Stories

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Welcome to Unapologetically Surviving.

On this page are stories shared by survivors that highlight hope but can also be hard to read. A grounding activity can help you to feel calm and make it easier to read these stories. Do you want to try one of our grounding activities?

I was only 16.

Healing for me is finding myself. And not letting guys take me for granted. I have learned to have respect for myself, and not let guys just use me for sex. It’s hard being young in this generation, because that all they want. Therapy, self-care, gym and family and my bff are the only things that are keeping me moving.

#467

he wouldn’t listen to me when i told him i didn’t want to go to his room. i told him i was too drunk and i didn’t feel well, that i wanted to go back to my room. he took me with him anyway. he stuck his hand in my pants and i told him to stop. he did for a moment, then he tried again. i told him no again, and he did stop. we went to bed. i wish he had done more, because now i’m traumatized and having panic attacks but don’t feel like i should be, because he stopped. i feel even worse for wishing he hadn’t. because then my feelings would be val...

He was 28

This is a horrible journey for any person to go through. We all will heal on our own time, in our own terms, through our own processes. It is a hard journey to travel through but try to find a community around you that can help you through all of this. People who will pick you up, people who will not let you fall, people who will hold your hand and continue to check in and make sure that what is happening is safe for you to go through. If I did not have my friends throughout this journey, it would be a harder process for me. Find your family (...

The Fall and Rising From the Ashes

Never let someone else define your story. Don't back down from your truth. People fear what they don't understand or fathom and someone that hasn't been in your shoes isn't going to truly know where you've been until they've lived it. It's hard to offer advice but my one message of hope is that this does get better and the sun does shine on us again. You're not alone.

Name L

I have been married for 14 years. Within this last year I have come to realize that my marriage is not "normal". I was told early on, by my husband, that he was a narcissist. I quickly dismissed him and said he was nothing like that. Now... Idk. He is very controlling, but we have no sex life. I have to ask to be intimate and 99% of the time the answer is no. This is the confusing to me. I thought narcissist liked sex. As soon as we were married the sex stopped. I know I am in an unhealthy relationship, but I am just now realizing this. For 14...

Hannah

Time is the only healer in reality, but sharing your story with whoever you need to is super important. Let your feeling be validated, seek empathy from loved ones and not sympathy.

1 new update

Desperate to be loved, but at what price?

Healing means peace. Healing means acceptance. Healing means you don't have to prove yourself in order to be loved.

1 new update

Behind closed doors

TW: physical, emotional, sexual abuse
Ever since I started primary school at the age of 4, I’ve been afraid of my dad. I truly believed I was the worst daughter in the world and that I was a huge disappointment to my parents. My Ukrainian immigrant parents were well educated and well respected people, they were quite wealthy and interesting people who had a “perfect” daughter. No one knew what happened behind closed doors, of course, and no one suspected anything as I was taught to hide my feelings and physical signs of abuse (still hate thin...

Rising Above Betrayal

Healing is first acceptance of horrific circumstances, and stop trying to be neutral about it, to not rock the boat, and then to be horrified, and be devastated, and mourn.
A lot of crying and depression and feelings of worthlessnesses are involved.

#316

Healing to me was reclaiming every part of me. My body, my mind, my emotions, my relationships. Healing to me is getting to know myself again. Healing to me comes in waves. Some of it is really, really hard. Other times, it’s beautiful and like a breath of fresh air.

Abuse CAN End

He was my husband, but he was also my abuser. It started when we were dating with some details that didn’t add up. But I never questioned him. Then we got engaged, and I caught myself questioning if this was the person I wanted to spend forever with. But his gaslighting made me feel like I was the crazy one. I felt guilty for wanted to call off the wedding after my parents put so much money in.

My story with complex PTSD, BPD, and bipolar disorder.

I was 3 years old when I was first raped. That time, by my neighbor—my parents’ chiropractor, to be exact. The abuse continued until I was around 5 years old. I was suddenly no longer allowed to go to his house, and I didn’t understand why; after all, we just were “playing doctor.” My traumatized, yet innocent brain couldn’t handle the memories so I chose to never think about it again…until I remembered it all. EVERYTHING.

Dear reader, the following story contains language of self-harm that some may find triggering or discomforting.

