Courageous Date Rape Survivors Share Their Heartbreaking Experiences

Trigger warning.

According to theRape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN),America's largest anti-sexual assault organization, 80% of the 293,000 sexual assaults reported each year are committed by someone the victim knows. 

The National College Women Sexual Victimization study, cited by theDepartment of Justice as part of their 2007 Campus Sexual Assault study, reports that "victims were on a date with the perpetrator in 12.8% of completed rapes and 35% of attempted rapes." 

Those statistics are disturbing, but they fail to paint a complete picture of the problem.

Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in America. Survivors may be afraid to come forward out of fear that no one will believe them. They may feel as though they're partially at fault. They may not realize that what happened to them was rape. RAINN reports that only 32 percent of sexual assaults are ever reported and that only 2 percent of rapists will ever serve time in prison. 

If you've been sexually assaulted, you need to know a few things — and we mean really knowthem — which is why we're writing this.

1) It is absolutely not your fault. Doesn't matter if you were drunk. Doesn't matter if you were high. Doesn't matter where you were, what you were wearing, or who you were with. It is not your fault.The only blame lies with the person who committed the act. Period. 

2) There are resources available. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline which can be accessed 24/7 at 1-800-656-HOPE. They are free and confidential and partner with over 1,100 rape crisis centers all around the country. Whether it recent or years ago: resources exist to help you. If you don't want to make the call, you can also find live help online

3) You are not alone. There are people out there who know what you've gone through. There are people who've felt very much the same way. And there are people who will stand by your side and help you get through this. 

Some of those people shared the pain of their experiences via the Whisper app. We present this as a reminder to those who've struggled with their experiences that you are not alone. 

As this is a particularly sensitive topic, we're warning you now that some of the following panels may trigger. You may use the back button on your browser or click here to return to the homepage. 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

Cover image via Shutterstock / Elena Kharichkina;