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Survivor Stories

It was my 15th birthday. I didn't have anything big planned. I never was one to celebrate birthdays, so a guy friend of mine offered to take me out for the day...just to hang out, get some lunch, and maybe a movie. We ended up going to the beach. We were walking around, just enjoying the view, when we ran into three of his friends. I knew the guys from school, they were all older than me. At first I felt a bit uncomfortable, being the only girl with four big football players. I should've gone with that feeling and left...but I didn't.

My friend suggested we all go back to his house and watch TV and hang out. His parents were out of town, so we'd have his big house all to ourselves. Initially, I didn't want to go, but then I figured, he's one of my best friends, we are just going to do normal stuff like we always do at his house. There's just going to be some more testosterone in the room. So we all met up at my friend's house a little while later.

It was about 4:00 pm, and we were all sitting on the couch, watching music videos, and laughing, and having fun. But then my friend came over and sat really close to me. He started tickling me, all over, and I was laughing, and squirming and eventually I told him to stop. He didn't stop.

He started to get rough and I was yelling at him to "get off, get off!" He went on to pin my wrists down to the couch, and pushed my legs down with his body. I completely forgot about the three other guys that were there until I heard their disgusting laughs and saw them pointing their fingers at me. I started screaming at the top of my lungs. I screamed until my chest was burning. That didn't stop my "friend" from tearing my shirt off, and pulling off my jeans, leaving me almost naked on his couch. He then told his friend to take the rest of my clothes off. Then my "friend" climbed on top of me and he raped me. My friend raped me.

After he was done, he stumbled off, and one of his friends came over and started touching me, and groping me. I knew I was screaming, I could hear myself screaming, but no one else did. No one saved me. The second guy proceeded to rape me over and over. I was so scared, the fear took over and I stopped feeling pain after about an hour. I was numb. I couldn't even hear their laughing anymore. I couldn't feel their hot breath or smell them.

All four of them took their turns with me that night. For over 6 or 7 hours, I was repeatedly gang-raped. I remember being conscious throughout the whole thing, but I wasn't aware of what was happening the whole time. I remember coming to the conclusion that I was dying, or that I was dead. I wondered who was going to feed my dog the next day, and who was going to have all my Tori Amos CD's, who would tell my mom that her daughter was dead. When I had agreed to let my friend take me out to celebrate my 15th birthday, I didn't expect this. I didn't expect that I would lose so much in one day. I lost so much innocence, so much of my heart.

At about 11:00pm or midnight, the four guys propped me up, and threw a towel at me so I could clean myself up. I was very bloody and sweaty. They had hit me and slapped me a lot. I noticed chunks of hair on the couch and carpet that they had pulled out. I saw that I had cuts and scratches all over my body, and I started to cry. The guys started to mock me, saying things like, "Poor little slut, aww, couldn't handle it could you, little whore." They told me to get dressed and get the hell out. They also said if I ever told anyone what had happened, they would torture and kill me. They said if I ever told anyone, the pain I felt now would not even come close in comparison to the pain they would inflict on me if I did tell.

I remember barely being able to walk out of the house, and noticing cars parked outside neighboring houses. I collapsed and started to cry. Why didn't they hear my screams? Somebody must've been here when all this was happening. I crawled to the edge of the sidewalk and saw my reflection in the water in the gutter. I saw my mangled face out of one eye. The other eye was completely swollen shut. I washed myself off with gutter water...I just wanted to be clean. I felt dirty, and scrubbed myself with leaves and sticks. I got up, and made my way to the nearest strip mall where there was a 7-11 with a pay phone. I called a girlfriend of mine and asked her to come pick me up.

As soon as she drove up she came and held me. I tried so incredibly hard to fight back the tears. I asked her what was wrong, and why he was hugging me. She said I looked like I just got beat up...I told her that my friend and I had been at the beach all day, and I got hurt surfing and I was just tired. She was very skeptical I could tell, but she didn't ask any questions.

