebody once again. I will learn to enjoy and explore my sexuality freely, once again. But the memories will always stay.

The Corporal.

Story by Ellen Mull

So, I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll just start a month before my ‘incident.’ I’m enlisted in the greatest fighting force in the United States, the Marine Corps.

I had just finished Marine Combat Training (MCT) and I was going to the school house for training in my MOS (military occupational specialty). I was on top of the world, felt like I could do anything. As a female Marine, its already empowering enough. Not many people in general can say that they could ever think of doing what I’ve done.

My school was only two months of training. I was halfway done with the first month when my (ex) best friend, Jason, texted me asking for me to come over to his barracks and hang out. Yes, he’s a Marine. I didn’t think anything of it, because we’ve been friends since 7th grade, so I took a cab and went over.

He was getting ready to deploy, and he was excited. More excited than a fat kid in the bakery with a couple hundred dollars to spend. He showed me all of his cool gear, his Ka-bar, some weird underwater notepad, etc.

Now, I won’t get into many personal details about this upcoming part.

I sat on his bed and we talked for a little bit. All of a sudden, he kisses me out of nowhere. He was a terrible kisser, he was blocking my nose so I couldn’t breathe. I pushed him off of me and told him no. He was persistent. He kept kissing me and started rubbing me. I told him I didn’t wanna have sex because we weren’t together. He then replied with, ‘we can be now.’ I told him no, he just wanted the sex. He then started kissing me harder and put me on my back and held down my wrists.

Yada yada yada, he assaulted me. I hate the word rape, but that’s what he did. I was silent the entire time. I’m not sure if I was in shock or what, but I couldn’t move at all during his work. I couldn’t find the muscles to fight or the words to scream.

He got off and got dressed. I did the same. I grabbed my phone and walked outside and called my friend Nick to come get me. I sat outside and smoked a cigarette and looked at the lake outside Jason’s barracks. He came out and sat next to me and started talking to me like it was no big deal.

Nick finally showed up and stared Jason down, he instantly knew what happened, but he didn’t get out of the car. I got in the car and didn’t say a word. Nick tried his best to start a conversation but I just wasn’t in it. I tried to deny the incident.

On the way home, Jason texted me non stop. Telling me that I should get plan B, trying to talk to me, etc. I never responded, except to the plan B text, asking if he was gonna go half on it. He said no. Luckily, my body said no to having a baby, I was on birth control. (by the way, shout out to President Obama for having those options available and FUCK YOU to everyone trying to close that option for women going through that situation. I personally like to be able to control my women parts.)

I still remember to this day what I was wearing. Skinny blue jeans, my Bob Marley shirt and my black chucks. Believe me, I didn’t remember for the longest time. I’m not sure how I remember and why.

Well, after I got back to my barracks, I instantly took a shower. Thankfully, my roommates weren’t home. I sat in the shower for a good hour just spaced out, trying to avoid what happened earlier on in the day.

I got out of the shower, got dressed, put my clothes in the wash and went to bed.

For weeks, I tried to forget or deny what happened. I tried so hard to convince myself that I wanted it, but it didn’t work. I started falling behind in school, I graduated last in the class. I went to school tipsy, drank some more during chow, drank heavily after I got off and took some advil PM and passed out. That eventually stopped working and I started cutting myself. Not to die, but to replace the emotional pain with physical pain. I personally think that’s why most people cut themselves.

I was pretty good at hiding my cuts. (we were sleeves up at that point.) Three weeks later (I was 3 weeks away frm graduating at this point), someone caught me. I was drunk as a 120 pound girl could be and cutting myself in the bathroom. They took the knife away and hugged me until I stopped crying. They promised me that they’d help me get help. So the next day, we went up to my class commaner and I asked to see the chaplain. He said he’d set up an appointment. He never came back to me with an appointment day. I went back a couple days later with the same question and he came back with the same response. So I gave up. I lived with my pain and misery for 7 months until I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to my UVA (uniformed victims advocate) and asked to take an STD test. He immediately became concered and took me to medical. He didn’t ask a question, he never judged. He’s honestly the best Marine anyone could ever ask for. Non judgemental, will wake up to your drunken depressed calls, gives you some time off from work when you need it, etc. (I took a couple sleeping pills before coming to work one day and I couldn’t stay awake. He knew. So he sent me home until after chow.

Thankfully, I was clean. But that didn’t stop the rumors.

Marines in my office saw me leave with him (I forgot to mention he’s a Leiutenant, and enlisted-officer interactions are strictly forbidden) and I got in his car. That was the day I took my STD test. He dropped me off at medical and my friend picked me up.

When I got back to the office, I went to the LT’s desk and quietly told him what medical told me. They told me I was high-risk for HPV. High-risk is not the same thing as actually having it. It’s exactly as it sounds.

Unfortunately for me, someone must have overheard me and spread the rumor that I actually had it. No one would talk to me, no one would go out or hang out with me. I was all alone. People called me every name in the book. Slut, skank, hoe, etc. It was hard to have a boyfriend at that point.

These rumors eventually got worse, and never went away. They still go on to this day. My test was two years ago. Every time I get close to a guy, they hear about the rumor and ask me. Every time they ask me, I start bawling my eyes out and want to punch them in the balls. I actually did once. Someone mentioned it to me a week ago, and I slapped them and walked away. With all the counseling I’ve gone to the past couple years and all the hard work I’ve done trying to heal those scars, those rumors just rip the scabs off and they put salt and lemon juice in them.

When I finally decided to report my case to the police and NCIS, it was too late. When I say too late, I mean physical evidence. That’s the only thing to slam any service member with if there were no witnesses. Once I gave my word, it was up to Jason’s command to charge him. Because I was silent for so long, I lost the case against him. He’s still enlisted in the Marine Corps, still getting promoted, no brig time, nothing.

I’ve had an AMAZING support system the past 7 months. Gunny Locke, Staff Sergeant Saylor, and my closest friends, Mary, Chelsi, Destany, Nick, and my boyfriend who has put up with me through all my ups and downs, Michael. I’m not sure how or why he’s still with me, but he does.

Why am I sharing all of this with complete strangers? Because I truly regret being voiceless. If I had gone to the hospital when it first happened, maybe he’d be discharged. But I can’t keep having “what if” moments, that just brings me back a couple steps. All I can do is move forward, keep my head up, and stay strong with my amazing group of friends and my support system.

I’m now being promoted to a Corporal, I’m the best at my job, and life is looking up. I’m going to re-enlist, buy a new car, a new bike, and move to California. Unfortunately, not with Michael, but hey, that’s life

To all the victims out there, I hope I gave you a little strength about having a voice, because I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through.

PS. I hope I didn’t give anyone a bad taste in their mouth about service members, there are A LOT more good Marines than bad ones.