Anonymous Story: the biblical wife?

Anonymous Story: the biblical wife?

I would tell her I am not well or now is not the right time. She would ignore my plea and play with my penis. I would many times tell her to stop but she would then come on top of me. I would tell her to get off and to keep me quiet she would cover my mouth with her hand to keep me from talking.

She took my advice, and for that I am ashamed.

She took my advice, and for that I am ashamed.

She told me what happened and that she was thinking of reporting the man who was harassing her. I believed her, and I told her so. I gave her the names of some people at the firm who had been supportive of me.
And I told her not to report it.
I told her it was pointless, that the firm would not support her and the only outcome would be a damaged career.
She took my advice, and for that I am ashamed.

Follow up to a Story: There is no perfect healing

Follow up to a Story: There is no perfect healing

I always imagined trauma was like being followed. Every once in a while you'll pull far enough ahead of the lights, just to see them catch up again. Except in this case, I feel that when it's really close, I'm splayed out on the pavement, the high beams blinding me with those gnarly details again. 

WYR Welcomes Katie!

WYR Welcomes Katie!

We are happy to have Katie on our team and part of our community, and look forward to her blog posts. This survivor has a lot to say, and a strong voice.

Lost: The Trail from Sexual Abuse to Addiction

Lost: The Trail from Sexual Abuse to Addiction

It takes courage to reach out for help. Treatment extends further than a rehabilitation facility and may span from weeks to years. Substance addicts with a history of sexual abuse, however, have a more specific set of needs that will be addressed in treatment. There are countless therapy and family groups available so victims of sexual abuse and struggling addicts don’t feel alone in their recovery.

WYR Welcomes Blogger Samantha McCoy!

WYR Welcomes Blogger Samantha McCoy!

I am delighted to welcome Samantha McCoy to the WYR team! Samantha’s story is one that is I am learning is increasingly common: she was assaulted by a police officer. As this receives more coverage in the media, we also start to receive more

A letter from me to you…

A letter from me to you…

Thank you for trusting me with your Stories. Thank you for your vulnerability, and for your courage. On behalf of all survivors, thank you for helping us see that we are not alone. And thank you for being patient with me.

Have PTSD, Will Travel

Have PTSD, Will Travel

I know, logically, he is not going to rape me; but it is impossible to reason with myself in these moments because I am not even here. I am 6,000 miles away. I am not a confident, independent, experienced traveler. I am a sixteen year old girl who blames herself.

This is not who I am.

This is not who I am.

I look at her and feel resentment. Her pretty hair and tanned skin and genuine smile make me angry. She’s 16 years old, a virgin. She’s an honour student with plans to go to law school. She has hope. Now she’s a painful reminder that I don’t get to be any of those things again. Someone should tell her that her dreams don’t come true.

A Letter to my Rapist

A Letter to my Rapist

I don't want an apology because I know you're not sorry. I know you'd do it again. I know you did.
But there is one thing…
Say your own name. Own what you did. Admit you raped me.
Or just wait, wondering when I will.

The look on his face…

The look on his face…

Clever things never come to me until after the moment has passed, and this one was about to, so I blurted out "She's right. It's not funny." And he looked right in my eyes and smiled and said "What's that, love?" And I said, "Rape. Rape isn't funny. You should feel ashamed." I'd like to tell you about the look on his face when a stranger scolded him. But I can't because I ran out of the laundromat, about to cry.

Where I have been, and where I am right now

Where I have been, and where I am right now

I want to control my own story and I can’t do that any more. My fears and vulnerabilities, this post included, are here for you and the world to see. It was and is important to me to use my real name. Maybe someday it won’t matter. Today it does.

Let me be clear: that chapter is not closed. I promised you before and I promise you now, when you’re ready to share your story, I am here. We are part of a community that I’m not only proud of by rely on for strength on the days I feel I’m slipping backward.

Losing my voice

Losing my voice

I've spent the last 7 months finding my voice as a survivor of sexual assault, as a feminist, as an activist – where was my voice when I needed it? I've healed and I've grown and I've come a long way, I know I have. I thought I'd come further than this but last night I learned I'm still powerless. I wasn't drunk or incapacitated. I wasn't in a dark alley, alone and vulnerable. I was in a crowded bar in my own city, with friends… and I couldn't say anything.

WYR Welcomes Blogger Lindsay Lucas-Bartlett!

I’m excited to announce a new member of our blogging family! I recently met Lindsay when she shared her story on WYR, she was introduced to the site by a mutual friend. Lindsay and I actually have a few things

A Father’s Day Post on Protecting your Daughters – Part 2

So if I have one piece of advice for how to protect your daughters it is this: empower her. Embrace her femininity. Show her how to respect women – in the way you talk about yourself and about other women. Teach her to expect no less from men. Teach her that she’s in control of her body and that no one has the right to violate her physical or sexual boundaries. Raise her to be the type of woman who knows that sexual assault is never her fault.

A Father’s Day Post on Protecting your Daughters – Part 1

It’s hard not to end this post thinking “what could I have done differently?” My logical brain knows that I couldn’t have prevented my rapes. I was doing the best I could with the tools I had at the time. But thinking my nieces have a chance, that they’ll have tools to protect themselves…that makes me hopeful.

