I was raped. Now, listen.

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I was raped. Now, listen.
 
I was raped by a friend, not a stranger. I was sober, not drunk. I willingly went into the room, I was not tricked. I was flirtatious, I did not want sex. I was silent, I did not scream. I was still, I did not fight. I stayed afterwards, I did not run. I kept it to myself, I did not go to the police.  
 
I did not give my consent, I was ignored.                     
I did not say yes, I was never asked.
I said no, I was not listened to.
 
Those are the unadulterated facts of the situation.
 
In the months afterward, when presenting those facts to some people, I have been accused of being a liar, of having ‘really wanted it’, of having made a mistake, of letting my guard down, of being naïve, at fault, weak, narcissistic, cruel, manipulative, spoiled, a false feminist, a hypocrite, of having failed myself.
 
I have been told I should have yelled, I should have fought back, I should never have gone into the room, I should have called the police, I should have been smarter, I should have been better, I should have tried harder, I shouldn’t have let it happen.
 
I have been told I shouldn’t have let myself be raped.
I have been told that the aforementioned facts make rape impossible.
I have been told that I was not raped.
 
I have been told so very many things.
 
But now I have something to say.
 
I was raped. Now, listen.
 
The day after I was raped, I went to a close friend, told her the facts and asked her if I had been raped. She said yes. I went to my mother, pretended what had happened to me had happened to a friend, presented her the facts, asked her if it was rape. She said yes. I anonymously posted in an online crisis forum, presented the facts, asked it was rape. Yes.
 
Three perspectives and one unanimous decision: rape.  
 
But there was still one person who didn’t believe it: myself. I didn’t want to believe it.
 
I didn’t want what happened and I sure as hell didn’t want to be a rape victim. I didn’t want that to be a part of who I was. I didn’t feel like a rape victim, or least how I imagined a rape victim was supposed to feel. I felt ok, mostly, sometimes. At least that what I told myself. So I tried to carve out that part of me. I tried to bury it so deep inside me that I would never find it again. But it was always there. I felt like I was standing on a beach, unable to move, watching a giant wave coming towards me, knowing that it would crash over me, suffocating me, trying to drown me, but leaving me just alive enough to stand there in dread for the next wave to come.
 
The truth is I always knew it was rape. I just believed that it was not the right kind of rape, as if there were such things as a right kind of rape. It was confusing, subtle, awkward, uncomfortable. It wasn’t what I thought rape would be. I thought I was the wrong kind of rape victim. I never thought it would happen to me. I certainly didn’t think it would happen like this. And I was ashamed. I believed that I had failed myself, my family, my friends, my feminism. And because of that I believed I deserved to suffer for it. And the ultimate punishment I chose to inflict on myself was silence: if I couldn’t make my voice heard then, why did I deserve to have it heard now?
 
And then one day, under less than ideal circumstances, it came vomiting out of me. That night was the first time I said it: I was raped. That was also the first time I had to defend that statement. And I’ve been defending it ever since.
 
I thought the hardest part about being raped was the rape. It’s not. It’s the aftermath, it’s the after rape.
 
It’s the manner of personal questions you’ll be asked, it’s the accusations that’ll be made, it’s the disbelief you’ll face, it’s the feeling of having no agency, it’s the loss.  I lost my voice the night I was raped, and every accusation, every doubt, tempts me into silence once again. It has been hard to speak, to remember what I sound like, what my voice is.
In the process of recovering it I have, very painfully, lost some love and people along the way. Some people I loved very, very much. I expect after I write this I may lose a few more. And though it eviscerates me, I have to make my peace with it. Because I choose myself.
 
I was raped. Now, listen.
 
I always knew my rape would hurt other people. It has and will raise a great many painful issues for people in my life. My parents wonder if they failed me, if they should have taught me better, if only they’d given me one final safety lesson, then maybe it wouldn’t have happened. But wonderful parents and a loving home are not inoculations against the diseases of this world. And to my parents, it never was your fault. There is only one person to blame and that is the person who raped me. There is no blame to be found anywhere else.
 
