Many victims and survivors of sexual assault feel that sharing their story, or even just portions of their story, has empowered them and has been a key part of their healing and activism.
The following stories were shared by survivors of sexual assault at Colorado State University. The rawness and vulnerability in these narratives speak to the courage of survivors on our campus, and beyond. May these words encourage all of us to remain steadfast in the fight to end sexual violence.
When I was 19, I went to a party thrown by some coworkers. I showed up with a guy friend who I trusted. The party was outside, in the warm night air. It was a blast – lots of drinking, dancing, and laughing. Another guy flirted with me. I had noticed him before, but never got up the nerve to speak to him. I felt super flattered that he was interested, so I nervously flirted back. Later that night, I went inside the house with him. We sat on a pull-out bed on the couch and talked for a while, then he kissed me. I liked it. We began to make out, which felt nice and exciting. Maybe 5 minutes later, he pushed me down on the bed and got on top of me. I pushed him to my side and said I didn’t want to go further than kissing. He
It started at the edge of a swimming pool on a sunny day. We always dreamed about traveling, seeing the world, and on that day my partner of five years asked me, rather abstractly, whether I’d be willing to pay for a vacation by performing sex work. I laughed it off. He was much more sexually adventurous than I, and I didn’t want to prompt him to attack me for my prudishness, so I said something flippant, something like, “Living the dream, huh?”, then tried to change the subject. But he wouldn’t let it go. I felt a clenching sensation in my gut as I realized I shouldn’t have responded the way I did. He hadn’t been joking. “Don’t you want to travel?” he asked me. “You always said you wanted to see the world.” When he got ideas, see, he was like a retriever with a Frisbee. Obsessive, unrelenting,
He was there to keep me safe. He told me that if I were alone in this area, I’d be killed or sold. I believed him. I went alone with him because I had put my trust in him. We were across the globe from anyone I knew, and even if I could scream for help, I didn’t know enough of the language. Besides, I had no way to get home if I left him. This was now about survival, pure life or death. My best chance to survive until morning was to let him do what he wanted. I thought that maybe if I cooperated I could convince him to use a condom or finish in my mouth instead, but my requests were met with a laugh. I tried to do what I could to survive the night, and I did. I survived that night. I told another girl
I was a junior in high school when my cooler, older senior friends invited me to a cabin trip. They bought me and my friend alcohol and played drinking games with me that I had never played before. I got very drunk and was having a wonderful time, blissfully unaware of what the guys were about to do. When I was drunk enough to abandon myself and my awareness, they pressured me into making out with my best girlfriend. They were obviously turned on by this and gave me more alcohol. I was trying so hard to be accepted by the cooler, older kids that I accepted the drinks. I stumbled to a bedroom to go to sleep because I was way too drunk. The last thing I remember was two guys on top of me sticking their fingers inside of me and getting ready to do worse. I remember
I was 16 and my parents were out of town. The only other person home was my grandmother. I was in my pj’s, a grey t-shirt and comfy pants. I heard a knock on the door, and I answered. It was my dad’s friend. I was confused because I thought he knew my parents were out of town. I told him my dad wasn’t home, and he asked to come in anyway. I let him in because I knew him for years and trusted him. He sat down on the couch, and I sat on the loveseat, wondering what he wanted. He spoke to me, but I don’t remember the details. I do remember that he was slurring his words. I realized he was drunk, and I began to feel a little bit uncomfortable… and maybe a little scared. He asked me to stand up and spin around. I did.