For a year and a half, that was the last time anyone said anything about what happened to me. I didn't tell a soul, except for one. Tori Amos. The very night I was raped, I went home, and popped Little Earthquakes in. I listened to Me and a Gun over and over and over again the whole night. Then, I can remember when the sun rose, I played Silent All These Years, and I knew Tori would be there for me for the rest of my life. I couldn't tell friends, or family. Al I could do for a year and a half was write letters to Tori that I would never send. I would listen to Tori, and know that she could understand me. Not just because she herself is a survivor, but because she is a strong woman, who is honest with herself, as well as her loyal listeners and admirers.

The turning point for me came when I finally told a friend about my rape a year and a half after the incident. The first thing she said was, "Why didn't you ever call RAINN?" I didn't expect that reaction, but I guess it was a logical response. I had been volunteering for RAINN since it's founding in 1994, and I still continued to help out during the year and a half of silence. I honestly never thought to call RAINN and receive help from a counselor. I was too ashamed, too scared of what the boys would do if they ever knew I told someone. But I did call RAINN soon after I talked to my friend, and I was put in touch with a wonderful center in my area. I attended both group and singular sessions of therapy. I found that the secret to recovery is doing something for yourself though. This is where my story takes an amazing leap, and I am smiling once again.

In May of 1997, a nationwide RAINN day was held, and all over the country there were PSA's (public service announcements) about abuse awareness, and rape awareness. There was one point in the day when radio and TV stations aired Tori's Silent All These Years as part of the RAINN day. This inspired me to hold my own RAINN day at my high school in correlation with the nationwide RAINN day. So, I convinced my administrators at my high school to air two Tori songs, Me and a Gun, and Silent All These Years every hour. I also held workshops and mini-seminars where there were open discussions, questions and answer sessions, and many tears.

At one point during the day, I gave a speech in front of the entire student body, teachers, staff, everyone. I didn't tell my personal story, but I did tell other's stories, I gave startling statistics, and I smiled. I was smiling, and showing confidence and I was making eye contact with people. I had never been so afraid, yet so proud in my entire life. I felt such rage towards the boys who had raped me, but when I saw them in my audience, MY audience, I looked at each of them, and I knew, at that very moment, I was hurting them more than they could ever, ever hurt me. Sure, I still had some scars, and physical pain, but even though they had taken so much from me, I was giving back so much to girls and boys at my school who were afraid to ask about this. Kids at my school had no idea RAINN existed, and they were so grateful to me for holding my RAINN day. Girls and boys came up to me for days after and hugged me, and told me how strong, and amazing I was. I was so surprised by the reactions I got from the kids at my school. I got phone calls from so many kids asking if we could talk, and if I could help them. One girl was being molested by her Uncle. She was 14, a freshman, and she turned to me! It was so empowering to me what I had done. I felt such gratification and happiness. And the fact that the boys who had raped me knew I felt this way, made it even better.

My RAINN Day was an incredibly big step in my recovery. If it weren't for Tori, RAINN, and my friends who had been there for me, I don't know where I'd be. Since I was raped on my 15th birthday over four years ago, I have come a long way. In September of last year, I appeared on The Roseanne Show, where I told my story to Roseanne and Tori, face to face. However, I hid my identity, and remained anonymous. My experience with meeting Tori was indescribable. We hugged, and I looked into her eyes. She just nodded, and said, "I know honey, I know." Later in the show, she stopped production and told everyone she needed to do something. She brought me over to the piano, where she sat down and grabbed the mic. "5 AM, Friday morning..." She started singing Me and a me. That was incredible. I will never forget that day.

My second chance to thank Tori came when I went to New York to tape a segment for ABC's 20/20, with Shannon, the owner of "Welcome to Barbados," another wonderful survivor site. In New York, we all told our stories, told of how Tori has had an impact on our lives, and we got to hang out with Tori. We shared hugs, lip gloss, and held hands. It was a magical night, and very healing for Shannon, Tori, and me.