My friends wonder if it will happen to them—God I hope not. And it if is has, please know I love you. And it is not your fault. You did nothing wrong. You didn’t deserve your rape but it is yours. Many people will claim your rape. People who love you will claim your rape. It will become about them. And you will turn to them and take it back. Because it belongs to you.
 
The ones who really love you, the ones who are worth your love, will be there, they will put aside what they’re going through to be there. And they are genuinely going through something, because it is immensely painful as a parent, friend, partner, peer to know someone you love was raped. It creates feelings of failure, anger, retribution, depression, despair, pain. It is so very painful. But here’s what anyone who cares for a rape victim needs to know—whatever pain you’re going through, no matter how valid—it is not more painful than rape. I promise you that.
 
All of it, the event, the aftermath, the discomfort, the confusion, the pain, the healing, it all belongs to you. I was raped because someone did not listen. But what truly shocked me was how little I was listened to afterwards. How often I was told rather than heard. How often I was told what to do rather than asked what I wanted to do.  How often I was told how to feel rather than asked how I felt.
 
I think that this has been the hardest part for those around me to accept;, the differences between their feelings and mine. It’s been hard for me too. The people who love me got angry and I’m not. They’re entitled to their anger, and I’m entitled to my lack thereof, but they are not entitled to place the burden of their anger on me. And that’s what it is: a burden. Their anger is about them, it’s for them, it’s not for me. It doesn’t help me, it doesn’t heal me. It harms, it violates, it takes away from what I am going through and makes it about them.
 
My rape never made me angry—-I felt sad, tired, confused, exhausted, uncomfortable, strange, distant, scared but never angry. I’m sure some people do but it just wasn’t what I experienced. And in that dichotomy, between my experience of rape and the way others experience the reveal or the retelling of my rape, is where I have most struggled with this.
 
Someone I love very much, chastised me for not seeking retribution. They could not understand it. They saw it as a failing on my part. They found my lack of anger utterly alien. They claimed that the things I say and believe about women and feminism would ring just a little hollow if I did not seek justice whether through the law or vigilantism. They told me there was a right way to handle my rape and that I was handling it all wrong.
 
That haunted me. Every fear I had about the rape itself, all the self-doubt, was repeated and paralleled in this interrogation of my after rape. Had I failed my principles, had I failed my beliefs? Was I a hypocrite and a liar? Did I make a mistake? Did I fail? Was what I was feeling wrong? Was I the wrong kind of rape? Was I the wrong kind of rape victim?
 
I was raped. Now, listen.
 
Whenever I travel, it has always been my habit to keep a blog chronicling my experiences. It’s always been a practice I have approached with eagerness and excitement. However, a few years ago, while conducting research in Bangladesh, my weekly task of writing because a source of dread. For the first time in all my wandering, I was really struggling to assimilate. I was experiencing unhappiness, discomfort, confusion, and a general lack of self. But I was embarrassed and ashamed and I didn’t want people to know. I didn’t feel I was allowed to be those things, to have those feelings, to share those feelings. And my writing suffered, my research suffered, and I suffered for it. It was only when I risked the vulnerability of honoring myself and not the vision of myself others had, or that I believed others had, that I was able to authentically represent my research, my writing, and myself.
 
This was an important lesson for me – because it is in writing I have always found my bravery, my vulnerability, my power, my voice.
 
In the aftermath of my rape, I have been desperately seeking my voice, searching for a way to take my power back. And so I return to the platform that has always served as my compass and guide. My whole life, whenever I felt lost, it’s the written word, my words,  that allow me to heal, to regain my autonomy, that show me the way back to myself. I have never felt a greater loss of self than my life after rape. And it’s why I must write with more purpose and vulnerability than I ever have before. It’s why I am putting my personal life out there for the world to do with what it will. It terrifies me. I can’t take this back. Once it’s out there, all it will take is a simple Google search, and any stranger will find this. I’ll never be able to hide my rape again. And that’s exactly why I have to write this. Because I shouldn’t have to hide, I shouldn’t have to be silent. And no one else should either.
 
