Welcome to Break the Silence at Vassar.
Check out our About/FAQ page to learn more about the project and our goals of raising awareness about and preventing personal violation and see the answers to some frequently asked questions. Any additional questions you have about the project can be submitted on this page.
If you want to reach out for help or someone to talk to, the Resources page lists organizations both on- and off- campus who can offer you assistance. UPDATE: JYA Resources have been added to the Resources page. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for additional resources, JYA or other.
Additionally, we have a new Get Informed page which offers helpful information regarding some of the language used on this site and elsewhere in conversation about personal violation, as well as suggestions for productive discussion about personal violation.
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TRIGGER WARNING: The stories below contain explicit descriptions of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, and other forms of personal violation.
I still don’t have words. Part of me still wants to confront you, but…
I am certain, though, that I am surviving through this because of my strength and the collective strength of all other survivors out there. I look back and wonder how it is/was possible to have wasted so much on one person and come out of it being betrayed, taken advantage of – and the part which hurts the most: that you blamed me for it.
You will no longer have a hold on me. I am determined to heal.
To my best friend’s brother: even if I didn’t have a boy friend at the time, I’m not sure if I would have said no. I liked you, I think. You were older, attractive. I was a freshman, you were a junior, and things were not going well with my current high school boyfriend. But I was so drunk that now it’s all a blurry, indefinite mess of memory and I have no idea how I feel about it. I am mad at you for being ignorant, sober and unyielding. I am mad at your vice-like grip, your fingers that undid my buttoned shirt and so much more. It doesn’t count, I told myself. I have a boyfriend, I barely even remember it now so it doesn’t count. I didn’t even remember it until the second time, when I was single, and as you pushed my head down I was assaulted with bits of memory: your hand, groping, your mouth, grabbing, lying like we were now, but with me immobile against the wall. “No, no, I can’t…no…stop, this isn’t a good idea.” As I swallowed it hit me that this was not the first time I had been in this position with you. “How drunk are you?” you asked me then. Too drunk to respond, to know better. I didn’t tell your sister. You had already ruined two of her closest relationships through similar tactics. It took me two times to remember the first; the fact that I have memories that could still be hidden, waiting for a trigger, and this makes me feel more violated than ever. After the second time, I thought of it as a hook up. But as the memories slowly trickle in, I realize that it was more than that. I said no. I could barely see, walk, even stand. But I still said no.
It scares me that I had these secrets locked up inside me, secrets that even I did not know. What other secrets do I hold? When will the onslaught of truth return? Now I am only confused, but then I was confident in my words…no, no, I cant…no…stop…
I just realized I was raped. He’s a senior now and a really nice, dorky guy. I was a freshman. I told him we couldn’t have sex because I was not on birth control and he didn’t have a condom. A month later I found out I was pregnant. When I got my abortion, they told me the date of conception. The day I hooked up with him. I don’t remember having sex. I remember falling asleep before he did. I know i was really sad that night and told him I was sad about a boy I really liked. That made him angry. I know he made me pregnant. I know I said no. I don’t know when the sex happened. Now I think it must have happened when I was asleep because I woke up sore. I hate you. I wish I could tell someone but I’m too ashamed and embarrassed.
in those months when we were, as you termed it, ‘fucking,’ there were several times when it was not consensual, and every time i felt broken afterward. There was no love in our bodies, only the need for control– and every time, you won out.
When I talked to you about it, of course in a way that implicated you much less than you were implicated, in a tone that should have been stronger, you had a collage of responses, seemingly at-the-ready. You said you weren’t a mind-reader. You said you could be having sex with anyone, that you didn’t need to be having sex with me. You said you didn’t understand why I brought it up. You said I was lying. You didn’t have to say that you never respected me, even when we were together, and probably never would.
I haven’t had sex for a very long time. I don’t want to. I’m not sure when or if I will again. What I need I’ve never gotten before, from anyone, and certainly not from you. For now I’m trying my best to get it from myself.
I’m more broken than I let myself realize. What’s worse is that this is the commonest of tales, not to mention the mildest. None of us deserve this.
From ages 10 to 11, I was regularly sexually harassed by my older brother, 4 years my senior. It didn’t seem like a big deal when it was happening. He flashed me on a regular basis, touched me, and humped me from behind, pretending I was a girl. All of it was disguised as simple, normal affection. He eventually left with the cops because he got caught molesting another kid. To this day nobody close to me knows about it.
Although I describe myself as pansexual, I’m often triggered when I try to have sex with men. My femininity is an important aspect of myself, but it’s too often equated with sexual submissiveness – I’ve been shamed for “not getting it up”, as if my genitalia are betraying my queer identity. As if I have to provide physical evidence that I’m attracted to male bodies. An erection becomes a litmus test, a source of self-hatred when I fail.
15 minutes on Google, I found my brother on a mugshot website. Arrested for shoplifting. He looks the same that he always did, but with more facial hair. I haven’t talked to him in nearly a decade. He’s moved in and out of the justice system, through foster homes, juvenile detention facilities, god knows what else. Part of me desperately longs to have my brother back; the prelapsarian and probably fictional one that I worshipped, the one who didn’t hurt people for the hell of it, who gave me my first set of Pokemon cards and a Gameboy Advance. A less merciful part wants to flaunt my success in his face.
Then I remember that he got into Vassar too, because he’s still in my head.
I remember the years when I began to explore my sexuality, when my parents drew comparisons between him and me, demonizing and pathologizing my growing desire, drawing a parallel between queerness and abusiveness in thick black ink. They got into Vassar too.
I don’t have any answers. I wish I did. I don’t have a point, except to come out (anonymously) as a victim of not only the act of abuse, but the process of stigmatization and invalidation. Hopefully it does some good for someone, even if the someone’s just me.
When I was in kindergarden and first grade, I had a little “boyfriend”. He was 2 years older than me but in my grade. Maybe he started school late, got held back…I don’t know. We used to do everything except have actual intercourse. It felt good doing those things with him.
I ended up in therapy years later and my Dr told me I was sexually abused by him. I argued with her…”It felt good” “I liked it”…and she asked me if I thought it was normal to be 5/6 years old and participating in sexual activity. No, it wasn’t normal.
It definately had an impact on my life. Growing up, I was promiscuous.
I am still coming to terms with it today.
I was sexually assaulted last semester. I feel so stupid, even now, that I was emotionally vulnerable then. But then I remember I should stop blaming myself.
I remember saying no when he kissed me, when he proceeded to try to take my clothes off. When he then instead stripped down to his boxers, and climbed on top of me, saying it was his room, he could do whatever he wanted. I said I was uncomfortable. He said that if I wanted to leave I could, but if the people in the living room saw me, they would think I was a slut, and he knew I didn’t want that. I jokingly said there was no consent. A few hours later I managed to leave. The hour we spent talking about what had happened he told me that he thought I was a slut, and nothing was his fault. He was abroad this semester, and he’s finally back on campus.
This week was the very first time this semester I felt scared to leave my room. To leave some of my safe spaces because the fear of running into him cripples me and tears at my soul. If this is what the next year is going to feel like, I’d rather not be here. I’m scared, but I hope that it’ll get better. I know it’ll get better.