We Believe: A Benefit for SACE

We Believe: A Benefit for SACE

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak publicly about my experience with sexual assault and healing. The event was called We Believe: A Benefit for SACE. It was a fundraiser for the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton,

Start the Conversation.

The other night I performed once again in The Vagina Monologues, a show that is truly wonderful. It raises money and awareness to help stop sexual and physical violence toward women and men.   To me what is more wonderful

You Left Me There

I was recently in London for Christmas and the jet lagged kicked in like a dear friend I haven’t seen in a while. We had a good old catch up and in that catch up I got inspired to write

A New Perspective

  Have you ever been so excited to start a project, but gotten lost in the details? That’s where I’m at. At my school, I’m now the president/spearhead of a club that is focused solely on sexual assault prevention. One

A letter to the next girl

A letter to the next girl

This came about while I was reading the allegations against James Deen. It made my head spin. Similar to the accusations against Jian Ghomeshi, these men have patterns; MO’s. My attacker had an MO and it was almost identical to Ghomeshi. Some

You Can See It In His Eyes

I have to admit, I have a very hard time reading some of the stories that we post on this site. These stories are so important to share. They are therapeutic for the writer on so many levels. They help friends and

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.

Persons, A, B and C

I recently watched a documentary called, ‘It Happened Here’ about college sexual assault survivors and their transitioning into activists. While watching the documentary a lot of truth rang true and it felt like someone had punched me in the gut.

Everything happens for a reason, right?

It’s crazy how fast time flies sometimes. You go through the same motions day to day, and suddenly, it’s 6 months after you’ve been assaulted. A few months ago while on spring break, I was assaulted. I don’t feel the

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.

The No One Told Me Series: Secondary Trauma

The No One Told Me Series: Secondary Trauma

I wrote earlier about What to Do When You Don’t Recognize Yourself in the Mirror, and promised to write about more of the nuanced things that self-help books and articles don’t really teach you. Well, I stumbled across another thing

What happens to everyone else?

When I got assaulted I was very vocal about the event, in a timid way however still very vocal. I told my family less then a week after it happened and my sister was one of the first people I

Savannah Badalich: Changing the Discussion on Sexual Assault

Savannah Badalich: Changing the Discussion on Sexual Assault

I read an article in the Washington Post that really stuck out to me. It can be found here. The article is about Savannah Badalich, who was sexually assaulted by a friend at a student government conference two weeks into her

Dating After Assault

I should probably title this “lack of dating,” because right now, I just don’t think it’s possible. I’ve slowly been feeling better since my assault – I’ve started reopening up to having friends of the opposite sex, I’m starting to not constantly

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.

You’re in the Driver’s Seat

You’re in the Driver’s Seat

“You’re in the driver’s seat”  My detective told me, for at least the 10th time. “You can decide how we are going to handle this” Sticking with the car analogy – if I was in the driver’s seat, it was

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!

The No One Told Me Series: When You Don’t Recognize Yourself in the Mirror

The No One Told Me Series: When You Don’t Recognize Yourself in the Mirror

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the reflection staring back at me. I didn’t realize that this happens to other people until I read an article about PTSD in first responders. The article hits very close to home

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.

Showing Up & Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Showing Up & Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is a tough month for me. It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and it’s also the month when I was attacked. So here I am trying to forget and people just want me to be aware! Aware of the worst

Thank You

Thank You

Hi all, This is just a quick thank you to our community! We have been overwhelmed time and time again by the outpouring of support from our friends and family, and also from complete strangers and new friends! We read

Sleeping With The Lights On

Sleeping With The Lights On

Let’s talk about nightmares. A couple of people have asked me about them recently, and I think it’s time to shed some light on this. I had them every night for about 18 months. Sometimes up to 6 a night.

The Rape Joke

I went to a comedy show last weekend. It took me a long time to convince myself to go, as a theatre isn’t really a good place for a person who is scared of the dark, large crowds, and confined

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.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

“Innocent until proven guilty” is a term often used to protect the accused. When people say “I won’t make a decision until I have all of the evidence”, what evidence are they looking for? Not taking a side is taking a

Jan Huang and the Case Against Pick-Up Artists

Jan Huang is a self-proclaimed pick-up artist in Vancouver. He charges around $1,000 for a 3 day ‘boot camp’ where he tries to teach men confidence, social skills, and the art of picking up women. Jan has now been accused of

After I shared

Like a lot of survivors who have shared their stories, I had no idea what to expect afterwords. I had drafted up my story in October, shortly after I was interviewed for an article by The Canadian Press. My uncle,

It’s Never Okay – The Plan

It’s Never Okay – The Plan

Kathleen Wynne and the Government of Ontario have released an action plan to solve a major issue: sexual assault and harassment. This action plan is titled “It’s Never Okay”. It’s 40 pages long, and is available in plain English (and

Climbing Out of a Deep, Dark, Hole

Hi everyone! I am very excited to join Lauren in this adventure. It has been my dream for some time to help bring awareness, healing, and hope to real live people, and I am happy to say that I am

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.