So here I am, a sophomore in college, working a couple jobs, barely getting by. But I am trying so hard to be strong, and with the help of friends(especially Shannon), RAINN, The Roseanne Show, all the people at 20/20 and of course Tori, I am on my road to full recovery. It's like I've told Tori many times before when I've seen her...and she always grins this HUGE smile when I tell her this..."You didn't break me boys."


website =

im = CaseofAmos, YKantJulieType

My name is Nikki & I'm a 26 year old survivor of incest. The road to recovery for me has been, honestly, less than successful--as a result of my "inner-child" desires. But I've never been one to quit, so I am determined to carry on with my on-going therapy.

My abuse lasted for 11 painstaking years (ages 4-15), & as a result, I'm still "paying my dues" ten years later. My story is, I suppose, a typical one. I was the oldest & only girl in a family of 3 children & I was always expected to "set" the example for my younger siblings. My mother & father--both East Coast natives--married quite young (both 19). My mother, I assume, married more for convenience. She absolutely hated the city, & my father--well, only God knows why he married mom. As the saying goes: "Chaos begets Chaos", & so my journey into "Hades" began...

Before I even started Kindergarten, I was being tutored in the "finer points" of sex education by my "doting" father. Fondling & oral sex had become a regular part of the "curriculum" & I wasn't going to graduate any time soon. I admit, much to my chagrin, that the touching & fondling was the only way for me to spend any time with him. He was in the service & worked the "swing" shifts, & often I didn't see him for days at a time.

I think the TDY's were the best times for me though. Six months without any abuse is a welcome relief to any grade-school age kid worn down. The abuse seemed to get worse as I got older & "bloomed". At the age of 12, I had already experienced in sexuality what most 7th graders are just then "discovering". I distinctly remember one incident, when he almost raped me, but my mother walked in on us. She went into "shock" & still can't "remember" the incident until this day.

I feel quite fortunate, however, that it wasn't much worse. I could have been JonBenet--overbearing Mom, prancing before a crowd in tacky hair, cheap costumes & make-up...I guess I had it pretty good.

In all seriousness, though, I hope that by reading this story-- young people, especially--will understand that healing takes time. I didn't understand that when I was 16, & still "shell shocked" from the "trauma" of revealing the crime. "Why am I not getting better?" I would cry. It won't be easy, I'm telling you new survivors now. You will feel like you just stepped out of Vietnam--because it is "Vietnam"--of the brain. Think about what those guys went through all of those years--& what they are still going through now.

Hang in there, get help , & most importantly, get involved. There's nothing better than helping someone escape their pain. By working together as a society, we can take on this social disease & destroy community at a time. Don't be afraid to get help if you are being victimized. You are a human being & you deserve to be safe. All kids do.

As far as my own survival is concerned, I'm still on that rocky road, but I know that I can do it. I have support, & that counts for a lot. God is watching over us all, & he, more than anyone, can help us survive.


My parents had some very good friends several years back, when I was 12, and my younger sister and I spent a lot of time with this couple. We shopped and had a great time-the husband made a good living and the wife knew exactly how to spend it. I enjoyed the attention and I was with them all the time.

The wife was very ill when she was young and to this day still has repercussions of the illness. She has a multitude of problems sleeping, and many times she wakes up in the middle of the night and has to sit up for a while, so she goes to the living room, and usually ends up falling asleep in the chair.

At the time, they lived in a small apartment, one bedroom, and did not even have a couch. They were in the process of saving up in order to buy a nice house-they already had it picked out, but they were waiting for the sellers to move out, and were giving the sellers all the time they needed to do so. Thus, when I stayed there, which was just about every other weekend, I slept in their bedroom. She in the middle, he on one side, and myself on the other side.

I do not remember the wife leaving the room the night it started, but I woke up with his arms around me. I was only 12, and I did not know how to react. I knew that him holding me was probably wrong, but I trusted him, and went back to sleep. I woke up again to feel him fondling my breasts and touching my vaginal area. I was speechless and frozen in shock. He was a large guy, and when he rolled over on top of me, I could hardly breathe. He said he wanted me, asked if he could have me, to which I said no. He rolled back over and I laid awake for a while, scared to death to move.