A very amazing woman I knew in college recently published a blog about her own experience with sexual assault while serving in the Peace Corps. I encourage you to read it here: prairiestateofmind.wordpress.com. I was moved not only by the strength of her writing but the sense of relief that flooded me when I read her blog. Relief because it wasn’t just me. Because the things I had felt and experienced, even the very facets of my specific rape, were reflected in her experiences, in her rape. The emotions and actions, both during and afterward, that I believed bastardized my rape, that I thought delegitimized my rape, were in fact the very elements that made it so terrifyingly common.
 
Every day I seem to discover another woman I know who has been raped. Regardless of age, race, gender, it’s happened to them, to us. Rape and sexual assault have become the universal experience of being a woman.  If our current global rates of rape were a virus, we would have a pandemic. And we do. And yet there is so much silence. And it is killing us. Because in that silent shame we fill our minds with thoughts of self loathing and harm. We convince ourselves that we are at fault, that we are bad, that we are base, and that we deserve it, that we asked for it. You did not deserve your rape. You did not ask for it. You have worth. You are good, you are good.
 
We don’t tell our friends, our partners, our families, much less the judgmental and anonymous world. We keep it to ourselves and it’s only by chance, by witnessing or a performing brave act of vulnerability, that we ever learn just how un-alone we are, that a little light appears in the shadows, that an echo full of empathy and despair dares to ask ‘You too?’ It’s a coven full of the best women I know. It’s a sisterhood based on compassion and caring, built on an understanding that the rest of the world does not share. Yet it also a community oppressed by silence. What I wanted most after my rape was to have someone to turn to, some precedent, someone I knew. But I couldn’t. Because I didn’t want to put that loaded gun into anyone else’s hands. I didn’t want to have to educate people about my rape before I’d had a chance to understand it myself. But that’s what happens when silence becomes the paradigm—it doesn’t protect or shield, it simply offers someone else a chance to fill the void, it allows other to people to speak and decide and judge and decree. If we don’t tell our stories, some one else will.
 
I had a teacher in high school who opened the first class of the school year with a syllabus and a frank announcement: She had multiple sclerosis. I never saw a fellow student react to it, we took the information in, and went back to reading about how the tests were curved. But as I sit here writing this piece, making my frank announcement on ‘the first day of school,’ I realize how much that must of scared her shitless because that how’s I feel right now: What if everyone reads this? What if no one does? What if there is backlash and more vitriol? What will my high school teacher think of me? My friends? My parents? Former co-workers? My current classmates? What will the world see, what will they think of me? What will people say? I worry about the professional repercussions of this. I worry about the personal repercussions of this. But more than that I worry about what will happen if I don’t speak, what will happen to my story, what will happen to the stories of millions of other women? I couldn’t tell my story until I heard some one else speak out. And it saved my life. So now I’m speaking out for myself, for her, for you. Because if we never speak, we’ll never be heard.
 
I have always believed that our stories are what defined us. So despite being petrified about what torrent this will unleash, despite worrying about what the world will spit this back in my face for the rest of my life, despite fearing no one person will read this, I have to write it. Because it is my story and no matter what happens, no one gets to tell my story but me.
 
I was raped. Now, listen.
 
There are many nuances to rape but, not to over simplify, at the end of the day rape is about power. It is about the disrespect of another person’s autonomy. It is about someone not only not asking but not listening. I was raped because someone did not ask and they did not listen. After my rape, I experienced further trauma because people did not ask and they did not listen. I have been told over and over and over again what I should have done, what I should do, what I am. I have had my character, my beliefs, my sanity, even the very event of my rape questioned and debated.  I have had my own rape weaponized against me as means of shaming, torturing, and punishing me. I have been told to smile, to shut up, to die.
 
No.
 
I said it then and I will say it again now: No. My answer is no.
 