WE ARE SURVIVORS and we are not alone

The first time I was raped, I did not know it.
Blaring music and spilled drinks, you were there
Persistent, like a dog. Nagging, Nagging, Nagging.
Hands running down my thighs, the phrase “babe it’ll make me feel better.”
Your words clanging in my head, pounding like hammers against my ears

He was my friend, my lover, but he was also my truest enemy.

Know that no matter how badly you have been hurt, there is someone out there who will love you, accept you, and will believe you. Know that you can love yourself again and that you can trust again. Know that it is not your fault and that you can keep on living. Our trauma does not have to define us; our trauma can help us grow stronger. I am stronger because of what happened to me, I love myself more than ever, and I never thought I could reach this sense of happiness or closure. You can forgive; without forgiving, you can move on without leav...

Life does get better.

Message of hope.
To anyone that’s survived sexual abuse. My therapist told me, “no matter what you did or didn’t do, it wasn’t your fault” that stopped me from blaming myself.
Take time to heal yourself. If you need to, distance yourself from anyone that doesn’t believe you, that included family.

2419

Boundaries, trust, growth

Survivor

I don't know what healing really is, I've never known a life without abuse or mental illness. For me, I guess, healing would mean the chance at having a normal life. I don't think that is possible though.

Dear reader, the following story contains language of self-harm that some may find triggering or discomforting.

Survivor “Small Town Ways”

There are good people in this world. Yes there are those who will victim blame and side with tour abuser. But there are those who will also stick up for your name when you aren’t around. Don’t let the bad people in this world stop you from seeing all the good.

#121

If you’ve been groomed, or are being groomed, please don’t be afraid to cut all contact with them if you can. I know firsthand how terrifying it is, but I promise you you will never do anything better for yourself.
Whether or not you want to go to the police is absolutely up to you. Please don’t feel pressured as if you have to go, or you shouldn’t go. Your mental health comes first.

Mums aren't safe

Growing and embracing the past as something that changed you and made you

Home Sweet Home

Home should be where you're safe right? As a child your home should be your protective little bubble, where your surrounded by people who love you. Even as an adult home should feel safe. You shouldn't be 21 and balling your eyes out as your friend explains to you all the reasons you can't move in with them and assures you despite the obstacles you will be able to leave one day.

survivor: Speaking out about my abuse...

When I turned 24, my life began to change. I started having severe bouts of sadness that seemed to come out of nowhere. They would leave me feeling low and upset. I was confused, asking myself, “What was going on? Why was this happening?”.
As time passed, these episodes started lasting hours, and they came coupled with memories from my past. They were memories of when I was a young 8-year-old boy. I was in disbelief that this was happening after all of this time. Why now?! I had come so far since the abuse. I had a good job, great friends, and...

the car

the lights flashed in my eyes, red and white, blurry but equally bright. i had consumed more than enough alcohol to be out of control of my surroundings but remembered things, clearly.
he had always assured me that he’d keep me safe and would never hurt me. but isn’t that what they all say? the car doors shut, followed by a locking sound. the music started and surrounded me with a sense of safety.

My "Love Story"

he broke up with me three months ago.
At first I was heartbroken, cause we stayed together for nearly three years but recently I started to understand that wasn't love. That love is supposed to hurt you so bad, that one thing is strictly connected to the idea of love and that is: respect.

name, sexual harassment in the work place

Please, do what you ever you can. I promise it will get better, you learn to cope. Contact other survivors and we shall share our stories.

The Snapshot

TW: Incest
I have had the extreme pleasure to be a part of a weekly writers group for over twenty years. Through these years I’ve come to write about my experience of surviving incest both through non-fiction and fiction pieces. Sometimes the fiction can be just as empowering for my voice as the memories. Recently our wonderful leader gave us our starting prompt: “Think of a photograph and enter it.” Here’s what I came up with:

#91

Stay strong, you are not alone.

Relationships Do Not Equate to Consent

In the beginning, he was the perfect boyfriend. Since our first date, we would see each other every single day and we shared the deepest, darkest secrets of our lives within a few weeks of meeting each other. He took me to his favorite places and brought me flowers, met my dog and my family. He was sweet, hardworking, dedicated and placed me on a high pedestal. His family was the best, treated me with such respect and welcomed me like I was their own. I knew we were going to be together for a long time and I was happy – for about 3 months. Fro...

