Did you know that 81% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime. You are not alone! For some time now, I’ve been wanting to do a project about trauma and the abuse that many women have endured. Six amazing women have come together to tell their stories. Moreover, it is my hope, that their stories will give someone else the courage to speak out about their abuse.
To start, I want to share a few statistics. Most of these statistics are found on the RAINN website. In addition, here’s the number for the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE. If you find yourself needing to speak to someone, please reach out to them. Heck, you are welcome to reach out to me as well and I will find you the resources you need. I’m always happy to just sit and listen as well.
Every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. 1 out of 6 women has been a victim of attempted rape or completed rape in their lifetime. 3% of men have as well. 55% of these rapes occur at or near the victims home. Also, less than 20% of all rapes are reported and 90% of rape victims are female.
You Are NOT Alone! I know these stories are hard to read. Equally important, I know your story is hard too. Know you are not alone. You are strong. You are enough. These women were brave enough to speak out so that you can know you are not alone! This blog post has been divided between two posts because of how long the stories are. Please, see the You Are Enough blog post too as these women have courageously shared their stories.
“Only a couple people know this story, and 30+ years later I still have trouble talking about the details of my abuse. I was married less than a month when the abuse started. Initially, it started with just name calling and put downs but quickly progressed to physical and sexual abuse. My ex husband was always really good at telling me how much of of a nothing I was, or how ugly and fat I was. His favorite name for me was pork belly that was usually followed by him making pig noises and saying “here piggy piggy.” Often, he would scream really loud in my ear, but if I pull away he’d grab me under the chin and force me to stay there til he was done. He would pinch punch me and pinch me. At some point, he lost his job and things started getting really bad after that.
The meaner he got, the harder I would try to make everything perfect. I didn’t matter, he just got worse. One time, I had fallen asleep on the bed. He had come home after having had a few drinks. Of course he wanted sex. He snatched my legs apart and noticed that my period had started. There was a little bit of blood on the bed. He grabbed me by the throat and rubbed my face in the spot. He then proceeded to punch me in the stomach and chest all while telling me how dirty and nasty I was. That night he threw me on the floor and told me to sleep there because that’s where disgusting pigs like me belong. I was so scared I stayed there, too afraid to even cry. After that night, I pretty much gave up fighting him. With sex he was rough, and I’ll admit that at first I liked it. But then it got worse and worse. He’d choke me until I blacked out or would hold a pillow over my face because I was too fat and ugly to look at during sex. Most of the time he’d just finish quickly and it would be over.
Until one horrible night. That was the first time he sodomized me. I wish I would never have cried out that night. The more I cried the more he laughed, saying things like how do you like that bitch or now I’m fucking you like the animal you are. After a particularly horrible night, my brother saw bruises on me. The next day when I went to work my brother and a couple of his friends came and took all his stuff and dropped it on his mothers yard and changed the locks. I filed for divorce a few days later. To this day, I don’t know what was said to him but the divorce was uncontested.
I haven’t told many people about this because I was ashamed of what they might think of me; he always made me feel like it was my fault, and I wasn’t worth loving. My trauma sent me into a deep deep depression for nearly 12 years. I gained close to 100 lbs, lost my job because my health declined severely. I barely left the house.
I’ve gone through years of intense therapy and have since found a supportive friend who’s been through a similar situation. I wanted to be part of this project to help other women who are in unhealthy/abusive mutations. So they know they are not alone and there is a life after abuse. I want them to know they are loved, worthy, and they are not defined by their abuse. Remember that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT”
“I started dating this guy in 2006. Everything was great at first. Eventually, he started asking about bringing others into our relationship and using toys. At first, I was ok with the toys. But then he started to get hurtful with them, often I would bleed. He used to call me fat and chubby. He’d only have sex with me from behind so he didn’t have to look at me. I’ll never forget how that made me feel. He forced me to perform acts on him. If I didn’t have sex daily he’d force himself on me regardless if I said no or not. Looking back, I know this was rape. Even after we had a miscarriage he expected sex just days after my DNC. I was forced into 3 somes, 4 somes and sometimes just with other men. Why I stayed, I have no clue. The worst part is he would record this and share with people. Or watch the videos back and call me names. He’d dress me a certain way and tell me how to wear my hair. Because of all this I ended up being diagnosed with body dysmorphia and have been treated for this as well.
My trauma has caused major trust issues in the bedroom. My husband has been very understanding and patient. My body image was shattered for a long time. Over time, I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve had issues with jealousy in the past and well… I’ve been working through that and it’s much better now.
Also, I’ve been in therapy. Lots of therapy. Talking to someone was a huge help not only for the trauma of the abuse but also for the body dysmorphia. I was part of a rape survivor group for while as well. Now, I have an emotional support animal (ESA) that helps with the PTSD, anxiety and depression. I’m a continued work in progress.
I wanted to do this project not only to share my story but also to help those that may be scared to see help or share theirs. This topic isn’t talked about and I feel it needs to be to protect ourselves and each other! I also want to thank Sarah for putting these stories out there. And for being brave for putting the real issues out there. She’s provided us a safe space to talk.”
“The summer between my sophomore and junior year of college I was sexually assaulted by a friend of my roommate. It was the weekend and we were going to her boyfriend’s house because his parents were out of town and she wanted me to meet their “really nice” friend. We were all hanging out, drinking, and having fun. At some point, my roommate and her boyfriend went inside and I was left alone with their friend. I don’t remember much after that. I remember waking up and I was in the hot tub but I don’t know how I got there. My clothes were off. He was lifting my legs above the water and touching me. My head kept going under the water. I felt numb. Frozen. I couldn’t speak or fight back. I don’t know how long it lasted or all the details. I don’t know how I got home – I assume my roommate and her boyfriend helped me.
As a result, I internalized the belief that it was my fault. I was ashamed that I couldn’t stop it. I thought that no one would believe me if I said anything. It has made it difficult to be fully present and I will freeze up if someone touches me unexpectedly or I feel like they are too close to my personal space. I have nightmares that I am being attacked or held down and I try to scream for help but no sound comes out. It is hard for me to trust people and let my guard down.
Over the years, I’ve been in therapy. I’ve done EDMR and I practice yoga. Lastly, learning about my nervous system has been helpful too. After it happened, I didn’t tell anyone. I buried it. I told myself it wasn’t that big of a deal and could have been worse. But keeping it secret allows the shame to fester and perpetuates the lie that I was somehow asking for it.”
If you want to join a community of amazing and accepting women, feel free to join my private VIP Group on Facebook!
Want to read 3 more stories from courageous women about their trauma experiences? Check out this Blog as well!