Sexual assault took something from me that I can never get back

*This post contains references to sexual assault that could be triggering for some readers.*

I can only imagine the type of person I would be if I hadn’t experienced sexual assault. What would I be doing at this point in my life? Would I be able to trust others and not let my anger control me? The truth is, I will never know that woman. Assault took away a piece of me. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never get that piece back, no matter how hard I search for it.

I started getting molested at 12 years old. I went to an event hosted by members of my church at his house, and all the children were playing in the pool and having fun. I was instructed by one of the church chaperones to go upstairs and take a shower, so I did. When I was done I looked up, and he was in the bathroom with me.

He escorted me to his room and started touching me, and every time I resisted he held me down. I thought I was going to get raped but I did not, however the emotional torture was the same. Afterwards, I went downstairs and I just sat on the couch until the party was over. I did not tell anyone because I was afraid of what he might do.  He was 32 at the time. This continued for five years in public places, my room when he visited my house, and at the church. Most of the time I closed my eyes and imagined I was somewhere else.

It’s unfortunate that at such a young age I lost myself, before I even had the chance to start that journey. Some days I just wanted to end it all.  Mentally and emotionally I just couldn’t handle it. My abuse ended because I moved away, and soon it was time for me to go to college.

I was so excited. This was a fresh start! I met a guy within the first few weeks of school. He was really cool, on the football team, and we hung out a lot around campus. One day he suggested I visit his apartment for a party. When I got there thought, nobody else was there. I sat on the couch and waited for more people to arrive. He started kissing me and I was extremely uncomfortable. He lifted my dress. I told him I was a virgin and definitely wasn’t ready for that. He was so strong though. There was NOTHING I could do. I said no. He didn’t listen. He didn’t stop. So just like I did when I was molested as a child, I closed my eyes as tight as I could and tried to imagine that I was in a different place. I could feel the pressure, and blood coming down but I kept trying to imagine I was in a happy place. I wasn’t. I got up, went to the bathroom and just looked at myself in the mirror. I came back in the room and sat on the couch just like I did when I was younger, not saying a word.

For me, overcoming these traumas, finding my voice, and becoming an activist for ending sexual violence, has been a long process. Every day I’m learning to love myself more, and it will only get better. I want more people to understand the harsh, painful, reality of sexual abuse and assault. They happened to me, and to so many others like me. We must do more as a society to end these crimes once and for all and everyone needs to be involved.

This NO MORE Week, I had the opportunity to educate my fellow students about consent, and the steps we can all take to ensure sexual violence is no longer tolerated by our society. Enough is enough.

I’m saying, NO MORE and I hope that you will too.

Join me and take the pledge to say NO MORE.

And if you or someone you know needs help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673). You can also chat online through the RAINN website.


Venkayla Haynes is a student at Spelman College studying biology with hopes of becoming a forensic pathologist specializing in rape and sexual homicides. In recognition of her commitment to ending sexual assault, NO MORE invited Venkayla to join the campaign as an official no more ambassador in 2016. She has also served as 1 of 17 students across the United States on the ItsOnUs Student Advisory Committee 2015-2016 for the White House and Generation Progress and works with End Rape On Campus.  Venkayla has helped survivors at colleges across the country, including Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Kennesaw State University, Dillard University, Florida State University, and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

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Transforming norms to end gender-based violence on campus

It’s NO MORE Week, and we’re proud to be partnering with our friends at Breakthrough to help grassroots activists make gender-based violence a year-round priority. To make that happen, we need to empower you to make a difference on your campus. So we teamed up to create this campus organizing guide because we know that great things happen when we work together.

Why now?  The work of mobilizing our communities has never been so important. Rates of violence and discrimination are rising, but the new leadership in the Department of Education doesn’t see gender-based violence as an issue worth focusing on you. We disagree, of course – and that’s where you come in.