For decades, I didn’t think of myself as a survivor because of the degree and nature of the sexual assault I experienced. When I was 14, a store clerk ran his hand up my butt, then quickly walked away. The shock and shame I felt was unexpected. I had a hard time telling my mother what had happened, but when I saw that the clerk was stalking me, I told her. She tried to help me feel better by dismissing it and telling me that this sort of thing happens in urban settings. She never reported the clerk. I wondered later how many other girls he assaulted. For years I couldn’t go into a store alone and in public settings I kept my back to a wall and remained vigilant. Just as I was overcoming this experience, one night I was dreaming that my breast was being fondled and I felt
In November of this year, it will be five years since I was sexually assaulted. An individual could not take multiple nos for an answer, and he went after me. He was much stronger than me and I couldn’t stop him but waited for him to finish. If you guys have watched 13 Reasons Why, Hannah’s sexual assault was exactly how mine happened. Hannah Baker’s story is my story, as well. My virginity was taken away when I wasn’t ready because someone thought I wanted it. Even if I was walking nude, I was not asking for sex. When a woman says no to sex, it’s a no! This individual was not sent to jail because of lack of evidence. The pictures of the bruises on my skin and my torn vagina were not enough. I am sorry and this is hard for me to post, but I am tired of hearing stories of
My best friend and I were 16 and driving around in her new car. She said she’d been talking to her ex-boyfriend, and he wanted to see her. I grimaced, because this guy was older – 24! – and bad news. I told her it wasn’t a good idea. She said she needed closure and asked if I would go with her in support. Of course, I wanted to be supportive of my friend, so I agreed. We got to his house around 6pm and sat on the couch in the living room. He sat directly in front of my friend and handed her a bottle of rum. She took the bottle and drank. I looked at his face, and he was grinning at her. He looked… smarmy. He gave me the creeps. He encouraged her to keep drinking and she took another swig. She offered me a drink, as
The weekend before my freshman year started, I was sexually assaulted in my dorm room by my boyfriend at the time. He had come to meet my roommate and peers, bringing flowers and charming everyone. We played cards with my hallmates until almost 3am, at which point my roommate insisted he not drive home. We had set boundaries previously about what was allowed, and he disregarded all my attempts to push him away, as well as every verbal “stop” and “no.” I broke up with him two days later. But, as we worked together, I was still forced to be in close quarters with him for several months following the incident. My manager, who I told about the incident, collected a $40 bet on whether or not we would break up, but did nothing to protect me from his constant harassment and intimidation at work. Her response to the incident was, “Boys will be boys.” After
I thought it was normal considering it happened multiple times and I thought he’d take care of me. I had the mindset that this was such a cool secret to have. Eventually I was not interested anymore, and I’d find ways to stay busy so he wouldn’t sexually harass me, especially when my parents worked long days (they would come home at night) and my little brother would be taking naps. He finally got the message and moved out (he was renting a room). I still kept it to myself even when I finally realized that it wasn’t normal. Years later I started working at a grocery store and this man decided to come to the cash register I was at to check-out. He talked to me like nothing happened, asking how my parents and brother were. I felt uncomfortable and wanted to cry. That night was when I realized how much what
One of the worst five hours of my life started after matching with this boy on Tinder. In the beginning, we talked for hours on the phone and texted all day every day. He was very nice and actually showed interest in the things I said, unlike a lot of people I come across on Tinder. After a few days we both agreed we should meet up in person since we really enjoyed talking to one another. We planned to go to a drive-in movie since he worked there. It sounded like the perfect place because I LOVE movies and it was in public but still private enough to have our own time to talk to one another. When the day finally came to go on our date, I was really excited and extremely nervous because I was so afraid he wouldn’t like me. I waited by my phone to get the text that he finished
After years of not understanding my fear towards men, it came to me one night that I wasn’t just afraid of men. I was and still am afraid of the idea of men who I am not familiar with, men who remind me of him. The one that made me feel as if I was the problem, the one that made me feel that I couldn’t trust my mom – even though if she knew, she would have probably killed him. I blamed myself for so many years for not being able to feel comfortable around men when in reality it was all his fault. He took half of my life when he violated me. I was just a kid, just a little girl. I spent most of my life thinking about that moment and how much it had affected me as an individual. I finally said, “enough.” After years of blame and not being free, I decided to seek help. I enjoy little things again and feel stronger than I have
I was 5 years old. I was sexually abused by my godfather on multiple occasions. One of the times was when him and his wife offered to watch me while my mom was giving birth. I remember being picked up and taken to his bed. I just pretended to be asleep while he touched me and tried moving around constantly to try to get him to stop. He didn’t. I didn’t tell anyone until 2 years after. My mom didn’t know what to do. I mean who was going to believe me, especially 2 years after the fact? All she could do was keep me safe and she never spoke to them again. Fast forward a few years later and we find out there were other kids, his own nieces and nephews who went through the same thing and that there was an active trial against him. It was a