Military Sexual Assault Survivor: James

James Landrith is a survivor of sexual violence, former U.S. Marine, and long-time part of the RAINN team. When he was 19 and on his first active duty assignment, James was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance who was not in the military. Because the perpetrator was a woman, he did not feel that he would be believed or taken seriously if he told anyone. "Even though I knew how it had hurt me, I had never given myself permission to label it as sexual violence. That’s why I never told anyone; as a man, I didn’t think I could be a survivor. I didn’t think I had the right to say it.”

Stevie's Story

Stevie Croisant is a writer, leader, proud dog-mom, and survivor of an abusive relationship. She lived through two years of intimate partner violence, also referred to as domestic violence, before being able to leave the relationship with the help of friends and family. “Even though I knew deep down that I should leave, anyone who told me that too directly would become the enemy."

Sandra's Story

Sandra Gonzalez is a proud mom, a member of the Latinx community, and a survivor of sexual violence. Sandra felt ashamed and embarrassed after the assault, and didn’t report because she didn’t want anyone to know what had happened to her. She was raised in a community that emphasized virginity before marriage, which caused Sandra to feel an additional layer of shame about what had happened to her. “I didn’t say anything back then—I was quiet and scared. I wish I could say that I’d reported it. That’s my main reason for telling my story now.” 

Hannah’s Story

Hannah Rad was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance on her college campus during her first year. She didn’t want to tell anyone about what happened because she felt ashamed. “Being gay does not justify terrible things happening to you. Owning who you are and everything that makes you YOU is the first step in healing. You don’t need to be ashamed of what happened to you.”

Johnathon’s Story

Johnathon Cassidy was sexually assaulted by a stranger he met while at a local bar who put a date-rape drug in his drink. "Everyone always said ‘Go with Johnny, you’ll be safe with him.’ I’ve been told my entire life that it was impossible for this kind of thing to happen to me.”

Sarah's Story

Sarah Whitney was raped when she was 16. She told her then-boyfriend, who reacted in an extremely unsupportive and hurtful way—blaming her for the incident and breaking up with her on the spot. The reaction of the first person a survivor tells is pivotal and can have a huge effect on their healing. “I would like people to know that this is no one’s fault but the person who did it.”

Christa's Story

Christa Hayburn was sexually assaulted by a superior at the Police Department where she served as a law enforcement officer. “I’m so glad I can be there for survivors. I will continue to advocate for change until true change takes place across the country. People in these institutions have to take sexual assault seriously and be more supportive of those who come forward.”

Ethan's Story

Ethan Levine was sexually assaulted in high school by a friend of someone he was casually dating. “In the immediate aftermath of the first assault, my focus was on whether it was real and whether I was right about what had happened. I got hung up on the fact that what happened to me didn’t fit the definition of rape I had grown up hearing.”

Carolyn's Story

Carolyn experienced child sexual abuse by an older cousin and another sexual assault later in her life. "It’s so healing to talk about it. The more you talk about it, the more you’re letting go, bit by bit. I can feel it exit my body every time I tell my story."

Lacy’s Story

Lacy was sexually assaulted and abused by her high school partner. “No one understood what I was going through and what it was like in that relationship. But when we were apart, I realized how great it felt to be away from him—I really wanted that freedom.”

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