This guide is filled with resources that can help with your Sexual Assault Awareness Month activism and other activism around relationship violence, sexual assault, non-consensual photo-sharing, violence and discrimination around trans students and other forms of gender-based violence. It covers a lot because there’s a lot of work to be done, and because we wanted to give you the most comprehensive guide we could.

With the right support, everyone has the ability to create change in their community. This guide is going to be your first step in making your campus a safer place for everyone. Once you get started, reach out to Breakthrough’s Action Hotline to set up a time to chat with a member of the Breakthrough team, who will help take you from idea to action.


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10 inspiring ways sports drive culture change to end sexual assault and domestic violence

1. Sport empowers young leaders

The children are our future, right? So what are we teaching our children in and through sport?  We have seen sports teach about healthy relationships. Some sport institutions send a strong message about each individual’s role to end sexual violence and equip them with tools to take action and mobilize their community to end sexual violence.  This week, young athletes (and activists) have gathered at a national conference to create calls to actions for sport to take leadership in ending gender-based violence.

2. Sport has hard (and transformative!) conversations about ‘manhood’

While the majority of gender-based violence is committed by men and boys, many men and boys never commit acts of violence.  It is essential that men and boys have conversations, albeit hard, about healthy masculinity as a means to prevent sexual assault and/or domestic violence from happening.  Through Sport, we have seen coaches open their hearts and minds about their role as mentors for young boys about healthy manhood and athletes respond to the challenge to proactively stop violence against women and girls.

3. Sport reaches people throughout the entire community

Sport organizations and leagues are omnipresent in most local communities. When these groups ‘team up’ to align their efforts in community-wide prevention strategies, the message is clear and powerful: this sport community is committed to ending sexual assault and domestic violence. From regional campaigns that align prevention programs in high school athletics, local businesses, and professional teams to state-by-state trainings that are catalyzing communities to transform sport culture, these strategies are proving that there is incredible potential and power in the collective.

4. Sport is a platform to raise awareness (and money to fill gaps!)

With millions of people following and watching sports, sport leagues, teams, and players have an incredible opportunity to model the values and norms in their communities. Athletes can and have used sport as a platform to talk about the connection between our ideas about masculinity and sexual assault as well as raise money to directly fill a gap to address the needs of survivors of sexual assault.  Teams can and have used the game itself to raise awareness and engage their spectators to take a stand against sexual and domestic violence. 

5. Sport leaders take action to prevent sexual and domestic violence

Preventing sexual assault and domestic violence specifically is not the key mission of sport organizations, but supporting the well-being of every individual is a core component of every sport organization. Therefore, approaches and strategies that aim to do both are integral to both ‘on the field’ and ‘off the field’ instruction. Many teams are building in time during the season and in the off-season to support coaches, league administrators, and athletes learning to understand the problem and how to be part of the solution to end sexual and domestic violence.  Some sports organizations have incorporated sexual and domestic violence prevention into the ‘job description’ for coaches and have instituted leadership trainings for all coaches to support them in this role.

6. Sport builds partnerships for the community good.

National sport institutions and organizations have partnered with subject-matter experts to build sport-specific resources for their community, combining the expertise around the ins and outs of a particular sport’s systems and climate with the decades of knowledge held by the sexual and domestic violence field to develop creative and comprehensive strategies and resources.

7. Sport creates a ripple effect down the pipeline

Sport inherently provides an incredible mentoring system, where peers look up to successful peers and coaches replicate successful strategies used by other coaches. Their influence continues ‘off the field’ as well, inspiring some young athletes to channel their professional sport heroes and challenge coaches in their communities to take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault.

In this way, the sport system can align efforts to leverage this exponential impact toward ending sexual and domestic violence.