I Was Only 15

TW: sexual violence, child abuse
This is something I’ve never spoken about like this, never sought help for and still think about all the time. When I was a 15 year old virgin, I was raped by a man I met 2 months prior and someone who knew I had no intention of having sex until I was married. MK approached me outside McDonalds and my friend gave my number to him. We started speaking and started meeting up. We never even kissed. I never allowed him to touch me sexually and I never touched him sexually. He was someone I really liked even though...

What Does a Pinky Promise Mean In Terms of Consent?

TW: sexual violence
1 gallon of Diva detergent costs $71.95. His apartment reeked of its sweet scent, clogging my pores and cutting off my airways. When I folded my clothes the morning after, the faint scent of the detergent made my stomach churn and I immediately threw up.

Survivor

TW: sexual violence, child abuse
I was about 8 and at that time I used to live in a big house with my parents and my cousins. My oldest cousin was 12 and we never really talked to each other. One day I was alone with him and he asked me to come downstairs and then when I did he locked the door, proceeded to take my clothes off and then rape me. After I cried and cried he asked me to fuck off. I ran to my bedroom and cried. I kept all of this inside me for 6 years. I told my parents recently and they have taken legal action since.

It Doesn’t Matter

TW: sexual violence
We dated for a long time. He supported me the most and we were always together, like our identities merged into one. Looking back I know it as codependency. Looking back I know there were signs, but I wasn’t educated enough to see them. He made me think I was the abuser after it all ended.

Stronger Than You Think

One of my sexual assaults still lives in the same city as I do..in 2017; I hadn’t seen him in a year. I walked out a building and he was there. My cab had just arrived. I could not let him feel he got to me. I walked to the car and got in. I felt safe the driver was there. The driver took like what seem like forever to go. My assailant was right there. He shouted just loud enough that I could hear…What he said “was remember me. What my name…” I said his name….As soon as I got home it was or fight or flight thing… I stayed.

Not Alone

TW: sexual violence
I am a survivor.
I don’t know a lot of what happened when I was small. I only have short memories of incidents, and then it’s black. I know they’ll come back to haunt me someday. Especially because I want to know what happened to me. I know men, particularly my mom’s boyfriends, were involved. But I can’t remember.

Once Was Already Too Many Times

TW: Description of sexual assault and rape included
I, like many others, don’t talk about it much. I’ve always been one to deal with bad things on my own. I don’t enjoy burdening other people with the knowledge of my problems. Even just thinking about it puts a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. Every muscle in my body feels week as I begin to think about how I should tell this story. I will preface this by saying that I was raised Christian. I have always had Christian beliefs and values deep in my heart. I believe that sex – at leas...

My Path Back to Myself

TW: sexual assault
I’m going to begin by saying that I have moved forward by the means that made it possible for me to do so, but I encourage others to do what is best for them. It has taken a lot for me to post to here given that beyond my attacker and myself, only two other people in my life know about my rape. I tend to internalize my problems to handle them, and only when comfortable internally do I ever truly express things externally. I am not one to ascribe to the title of “victim” despite being victimized, so sharing here I suppose is...

Where Time Stands Still

TW: description of sexual assault
Deep breath.
The thing that I hate about my story is that while I hate that it happened to me, I hate how similar it is to so many other people’s stories. I don’t mean that I wish that there had been a unique or standout factor in my rape (wow, even typing that word makes breathing a chore), but that it kills me that so many others know exactly what I am talking about despite there only being some differences in our respective situations, and likewise, I know exactly what they’re talking about. I don’t know ho...

I Don’t Talk About It Much

TW: sexual violence
“I don’t talk about it much.” It’s my phrase, my shield, my deflection. I say it happened to me, but I don’t talk about it much, that it’s not about that night, but who I’ve become after. They don’t know it’s because I can’t talk about it, that if I say it out loud it becomes real, that the details exist in someone else’s mine and not just my own. I keep hidden inside of me the flash of the bartender I was trying to ask for help but my body couldn’t make the words because it was lethargic and incapacitated who looked at me...

Safety Exit

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