Survivors Blog

MY NAME IS JEN

Jennifer Baker - February 19, 2019

Why I Kept Silent

With everything in the news recently about sexual assault, I felt prompted to share my story.

My name is Jennifer and I’m a survivor of sexual assault. I was raped by a man who I was set up on a date with years ago. I kept silent for 20 years and I want to share my story now to hopefully help someone else who may be suffering in silence.

I was 18 years old when my friend set me up with someone who seemed nice and charming, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was young, naïve and insecure. What I thought would be a fun night with friends turned into the worst night of my life.

My friend left me at this person’s house by myself. I had nowhere to go. I was stuck in a stranger’s house with no way of leaving and he raped me. The next day when I told my friend what happened, she didn’t believe me. I was crushed and I couldn’t believe she would actually think I would make something like this up. But that’s what happened to me so many years ago.

I spoke the truth and I was not believed. At that moment I made the decision not to tell anyone else what happened for fear they wouldn’t believe me either. I didn’t report it to the authorities. I didn’t tell my family, friends or anyone else.

I kept this dark secret for 20 years and it almost killed me. It started wearing me down until I couldn’t breathe. I blamed myself for what happened to me. I kept asking, “What if I had never gone to the party? What if I had spoken up when my friend was leaving?” And several other questions that held me captive for so long. That’s how I felt until I started sharing my story with people I trusted.

Logically I know I did nothing wrong, but for some reason I blamed myself for the rape. That’s why I kept silent. I thought it was my fault and this compounded the negative thoughts I had about myself. It wasn’t until I found my voice that the healing began. I was still afraid of judgment and pointing fingers, but I stepped out in faith. The years of silence, shame and blaming myself finally started to dissolve.

Many survivors feel guilt and shame about something that was done to them, but it’s not our fault. Rape is rape and no means no. I’m speaking out now in hope of helping others who may be suffering in silence. When I use my voice, the heavy weight on my shoulders gradually starts to lift. I can finally breathe as I’m taking one step at a time on this healing journey.

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MY NAME IS JENN

Jenn Tansley - October 10, 2018

I’m Jenn Tansley. I’m a mother, a wife, a successful entrepreneur, and also a survivor of sexual assault. However, until I became involved with Jane Doe No More, it felt like there wasn’t as much room for my other identities, as the victim part seemed to always creep back in and take over.

My assault took place when I was entering my senior year of high school. Until that point, I was an honors student, applying to fine art schools, and was in intensive ballet training about 5-6 days a week. As the months went on after my assault, my grades suffered, I almost failed my art class, and I quit ballet. I stopped being Jenn, and was a new form of myself. And yes, I still went on to college, graduated with a bachelor’s degree with honors, and went on to make a life for myself. But some of my sparkle was gone.

Then enter Jane Doe No More. This organization is so important, because it gives survivors a way to get their voice back, and through that process, go on to become the people they were meant to become before their assault or trauma.

But it takes time, and it takes support from people like you. I’d like to say that as soon as I became aware of Jane Doe No More, I joined and went on to heal. But it didn’t quite go that way. I first learned about them in 2011, and attended their open house in Naugatuck. But I didn’t tell anyone why I was there, and didn’t join then. I then attended a speaking event in early 2013, where I listened, but didn’t tell anyone why I was there. It wasn’t until May of 2013 when I finally emailed to get involved, and then joined the Survivors Speak Outreach Team that following September.

So for me it took several events and two years of following the organization to finally reach out and find my voice. Which is why it is so very important to support Jane Doe No More, so they can keep hosting more events, and keep reaching people like me. People who want to get their voice back, but don’t know how.

And today, while I am still a survivor of sexual assault, I can honestly say I have some of my sparkle back.

I now know that I MATTER. Your donation will let others know THEY MATTER TOO!

-Jenn Tansley
Jane Doe No More Survivors Speak Outreach Member

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MY NAME IS DEB

Deb Mitchell - October 10, 2018

I am a survivor of child sexual assault from the age of 6 until I left home at the age of 19.

Until the age of 45, I had never met anyone like me. I felt shame, blame and fear that no one would want to know me if they knew.

At 48, I found a support group and after 2 years, I found myself helping others through a volunteer program where I received an email about an organization called Jane Doe No More. They were looking for individuals to join an outreach team and share their stories to police organiations, colleges and Community events.

In 2012, I joined Jane Doe No More, and that changed my life. I remember going to the bookstores and searching for stories about incest survivors. I wanted to see what happened to them. How they lived their lives. Years later, I realized that what I was really looking for was HOPE.

Through this organization, when I am in front of others, sharing my story, I feel like now, I can BE the hope that others might be looking for.

After speaking at a public event, a woman came up to me and said; “I am a survivor too. I am 65 years old. I have only told 2 people in my life, my best friend, and now YOU.”

Jane Doe No More has given me a new perspective on my trauma. I now know that I MATTER.

-Deb Mitchell
Jane Doe No More Survivors Speak Outreach Member

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MY NAME IS DYLAN

Dylan Farrow - September 10, 2018

What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?

Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house.

He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies.

I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.

I won’t let the truth be buried and I won’t be silenced.

Jane Doe No More has helped me find my voice.

I now know that I MATTER.

-Dylan Farrow
Jane Doe No More Survivors Speak Outreach Member



Jane Doe No More honored Dylan Farrow with the Dr. Henry C. Lee Award in April 2017.

Read Dylan Farrows NYTimes op-ed piece from 2014 and LA Times piece from December 2017.

Jane Doe No More proudly stands in support of Dylan. #IStandwithDylan #voice2change

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MY NAME IS PATTI

Patti Ieraci - March 10, 2018

I have always looked at life through a different lens than most. At least this is what I believed for a very long time. I felt dissimilar, that I did not fit in with those around me, and I was always wearing a façade. I was living as a survivor protégé, not having found a way through my trauma.

But then I found Jane Doe No More. It started with taking one of their free self-defense classes in 2013, and then reading Donna’s book. It gave me a sense of belonging. I was finally making a shift and becoming a survivor without having met anyone in the organization.

It wasn’t until the fall of 2016, when I accepted an internship with Jane Doe No More that I had even thought about sharing my story with anyone but those who already knew. In November of 2016, I officially became part of their Survivors Speak Outreach Team.

I met a group of incredible individuals that mirrored these emotions, and I no longer felt the intense loneliness, or the need to hide what happened to me. I was not to blame. I found a group of survivors who had found their own voices, and who helped me find mine.

It took a long time to come forward and admit to myself that I am a survivor of both child and adult sexual assault. I am 32 years old, and I finally feel like I have a solid platform to shout, “NO MORE!” The journey of recovery may seem long but there are facets of hope along the way. Jane Doe No More was and is that hope for me, and for so many others.

I am Patti, and I am a survivor. THRIVE!

I now know that I MATTER. Your donation will let others know THEY MATTER TOO!

-Patti Ieraci
Jane Doe No More Survivors Speak Outreach Member

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