8. Sport lifts up female athletes as leaders (not just potential victims)

A world free of gender-based violence would recognize, value, and lift up all of the various talents that girls and women bring to a team, workplace, and society overall.  Sport is one place where women and young girls gain confidence and connection to a community (which are factors that reduce risk for sexual assault and domestic violence). In addition, sport programs are teaching young girls that they are important leaders in demanding and reinforcing a culture that denounces violence and supports healthy individuals, relationships, and communities.  

9. Sport’s commitment starts with the youngest athletes

Preventing sexual and domestic violence starts early – and sport programs also start early.  Some youth sports programs are setting standards and norms in sport that protect against sexual and domestic violence down the road.

10. Sport’s commitment comes from from the top

Professional leagues often have a huge impact in their home towns, often setting a standard for community engagement and using their platform to reinforce the values of the community.  Incredible advancements have been made locally in addressing and preventing sexual and domestic violence when local Club presidents and national leagues have prioritized this cause.  In rare cases, long-standing partnerships between local teams and subject-matter experts have shifted the way the entire community views and responds to domestic and sexual violence!

This blog was written by Lindsay Mapp, then-program manager for Raliance, a collaborative initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation. 

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Anne Glauber is still changing the world.

She may have lost her battle with cancer, but her legacy is alive and well. Not only did she dream of and co-found NO MORE, but she turned a fatal prognosis into the impetus to help pancreatic cancer patients everywhere.

She was, in short, a woman in full.

When I think of Anne, I see those soulful eyes of hers, hear that soft voice — sometimes punctuated by a wonderful raucous laugh. She had the warmest of hearts and toughest of wills. She would dream big and somehow – with a gentle tug at your sleeve – get you to come along on her amazing life journey. I was lucky enough to share her path for nearly a decade.

It was Anne (along with Jane Randel and many others) who pulled together leaders of domestic violence and sexual assault groups back in 2009 – a meeting that became the genesis of NO MORE. Then, like the superb mother she was, Anne nurtured this fluttering little fledgling until the 2013 launch, and ever since. She talked me into taking the Director role with three little words – “It’s you, Virginia” – and who could ever say no to her?

During the campaign’s rapid ascent, Anne’s strategic smarts and deep wisdom were always our true north. As we engaged hundreds, then thousands, then millions, whether it was a newscaster, a brave survivor, a football player or a college activist, Anne could talk to everyone and be everywhere she was needed. She kvelled with pride over NO MORE.

Little did we know — her finest hour still lay ahead.

One awful afternoon a few years ago, Anne called to tell me that she had pancreatic cancer and had been given just six months to live. Most people would have been flattened by this news – but not Anne.   She used this fatal turn as an opportunity to help others. She spearheaded a new effort to connect patients battling this disease with life-saving information. Private as she was, she shared her personal fight against cancer on a Huffington Post blog. Again, she is making a difference to untold numbers of people and her legacy will last.

At this moment in history, when times are so dark, when we are surrounded by the selfish and shallow, Anne’s passing is like a beautiful flare in the night sky. As in life, her death has deep meaning and purpose for everyone. She reminds all of us of what matters, how to stand up for what is right, and how to live and love.   She has left us to join the stars.

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Let’s Be Real: Young People are the Future


I see the 1 in 3 young people experiencing dating abuse1. I see the couple at the mall who look happy, but in reality he is gripping her hand so tight that her rings cut into her fingers;  the young trans boy whose partner needs to know where they are at all times; the young college student who is “not allowed” to hang out with his friends anymore because it means that he doesn’t love his girlfriend; and the girl whose hookup buddy is threatening to ‘out’ her if she doesn’t have sex. 

When I see the No More symbol, I see the 57% of young people who wait over 6 months before getting help2. I envision our clients at Break the Cycle, coming to us for safety plans, protection orders, and divorce cases; the friend groups at a loss of what to do when they figure out their friend’s partner is beating them; the Facebook and Twitter users who summon the courage to ask us for resources and referrals.

I see youth voices unified and amplified for the causes of domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. I hear their shouts for inclusion, equality, and peace. I feel their ambition, persistence, and passion for change.

