Sexual Violence Survey

Hi there. I am conducting research for a project I am doing for my Women’s Studies class about sexual abuse. I am collecting stories from survivors of sexual abuse and forming them into a short documentary to give a face to this important issue. Here is the primary survey for everyone to fill out, regardless of sexual history, and here is the follow-up survey for survivors to share their stories. I would greatly appreciate if you could share this information so that we can get as many submissions as possible. Thank you!


submitted by aintlifepeachy

The Project

Trigger Warning

*This site contains content that may be triggering to survivors of rape, sexual assault and abuse. For places you can go for support and advice please see our‘Get Support’ page.*

‘Using The Words’ is a project to share stories of surviving rape and sexual abuse. On these pages, you will find the voices of people who are living through these experiences. They discuss what happened to them, the impact it had, and how they coped with what was happening. The stories are told by survivors, and the people close to them. Many of these stories will be published as a zine in Autumn 2013, but as we collect stories and edit for the zine we’re going to use this blog to share some of the stories that have been sent to us. If you would like to send in a story, please see the ‘Tell Your Story’ page.

We started this project as part of a journey of personal healing. We are survivors, and we are the partners, friends, and family of survivors. We wanted to reach out and understand how our experiences connect to others, and to try to find a language to name what was going on. This is the place we chose. And these are some reasons we chose it.

Sharing our knowledge

We wanted to create a resource that could be shaped and shared. As we go on our personal journeys we often feel very alone, and unsure of how to cope with what is happening. We wanted to create a space where people could see that they are very far from alone, and strategies for survival are shared. We also wanted it to be a space where people could read testimonies from survivors and supporters about parts of the journey yet to come, in the hope it would help them to feel more prepared.

Creating a language of survival

It can feel very scary to try to name and describe our experiences. The word ‘rape’ can make people visibly flinch, or look away. Though for each person the words are different, we want to try and break some of the stigma of discussing rape and abuse. We wanted to create a space where it is ok to use whatever words we need to describe what happened, and where together we can create our own language of survival. This is also a space where friends and relatives can come to start to listen, to confront these words, and to prepare themselves to listen to those close to them.

In our own communities

Through our journeys we have come to understand how ‘out there’ others think rape and abuse is. The media would have us think it only happens in other countries, in the 1970s, to other types of people, to weak people, to ‘victims’. We wanted to create this space to show that it happens everywhere, all the time, to people who are like you as well as people who aren’t, to people you know.

That’s why we write, and why we would like others to write with us.

Awesome new project.



Angela found the courage to report her rapes to local police. However, her attempts to seek justice have been put on hold, as Maryland State Attorneys are unwilling to put Angela’s rapist on trial. They typically only prosecute ‘stranger’ rapes and have moved to dismiss the case.

Please sign & pass on the petition to Maryland’s Attorney General asking them to move to prosecute Angela’s rapist. Because there should be no leniency for rapists.

trigger warnings on abortion posts


I am sick to death of not seeing them.

I do not care how fucking pro-choice you are, you NEED to acknowledge that abortions are not always pleasant experiences.

I am 100% pro-choice, I know that the option to have an abortion is a human right, but I also understand completely that it may not always be an option someone is 100% positive about for any reason.

I also understand that pro-lifers like to use the argument that abortions can lead to mental health issues for the person involved, but you cannot counter that argument by denying the fact that it happens altogether, arguing that all people are happy and relieved to have had an abortion and ignoring that your discussions may trigger some people.

Some things you might want to say to the abortion/mental health argument:

-the person involved may be feeling undue guilt due to having a pro-life biased education

-the person may be choosing abortion because it is the least unpleasant outcome, though it is not altogether pleasant to have to make that decision as they would desire to carry the fetus to full term should they have the option (though I don’t encourage the use of this example ALL the time as it perpetuates the idea that some people have less justifiable abortions, you could use the example of someone who may have a health condition which puts them at risk of dying should they give birth)

If you see people posting regarding abortion, PLEASE encourage them to post a trigger warning. 