I will not be ashamed. I will not be coerced. I will not handle this the way anyone but myself sees fit. Because this is my rape. This is my narrative and I am reclaiming it. That is my act of revenge. My act of retribution is to banish the weight of shame and secrecy and to be able to say: I was raped. My act of defiance is to speak it again and again and again until it is just another sentence is the epic of my life. Because my life will be an epic.
 
I was raped. Now, listen.
 
After everything, after the rape and its terrible aftermath, I still genuinely believe people are good. Someone told me that was a naive thing to say. That my belief in the good in people is what put me in ‘the kind of situation where you can get raped.’
 
My father’s favorite story about me, the story he always uses to describe who I am as a person is this: When I was young, about seven or eight, I played on a soccer team. I was, as anyone who knows me realizes, a thoroughly crappy soccer player.  There was a girl on the team who was an excellent player, and who, as these stories often go, also didn’t like me, and took every opportunity to mock and belittle me. During one particular game, this girl accidentally received a very hard ball kick to the face and crumpled to the ground in pain. What happened next is why my father tells this story, because even though this girl was my tormentor, my instant reaction was to dart out from the sidelines and run to her side, checking to make sure she was alright. I didn’t do it because I thought it would get her to stop bullying me, or to show off, I did it because she was just a little kid in pain, like me, because it was the right thing to do, because it was the human thing to do.
 
I’m still that girl. And I won’t have that taken from me. I’m the girl who runs on the field. I’m the woman who gets raped and believes that there is still immense good in this world. If some think that’s naive, so be it, if some see that as a betrayal of self, so be it. But I think the worst thing that could happen would be to lose that part of myself. For that would be a true and irreparable loss. Something was taken from me against my will. But I will be damned if I am willing lose a part of myself because of that.
 
In a few days, it will be a new year. My mother has a New Year’s day tradition that she calls her New Year’s run. It’s a simple concept, she goes on her first run of the new year and thinks only of happy thoughts, mitzvahs, blessings. It is the one run a year devoted exclusively to gratitude, to joy. No matter what, on that day she honors joy. And though I will be thousands of miles away and five hours ahead of her, I will honor the tradition of her run with one of my own.
 
And when I go for that run and bring in the New Year—for the first time since my rape I will not be dogged by this burden anymore. I will not be eaten alive by hiding it, defending it, explaining it. I will be living with it, not at war with it, not paralyzed by it. I will not be standing on that proverbial beach, before that wave, sputtering and struggling, waiting to drown. I’m going for a swim. I’ve no shame, no secrets, no silence left in me any more.
 
I was raped and I did not deserve it.  I was raped and it was not my mistake. I was raped and that does not make me a bad feminist, daughter, friend, partner or person. I was raped and that does not make me naïve, weak, or less than.  I was raped and I have no obligation to heal, to want, to do, to say anything I don’t want to.  I was raped and it is a part of who I am, it is a part of my story, it is a part of me. But it’s not all of me and it never will be.
 

I am still the girl who runs on the field who believes in people, in good, in hope.
I am.

I am still kind and ferocious.
I am still myself.
I am.
I am.
I am.
 

 

Now, listen.
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0 Comments

  1. Amy December 30, 2015 10:22 pm

    Thank you. It took me 30 years to tell my story not worrying about everyone else as I had done for so many years. I have been to the same beach unable to breathe. Thank you for articulating the unspoken burdens that follow us until they are kicked in the ass with 'our' story. Well done .

  2. Amy December 30, 2015 10:22 pm

    Thank you. It took me 30 years to tell my story not worrying about everyone else as I had done for so many years. I have been to the same beach unable to breathe. Thank you for articulating the unspoken burdens that follow us until they are kicked in the ass with 'our' story. Well done .

  3. Unknown December 31, 2015 1:51 am

    Coincidentally, just before reading this, I read that Bill Cosby had finally been charged for rape. The courage of that one woman, encouraged by the courage of so many other women who broke their shamed silence, made this possible. As you so eloquently stated, whatever action you take, whether you indeed take any action, is beside the point. The point is that you have broken your silence and, in so doing, taken back your life. I am in awe of your courage, your integrity, and your affirmation of your life and of life itself. I really admire you.

