Cassie

After I was raped during my senior year of high school I was too terrified and ashamed to speak about it. I developed a drug dependency and much later was diagnosed with PTSD.
I kept my experience bottled in for nearly two years until during recovery from my addiction I reached out to my mom and told her about my experience. She confessed to me that she too had been raped in her early twenties, and that my grandmother had been the victim of sexual assault and had never spoken about it until my mom reached out to her for support years after her own assault.
We all had similar stories. We were afraid of not being believed, or being called a slut, or being re-victimized by the court system if we chose to seek justice.
Three generations of women in my family are rape survivors, and none of us felt as though we could come forward for the same reasons.
I am of the mind that all women have experienced sexism in one way or another; and the idea that women should keep their complaints about everyday sexism to themselves merely perpetuates a culture that places shame and guilt on survivors of sexualized violence, and further enables the male social privilege that allows men to get away with acts of sexualized violence.
The most important weapon we have as women is our voice, and the communities we create by using them to share our experiences are stronger than we can imagine.