WYR Welcomes Blogger Heather Inanuale!

WYR Welcomes Blogger Heather Inanuale!

When I launched WYR six months ago I didn't really know where it was going, but I knew it would grow into something special. I was right, and today I am absolutely thrilled to announce that another blogger has joined our little family!

PTSD: My Silver Lining

PTSD: My Silver Lining

I try to see the silver lining in this horribly frightening sounding condition: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you can get past the flashbacks, the panic attacks, and the generalized anxiety (honestly, who can though?) you can thank biology or physiology or whatever science it is that protects you from the things you shouldn't have had to experience in the first place.

A House in the Sky

I hated myself more. Why are these words burning themselves into my brain, echoing in my ears? Because it's how I felt. I look back at the passage and realized I need only replace two words: 'Abdullah' with my rapist's name, and 'Somalia' with 'the party' and this is just a beautifully written account of what I was thinking for the years that followed my first rape – and to be perfectly honest, haunt me today.

WYR welcomes blogger Elizabeth Halpin!

I’m excited to announce that When You’re Ready is no longer a one woman show – and to welcome Elizabeth Halpin as a blogger on whenyoureready.org! Elizabeth will be blogging about her own experience as a survivor of sexual assault and also collecting stories from around the web and posting them here.

WYR Partnership with the Pixel Project

The When You're Ready Project is excited to announce a partnership with The Pixel Project. During the month of May (in honour of Mother's Day) the Pixel Project will feature 5 stories from the WYR Community as part of their Survivor Stories series which features daily stories from survivors (with links back to our community).
The Pixel Project has been around for over 5 years and raises awareness and funds to end all forms of violence against girls women: not only sexual assault but domestic violence, female genital mutilation, human trafficking and others. It is an amazing organization and I highly recommend you check it out.

#TheresNoPerfectVictim

I started writing this post last Wednesday – the day the hashtag #TheresNoPerfectVictim was trending. That was almost a week ago. My intention was that, at this point in the post, I'd list the top 10 (of many more) reasons why I didn't report. And now I realize I'm not ready. Like so many survivors, there is more to the story that you don't know – that you may never know. Fifteen years later, I'm not even ready to tell you why I didn't report.

Laughing about rape (not what you think)

There is no pity. You've both survived, you know the other is okay (or is going to be okay). You can just let go, just be yourself. There's no need to worry about how this impacting them, whether you are burdening them.

And then you find yourselves laughing about it. Wait, WHAT? No, of course it is not funny. But being able to roll your eyes with someone over ignorant comments, completely disregarding any obligation to be sensitive or politically correct – that's when you know you're not alone. That's taking back control over your experience.

Radio Interview on Calgary News Talk 770 – January 16, 2015

Radio Interview on Calgary News Talk 770 – January 16, 2015

Lauren Reid’s interview with Rob Breakenridge and Roger Kingkade on Calgary Newstalk 770 morning radio show  

Macleans Magazine (Project 97) – January 15, 2015

Macleans Magazine (Project 97) – January 15, 2015

After actress Lucy DeCoutere publicly accused former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshiof sexually assaulting her, Lauren Reid felt inspired to share her experiences of rape with the world—for the very first time—and create a platform for others to do the same. So last December, the 30-year-old who works at a Toronto-based privacy research company started WhenYoureReady.org, a website for survivors of sexual assault to tell their stories and support each other. She posted about the three times in her life she has been raped.

National Post – January 15, 2015

National Post – January 15, 2015

Lauren Reid has a unique contribution to the ongoing conversation about unreported rapes and the climate for addressing sexual assault claims.
Raped three times — once in high school and twice in university — her jaw-dropping experience had never been documented in any official record or police report.
Now, the 30-year-old Toronto resident is using her professional background in big data and privacy to push for a national, anonymous, user-controlled and self-reported database on sexual assault.
It is an ambitious project, unprecedented in its scope, but it comes with its own set of complicated challenges and concerns.

Trolls

Within minutes of being published, the National Post story had over 20 comments. I know, I know: DON'T READ THE COMMENTS. But I had to. I've never been the subject of a news story before and I was excited to see what people would think of the Project. For hours, not a single positive comment came in – lots of misogyny, hate, victim-blaming and cruelty…all the things that led me to launch this project in the first place.

WYR: Defining the vision

Today I wrote the vision for the When You're Ready Project, and having set a direction feels like a giant accomplishment. I've figured out how I can make a difference in a way that I'm uniquely positioned to do. Through conversations with friends with insight and perspective on several aspects of the Project, and a lot of reflection, I have discovered the answer to the questions: "what are you trying to do?" and "what do you need from me?"

Here’s what happens when you share your story

I've been trying since I got home to sit down and write a post about how the first day of the When You're Ready Project went, but I can't. I've been glued to my phone and keyboard corresponding with the countless people who have reached out with words of support and encouragement, to thank me, and to share their stories. This day has been the biggest emotional roller coaster I've been on in my entire life. And the best.