  4. Unknown December 31, 2015 1:51 am

    Coincidentally, just before reading this, I read that Bill Cosby had finally been charged for rape. The courage of that one woman, encouraged by the courage of so many other women who broke their shamed silence, made this possible. As you so eloquently stated, whatever action you take, whether you indeed take any action, is beside the point. The point is that you have broken your silence and, in so doing, taken back your life. I am in awe of your courage, your integrity, and your affirmation of your life and of life itself. I really admire you.

  5. Vincent Cano December 31, 2015 3:17 am

    To me you will always be than young girl on that soccer field, in that one moment of compassion I knew you where a better person than I ever was or could be. In all the years that followed I watch you blossom into this incredible person full of compassion and heart and just simple humanity for your fellow human beings. I didn't realize until today that you also blossomed into the bravest. I wish all who read your story told with your voice do honor to your courage by passing it along. I am honored and bless to be your Father I love you Daughter with all my heart Pop

  6. Vincent Cano December 31, 2015 3:17 am

    To me you will always be than young girl on that soccer field, in that one moment of compassion I knew you where a better person than I ever was or could be. In all the years that followed I watch you blossom into this incredible person full of compassion and heart and just simple humanity for your fellow human beings. I didn't realize until today that you also blossomed into the bravest. I wish all who read your story told with your voice do honor to your courage by passing it along. I am honored and bless to be your Father I love you Daughter with all my heart Pop

  7. Victoria January 2, 2016 6:25 pm

    I love you, Pop.

  8. Victoria January 2, 2016 6:25 pm

    I love you, Pop.

  9. Victoria January 2, 2016 6:32 pm

    Thank you so much for your words and for your admiration. I'm honored to be compared to those women who've come forward against an outrageous storm of oppression and attempts to silence them. It took over fifty five women to come forward with their stories and testimony before one man was charged. I hope that by breaking my own silence I can be a small part of moving towards a world where such an enormous disparity in the worth/value/and believability of a woman's word versus a man's does not exist. Thank you, thank you.

  10. Victoria January 2, 2016 6:32 pm

    Thank you so much for your words and for your admiration. I'm honored to be compared to those women who've come forward against an outrageous storm of oppression and attempts to silence them. It took over fifty five women to come forward with their stories and testimony before one man was charged. I hope that by breaking my own silence I can be a small part of moving towards a world where such an enormous disparity in the worth/value/and believability of a woman's word versus a man's does not exist. Thank you, thank you.

  11. Victoria January 2, 2016 6:33 pm

    Thank you so much for your kind comments. It means the world to me. Thank you so much for listening and for sharing our story.

  12. Victoria January 2, 2016 6:33 pm

    Thank you so much for your kind comments. It means the world to me. Thank you so much for listening and for sharing our story.

  13. Anonymous January 3, 2016 4:26 pm

    I post anonymously because it is not my story to tell. I am the daughter of wonderful parents. My mother had an anorexic history and then was in a car accident and became addicted to pain killers. When she began counseling, she, after 30+ years, revealed that she had been assaulted as a 6 year old, in a barn, by a family friend.
    She, like you, was instantly freed from the shame, when she realized it was not her fault.
    Bringing darkness to light, reveals the truth.
    So proud of you.

  14. Anonymous January 3, 2016 4:26 pm

    I post anonymously because it is not my story to tell. I am the daughter of wonderful parents. My mother had an anorexic history and then was in a car accident and became addicted to pain killers. When she began counseling, she, after 30+ years, revealed that she had been assaulted as a 6 year old, in a barn, by a family friend.
    She, like you, was instantly freed from the shame, when she realized it was not her fault.
    Bringing darkness to light, reveals the truth.
    So proud of you.

  15. Louisa Hufstader January 4, 2016 10:17 pm

    I'm so proud to know you and your parents — and I'm in awe of your strength, Victoria. You are destined for some real greatness and it's already happening.