Not too long after I woke up again. The wife was still gone, and he was touching me again. He reached his hand down between my legs and inserted two fingers into my vagina. It hurt so bad. He told me that it was supposed to feel good, and asked if I enjoyed it. Again he rolled on top of me and said he wanted me, to which I replied that I wanted to remain a virgin. I guess you could say he "respected" that-he didn't have sex with me, but he went through the motions, essentially pleasuring himself while on top of me.

He went to work the next day, and I didn't tell the wife. I didn't know what to say or what to think. I couldn't call my parents because they were out of town. When the wife walked down the road to get some groceries, I cried and cried, but managed to suck it up before she got back. I told myself I'd be home tomorrow; I'd be okay, just one more night. I told them that I'd sleep out in the living room that night, and the wife was afraid…I think she suspected something. So I slept in the living room on the floor. I woke up when the wife came in there-she hadn't been able to sleep. We sat up and watched a movie, and we both drifted off.

I woke up again to find the husband picking me up off the floor, and he carried me into the bedroom. He laid me down on the bed, told me he had to have me, started fondling me, inserted his fingers, had a grand time, I suppose. It hurt so much. It was like a game-"How many fingers do you think I can get in you?" he asked. Then, before I realized what was happening, he pushed his penis in me. He had already penetrated me all the way with his hands. He enjoyed himself to no end. He rolled me over and raped me from behind. I bit the pillow to keep from screaming.

He finally finished and said that it was wonderful, and asked when he could do it again. I cried and asked, "what happens if I get pregnant?" to which he replied that he would take care of me. He then asked me to perform oral sex. I did not want to, but I was so afraid. He finally said, okay, I didn't have to. I asked him if he was mad, and he said no, just disappointed. I laid awake crying as he went to sleep, and I was so afraid to move.

I guess my crying woke him up, and he rolled on top of me to rape me again. He enjoyed what he was doing so much, and every move he made hurt so much, I cried harder. He finally said that he wouldn't "take me" there anymore if I would perform oral sex, to which I finally agreed out of pure fear of him doing it again. He sat on top of me and forced his penis in my mouth. I gagged and screamed, to which he just forced it in further. When he had finally satisfied himself with my mouth, he told me to go in the bathroom and wash off, because he didn't want to kiss me with me tasting nasty. So I did, and I cried.

He came in after a while and asked what was taking so long. I didn't want to look at him. He put his arms around my waist and bent me over the toilet and massaged my back. He then picked me up and took me back to the bed, where he broke his "promise" by "taking" me once again. I was so sore. We then heard his wife in the living room, and he rolled over quickly. She didn't come in, and he pulled my back to him and grabbed my hips to continue. I cried and cried, and was unspeakably relieved when the door opened and the wife came in.

I sat straight up in the bed and she turned on the light. She asked her husband why I had no clothes on, and why there was blood in the bed, and he said the blood was because I had just started my period. The tears in my eyes gave everything away, and she told me to get dressed. She and I left their apartment and went to my house, where my parents had finally returned (this was about 4 in the morning). She told me to tell them, which I did, crying the entire time.

It turns out that he had made sexual advances to my mother only the week before and they had confronted him with it, and he had promised to stop and that he would never do anything like it again. He's in jail now, and single. It did not take much…his wife had witnessed it. I do not know what she goes through. I know she feels guilty for ever leaving me alone with him, but from what she said, there's no way she could have known that he was going to do this.

I never let the incident bother me, because I knew that I had won. I made all A's in high school, graduated with over a 4.0, and I'm successful college student now. No one from school knew. I never told anyone else. It was never publicized. The only one that knows is my fiancée, whom I know is very proud of me for not running away from it.

Please, I urge you, don't hide it. You can overcome it, too. Yes, maybe that horrible person took your (my) virginity, but I believe that virginity is more than just an experience. I consider myself a virgin still, and I'm proud to know that my husband will have, perhaps not a physically pure wife, but a sexually pure wife. It's not your fault, just as it was not mine. I'm praying for each and every one of you, because I know what it's like to feel helpless during an attack. But please, please do not let these horrible experiences get in the way of your happiness.


Tell your story.

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