The Survivor Thread


Shakesville: The Survivor Thread [trigger warning]

So very sobering to see how prevalent sexual assault it, and how often it is normalized.
I know I’ve normalized it for the past 35 years. Not anymore.

Reading what other women have endured helps me see just how horrible it really is. It has happened over and over my entire life, and I didn’t even consider it assault until recently.

  • from men driving up in a parking lot asking for directions while masturbating
  • to men masturbating next to me in movie theaters
  • to groping me as I walk by or during a hug or in the dark
  • to a professor making me touch him and cornering me and pinning me down
  • to a doctor rubbing his erection against my arm during an examination
  • to strangers exposing themselves to me
  • to men not taking no for an answer (over and over and over and over again)
  • to giving into sex during my twenties because I was afraid of being raped if I didn’t (turns out, that’s rape)

All those things are sexual assault, turns out.

All this time I’ve had a tendency to minimize it and blame myself for not doing something more in the moment or screaming or running away or calling them out or something…

But it’s not my fault.

100% of the fault and responsibility lies on the perpetrators, the sick fucks who do this to other people.

It’s a cultural issue.


Since Shakespeare’s Sister closed the comment on that post, please share your story below, if you’d like. Talk about the number of times you’ve been sexually assaulted, even if you didn’t know it was assault at the time. Feel free to remain anonymous.

This is a safe place. All comments are monitored.


More resources:

~ by omgrey on September 12, 2012.

4 Responses to “The Survivor Thread”

  1. I was lucky, in one sense, all the sexual assault I suffered was blatantly and obviously assault. Which didn’t stop me from feeling guilty or ashamed, didn’t prevent me from feeling that it was my fault, that I deserved it or similar shit.

    But at least I’ve never had to question in my mind whether I was over reacting, or whether it really was assault.

    I’ve been spared the less blatant forms of assault largely due to a combination of luck and being an introverted hermit who rarely goes out and then only with small groups of friends I can trust (and who would have my back if anything happened). Also, let me say again, luck.

    • Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry any if it happened to you, to ay of us, covertly or overtly.

      I know what you mean by saying lucky. What a society where women consider themselves “lucky” to have not been assaulted, or lucky to be assaulted in a way that’s obviously assault, so as to take away at least a fraction of the trauma afterward. The part where you constantly question yourself.

      My rape recovery therapist says that “partner rape” can be worse than “stranger rape” because one isn’t only dealing with the rape, but also with the betrayal by someone she loved and trusted. And then with the conflicting feelings of love afterwards.

      It’s like in cases of domestic violence, somehow having someone hit you in the face and leave a bruise, which is horrific and terribly traumatic, is a “cleaner” assault, for lack of a better word, because it’s obvious the person was assaulted. Obvious to her and to everyone who sees her. If she tells someone she’s been abused, the evidence is right there. But if it’s insidious and covert, where all the scars are emotional and psychological from gaslighting and other forms of emotional abuse, the victim not only questions herself but every one else questions her, too.

      Same with rape.

      Beaten up and drugged = evidence.
      Weeping silently or in utter fear or drunk = no “evidence”

  2. In high school, someone I considered a friend began following me to all my classes and refused to stop hugging me and poking me on my side. He acted suicidal when I tried to distance myself from him. I used to think I was lucky to escape “real” sexual assault, but actions that could be considered friendly and romantic can still lead to 10 years of trauma. The scary part was that he found me on facebook years later and began harassing me until I blocked him.

    In college, my friend’s boyfriend would try to grope all the girls when he was drunk. We excused it as dumb college guy behavior. I let him because I was just fed up with his persistence. A couple years later, after I entered my first relationship, he had the audacity to bring up how glad he was that he was no longer the guy I “went the furthest with” AT HIS OWN WEDDING.

    Even my current relationship (also my one and only) has crossed into the grey territory. I didn’t know I was asexual when we first got together. Even though I had expressed my problems with touching people and my fears about sex, there was still a lack of communication. I had expected him to ask me if I was okay with things every step of the way, and when he’d get a little too enthusiastic/touchy feely, trust was broken. Add to that his impatience due to his needs not being met (and me not realizing that sex is a need for some), and we’ve had several issues that needed to be resolved. With the help of a counselor and my discovery of my asexuality, we’re finally on the same page and can move forward. I share a lot about asexuality with my friends because it affects things like enthusiastic consent and waiting/not waiting to have sex.

    • I’m very interested in learning more about asexuality. I have a friend who is asexual, and it’s just so foreign to me being as sexual as I, at least, was. The rape and loss of trust has put a huge damper on that.

      I feel said my sexuality was robbed from me.

      I’m so sorry all that happened to you!! That it sounds like a major creeper!!! EW!!! I felt icky just reading about him.

      I’m so pleased to hear you have a good partner now. That they stuck around through the difficulty and misunderstandings is huge. So many don’t. I’m sorry to hear trust was broken, especially if you felt violated in any way. But it sounds as if your partner responded well to it. And that’s not nothing. As I said in one of my posts, The Power of Responsibility, I think, how someone responds to an accusation or when learning their partner/lover felt violated, is very important.

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