  16. Louisa Hufstader January 4, 2016 10:17 pm

    I'm so proud to know you and your parents — and I'm in awe of your strength, Victoria. You are destined for some real greatness and it's already happening.

  17. Lauren Wyatt January 5, 2016 3:44 am

    Victoria,
    I had the pleasure of working with your Pop as you so sweetly refer to him as. To read your story and to know of you only from him was both inspiring and heartbreaking. You are brave and should stand proud for your words. I had read a few of your blogs before as he asked me to read with that big proud smile on his face. But it truly takes courage to not only write those words but to put them out to the world. I'm sure the response will be immense as it should be. You have touched me as well as many others and may you find strength in these numbers. As a side note, the love he always showed for you is what all women want in a father for their children and I'm sure you feel lucky to have him. He must be even more proud now to see you truly blossom into the person you're supposed to be. Wishing you the best going forward with your all your endeavors and always remember your voice was really heard.

  18. Lauren Wyatt January 5, 2016 3:44 am

    Victoria,
    I had the pleasure of working with your Pop as you so sweetly refer to him as. To read your story and to know of you only from him was both inspiring and heartbreaking. You are brave and should stand proud for your words. I had read a few of your blogs before as he asked me to read with that big proud smile on his face. But it truly takes courage to not only write those words but to put them out to the world. I'm sure the response will be immense as it should be. You have touched me as well as many others and may you find strength in these numbers. As a side note, the love he always showed for you is what all women want in a father for their children and I'm sure you feel lucky to have him. He must be even more proud now to see you truly blossom into the person you're supposed to be. Wishing you the best going forward with your all your endeavors and always remember your voice was really heard.

  19. Louisa Hufstader January 5, 2016 3:22 pm

    I'm so proud to know you and your parents — and I'm in awe of your strength, Victoria. You are destined for some real greatness and it's already happening.

  20. Louisa Hufstader January 5, 2016 3:22 pm

    I'm so proud to know you and your parents — and I'm in awe of your strength, Victoria. You are destined for some real greatness and it's already happening.

  21. Samuel Hendrickson January 7, 2016 8:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. If you don't talk I cant listen and I need the listening as much as you do the telling.

  22. Samuel Hendrickson January 7, 2016 8:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. If you don't talk I cant listen and I need the listening as much as you do the telling.

  23. Victoria January 8, 2016 12:15 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your mother's story. It can be an impossible burden to voice, to acknowledge, even privately, an assault. I think you're mother sounds like a very courageous woman and I'm truly gladdened to hear she found her freedom, her truth, her light. Thank you so much for your kind words and for listening.

  24. Victoria January 8, 2016 12:15 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your mother's story. It can be an impossible burden to voice, to acknowledge, even privately, an assault. I think you're mother sounds like a very courageous woman and I'm truly gladdened to hear she found her freedom, her truth, her light. Thank you so much for your kind words and for listening.

  25. Victoria January 8, 2016 12:45 am

    Thank you so much, Louisa. I am so happy to have you as a part of my family, you've been so wonderful and good to us all, I'm really grateful you're here. All my love to you and Paul, as always.

  26. Victoria January 8, 2016 12:45 am

    Thank you so much, Louisa. I am so happy to have you as a part of my family, you've been so wonderful and good to us all, I'm really grateful you're here. All my love to you and Paul, as always.

  27. Victoria January 8, 2016 1:59 am

    Lauren,

    Thank you so much for reading my blog and for writing to me. Both my father and I have been so moved by the responses I've gotten, so many people from the hospital have reached out to me—it has been so tremendously moving, healing, and heartwarming to experience it. My parents have always been my very best support system, and to know that my dad is surrounded such a loving, kind, and supportive group of people—I feel so very lucky and grateful.

    Thank you for kind wishes, for being there for me, and for listening. Thank you, thank you

  28. Victoria January 8, 2016 1:59 am

    Lauren,

    Thank you so much for reading my blog and for writing to me. Both my father and I have been so moved by the responses I've gotten, so many people from the hospital have reached out to me—it has been so tremendously moving, healing, and heartwarming to experience it. My parents have always been my very best support system, and to know that my dad is surrounded such a loving, kind, and supportive group of people—I feel so very lucky and grateful.