[TRIGGER WARNING] 10 things never to say to someone with an eating disorder


1. But you eat!

Of course they do. They have to or they would die, very quickly. It doesn’t matter if you saw your friend eating a chocolate bar two weeks ago, or they eat something at lunch every day: they can still have a serious problem. They might calorie count, purge, only eat ‘safe’ foods, restrict what they eat: but they will still eat something, sometimes.

2. But you have a great figure! (especially when said to an underweight person)

Society has managed to twist everybody’s eyes to the point where underweight or ill looks normal or desirable. If somebody ever says ‘I’m Xlbs underweight’ and you reply with this, that’s telling them ‘there’s nothing wrong with you’. We hear it as ‘if you gain anymore, you’ll lose that figure and be fat’.

  3. But you aren’t thin?

     Eating disordered patients are not always underweight. A diagnosis of anorexia has a weight requirement at the moment, yes- but being 5lbs underweight isn’t always obvious. Unless somebody is very underweight, it can be difficult to tell. That isn’t even the point- severity is not the same as weight. A person can be very ill with an eating disorder and be normal or overweight. Not to mention that actually telling a sufferer that they aren’t thin is often heard as ‘you’re fat’. Plain and simple.

4. Just eat [X] and avoid [Y] and you’ll be fine.

This tends to be the ‘just eat a healthy diet and you won’t get fat!’ type thing. It’s more than a diet. It’s not like a sufferer can just ‘snap out of it’. Advising a healthy eating routine is sweet, but it’s a little like showing a person with cleanliness based OCD a light cleaning routine. The second part gets its whole own entry-

5. Avoid [Y].

On stories about treatment, people are always asking ‘well why are they feeding them pizza and things? Can’t they have grilled fish and vegetables? It’s healthier!’ It’s healthier in that it has may have nutrients, sure. But you’re mixing up ‘good for weight loss’ with ‘healthy’, as many people do. Low calorie foods are hard to gain weight on- not to mention that learning to eat all foods is very important in recovery. If I somehow managed to gain weight on lean meat and salads but couldn’t consider chips without a breakdown, I wouldn’t be recovered or healthy.

6. Just snap out of it!

If we could do this, none of us would have a problem.

7. Let me tell you about my diet-

Not only is this boring (sorry, it’s true), it’s very triggering. If you enthuse about how you feel sooo much better and happier and you’ve lost 8lbs since you cut out bread, I’m going to think about the toast I ate this morning and feel like crying. You may be in a very different place from me- you might genuinely need to lose some weight. But I’m not in a place where I can make that distinction right now: if you talk about how you never eat carbs, I’ll think ‘clearly I don’t need to either’- which isn’t true.

8. Wow, you ate a lot at that meal! Well done!

I’ve heard this used to mean ‘you tried hard, well done’. It’s a sweet sentiment, but all I hear from that sentence is ‘wow, you ate a lot’. And I tend to hear ‘a lot’ as ‘too much’.

9. Why don’t you just go out for a run if you feel fat?

I’ve had this advised as a way to deal with the food I’m eating. You can see the logic- anxious over being unhealthy/overeating could be answered with healthy activities like exercise. But exercising whenever you eat is unhealthy. It’s very unhealthy. Doing actions purely to burn off calories is purging, and that’s not a habit any of us need.

10. Oh, I had a friend with an eating disorder! Yeah, she got down to XXlbs and was in hospital for months, it was awful, she didn’t eat for days on end…

We’re competitive. We shouldn’t be; but we are. If you stand there and tell me about how thin your friend was, I think ‘well, she was really sick. I’m nothing like that, I can’t be sick!’ I feel ashamed and upset and- yes, jealous because she did it better than me. If you’ve come to identify yourself purely as your weight and your disorder, as many people do, hearing this is like hearing ‘you aren’t good enough’.