Ending sexual violence through Healing, Outreach, Prevention and Empowerment
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Survivor Stories

This page contains a collection of writings--stories or poems--by survivors of sexual violence. If you are about to read some of these survivors' stories, please pay attention to your own feelings. Reading these writings may be difficult; please take care of yourself. Take a break when you need to and talk to someone about how you feel. We hope that these writings inspire you, help you in your healing process, and empower you to keep on growing and surviving.

We Are Everywhere - D.L. Sherrer

We are everywhere, caring for small children, leading business meetings

volunteering at schools, hospitals, the local rape crisis center, writing bestselling novels
Our stories vary in detail, one was raped by a stranger in a dark parking lot
the stereotypical image of sexual violence
while another was molested by her father or neighbor or family friend
the language changes, but the facts are essentially the same, and the healing takes years
but we go on, skillfully, courageously often silently
we are your colleagues, neighbors, friends
and you might never know, because such stories rarely have a place in daily conversation
and we go on, sighing at every new magazine article, that offers women yet more advice
on how to lose weight, dye our hair, diminish signs of aging
dress more confidently/sexy/fashionably, be somehow other than what we are
who we've become, like somehow we never get it right, which is ultimately what rape taught us
especially when the voices start ratting in our heads
if only we had fought back, never gone on the date, told our mother, guidance counselor, minister
not worn that particular outfit, chosen another way home, 
a different man to partner with, not taken the candy, the balloon, the offers of kindness
but no, let me suggest a different version
if only, we, as a society, could wake up and stop gorging ourselves
on daily depictions of violence against women the nightly TV dramas
Law and Order, Special Victims Unit, the list goes on
if you know one woman who has been raped or battered
and trust me, you probably do, don't buy a movie ticket to see
a woman beheaded in front of her daughter, shut off your TV in protest
of violent content as entertainment, tell Nike to shove their ads and their products
when they dare to depict a woman, in running sneakers, fleeing from a man with a chain saw
The one that got away, because many more of us didn't and we are your colleagues, neighbors, friends
We are everywhere

Survivor Psalm - Frank Ochberg, M.D. - Gift from Within

I have been victimized.

I was in a fight that was not a fair fight.
I lost.
There is no shame in losing such fights,
Only in winning.
I have reached the stage of survivor and am
no longer a slave of victim status.
I look back with sadness rather than hate.
I look forward with hope rather than despair.
I may never forget, but I need
not constantly remember.
I was a victim.
I am a survivor.

Danielle's Story - K.O.

I'm looking out the window 
full of hope and fear, 
I want so bad to remember, 
I want so bad to hear. 
Why can't I see, 
and make myself feel? 
Isn't that how people 
begin to start to heal? 
I want for him to know 
how much his actions hurt me. 
I wish his image would go away 
and just let me be me. 
Once I really loved him, 
wished that he'd be mine. 
He seemed to be so nice, 
so gentle and so kind. 
I was so young 
how could I see 
the lies that he 
spit out at me? 
I have never in my life 
hated someone so much. 
How could I possible know 
about my innocent little crush? 
I hate being so angry 
it changes who I am. 
I wish I was the little girl 
I once should have been. 
Goodbye to little girls 
barbies, dress-up clothes. 
Hello pain and hatred 
all the things I never chose.

Marge's Story - Marge Piercy

There is no difference between being raped and being pushed down a flight of cement steps except that the wounds also bleed on the inside.

There is no difference between being raped and being run over by a truck except afterwards men ask you if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped and being bitten on the ankle by a rattlesnake except that people ask if your skirt was short and why you were out alone anyway.

There is no difference between being raped and going head first through a windshield except that afterward you are afraid not of cars but of half the human race.

Rob's Story – Rob

Dissociation

Black
facing west and the dull hum.
my fingers press heavily into the wood of the
door, thin slivers of white paint
chip and tumble
gently. a low steady moan
as this overwhelming whiteness
spills into the darkness of the room.
What do you want?

My feet drag melting puddles of snow
across the stained brown floor. This
sickened darkness is retreating backwards
into itself, as the air and light creeps
softly in. Who told you?

This web, strong and brittle strings my
eyelids shut, left
thin slashes across my teeth and
tongue--gums red and green
seeping between my teeth
into mud, in my hand
I crush it
rust

(wake up)

Stacy's Story - Stacey

Sometime I sit here and wonder why everything is so rough in life for those nice people with a cold heart. Then there's times people wonder if there is an actual life out there especially when they are down and out.

Then there is life out there it's just what we all make it.

I guess some of us that are struggling need to take one day at a time or minute by minute.

Even though a lot of times we are having a rough time in our minds and out there in the real world.

The way I feel is like I'm having a hard time wanting to move on since this abuse. I'm having a hard time wanting to be around people because I'm afraid I'll get abused.

Now since knowing I've had bad experiences with males and females I don't think I really should be around anyone because I think I'll be abused for no reason. Like I've been asking myself will I ever be alright or will I ever be okay to be around people again.

Is there life out there? Are there safe people to be with out there or is there going to always be unsafe people no matter where I go? Especially when people with a kind heart who love to be around people, but by being abused makes me or those who feel the way I do wonder.

Survivor Memories - Anonymous

It's a moment when time stood still

Fear awakened and trust was gone forever
Loneliness became home
Hearts racked with sorrow and sweet dreams turned sour
It's been a long journey, the sun starts to shimmer now and the clouds become memories
Time does offer serenity