    Thank you for kind wishes, for being there for me, and for listening. Thank you, thank you

  29. Victoria January 8, 2016 2:00 am

    Thank you for reading it, Sam. And thank you for listening. It really does make all the difference to be listened to, to be heard. Thank you for it.

  30. Victoria January 8, 2016 2:00 am

    Thank you for reading it, Sam. And thank you for listening. It really does make all the difference to be listened to, to be heard. Thank you for it.

  31. BG January 18, 2016 3:44 pm

    Victoria, this is so well written, and so so moving. Remain strong. Know that you have struck a chord many before you have been unable to find the words for… what a blessing this gift is of yours; the ability to put into words.
    May you find your peace. You will be forever changed by this. But you CAN find that peace and share it with others, in a unique and vital way.
    Thank you for your words.

  32. BG January 18, 2016 3:44 pm

    Victoria, this is so well written, and so so moving. Remain strong. Know that you have struck a chord many before you have been unable to find the words for… what a blessing this gift is of yours; the ability to put into words.
    May you find your peace. You will be forever changed by this. But you CAN find that peace and share it with others, in a unique and vital way.
    Thank you for your words.

  33. Victoria January 29, 2016 10:32 pm

    Thank you so much for your kindness. Writing this and the outpouring of humanity and empathy that has followed it has brought me a great distance closer to finding my peace. Thank you so much for listening.

  34. Victoria January 29, 2016 10:32 pm

    Thank you so much for your kindness. Writing this and the outpouring of humanity and empathy that has followed it has brought me a great distance closer to finding my peace. Thank you so much for listening.

  35. Donna May 21, 2016 12:36 am

    Victoria, your proud father shared this blog with us at Jane Doe No More. Thank you for shedding a light into the darkness of sexual violence. You are an inspiration! As a survivor of rape and re-victimization by authorities, I fought for change and came forward in 2007 when I founded Jane Doe No More. Through the years, I have seen many victims come forward for the first time who have gone on to become vibrant and vocal survivors. Thank you for adding your voice to educate and inspire others. May you continue your healing journey and enjoy every new day. No more shame. No more blame. No more fear.

  36. Donna May 21, 2016 12:36 am

    Victoria, your proud father shared this blog with us at Jane Doe No More. Thank you for shedding a light into the darkness of sexual violence. You are an inspiration! As a survivor of rape and re-victimization by authorities, I fought for change and came forward in 2007 when I founded Jane Doe No More. Through the years, I have seen many victims come forward for the first time who have gone on to become vibrant and vocal survivors. Thank you for adding your voice to educate and inspire others. May you continue your healing journey and enjoy every new day. No more shame. No more blame. No more fear.

  37. Victoria June 3, 2016 10:16 pm

    Dear Debbie,

    I am so honored by your words and by your story. Reclaiming my narrative has been one of the hardest and most important things I have ever done. I am so encourage and awed by the other women I have met that have come forward to share their stories with me, you all are so incredible immense. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for listening.

  38. Victoria June 3, 2016 10:16 pm

    Dear Debbie,

    I am so honored by your words and by your story. Reclaiming my narrative has been one of the hardest and most important things I have ever done. I am so encourage and awed by the other women I have met that have come forward to share their stories with me, you all are so incredible immense. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for listening.

  39. madelainesayko August 30, 2017 6:14 pm

    Funny kiddo I never wrote a response to this posting – but you know it touches my very soul. No parent wants their child to suffer so – but to see you take that and turn it into something powerful that can help others fills me with pride and awe at your strength, your wisdom and your ferocious spirit. You are amazing, truly and deeply.

    Perhaps I did not responds because it is something so close to the bone for me – but, while we cannot conquer darkness, we can spread light – and in this way change the world. That is what you do. Bravo my daughter – you are the light of my life.