When I see the No More symbol, I see the 70,000+ people that have chosen resistance. I see the people who refuse to accept the status quo of a culture that normalizes abuse; men putting aside their learned attitudes of toxic masculinity; women who will no longer sit down and be quiet; non-binary, genderqueer, and trans individuals who know they deserve inclusion in the movement; people of every culture, religion, social class, ethnicity, and identity coming together to create change.

When I see the No More symbol, I see hope. I visualize the young people across the nation talking about dating abuse through the national youth-led movement Let’s Be Real; the survivors who become emboldened to share their stories; the activists who discover strength and community online; the parents and caring adults from the Love Is Not Abuse coalition who find the promise of a bright future for their children in its circle.

Most importantly, when I see the No More symbol, I see youth voices unified and amplified for the causes of domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. I hear their shouts for inclusion, equality, and peace. I feel their ambition, persistence, and passion for change. I see their decisions not to stand by while someone is getting hurt, to share their stories so others can be safe, and to wear additional symbols, like orange, to signify that everyone deserves a healthy relationship.

Help young people say NO MORE to teen dating abuse during the month of February for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (#teenDVmonth) and beyond. Be inspired by and learn from them; because young people are not only our future, they are today. Learn more about how you can get involved at


​Jasmine Ceja Uribe is the Director of Community Initiatives at Break the Cycle.

1 Vagi, K. J., Olsen, E. O. M., Basile, K. C., & Vivolo-Kantor, A. M. (2015). Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. JAMA Pediatrics, 169 (5), 474-482.

2 K, Mary (2014). “2014 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey.”

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There are always signs of sexual abuse and assault, if you know where to look.


Close All Open All

Warning signs that you are in an abusive relationship:

Does your partner:

  • Embarrass you with put-downs?
  • Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
  • Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
  • Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
  • Make all of the decisions?
  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
  • Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
  • Force you to try and drop charges?
  • Threaten to commit suicide?
  • Threaten to kill you?

Information provided by the National Domestic Violence Hotline,

Warning signs of teen dating abuse:

Indicators that your friend may be in an abusive relationship:

  • When your friend’s partner subjects him/her to name calling and puts him/her down in front of other people.
  • Your friend’s partner acts extremely jealous when your friend talks to people of the opposite gender, even when it is completely innocent.
  • Your friend apologizes for his/her partner’s behavior and makes excuses for him/her.
  • Your friend frequently cancels plans last minute for reasons that sound untrue.
  • Your friend’s partner is always checking up on him/her – calling and texting, and demanding to know where and with whom your friend has been.
  • You’ve seen your friend’s partner lose his/her temper, maybe even break or hit things when angry.
  • Your friend seems worried about upsetting or angering his/her partner.
  • Your friend is giving up things that used to be important to him/her, like spending time with friends or other activities.
  • Your friend’s weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically. These could be signs of depression, which could indicate abuse.
  • Your friend has injuries he/she can’t explain, or the explanations given don’t make sense.

Indicators that your teenage daughter/son may be in an unhealthy relationship:

Your Teen:

  • Apologizes and/or makes excuses for his/her partner’s behavior.
  • Loses interest in activities that he/she used to enjoy.
  • Stops seeing friends and family members and becomes more and more isolated.
  • Casually mentions the partner’s violent behavior, but laughs it off as a joke.
  • Often has unexplained injuries or the explanations often don’t make sense.

The Partner:

  • Calls your teen names and puts him/her down in front of others.
  • Acts extremely jealous of others who pay attention to your teen.
  • Thinks or tells your teen that you, the parent(s), don’t like them.
  • Controls your teen’s behavior, checking up constantly, calling or texting,
    and demanding to know who he/she has been with.


  • See the partner violently lose their temper, striking or breaking objects.

Information provided by Love Is Not Abuse,

Warning signs that someone may be a perpetrator of sexual violence:

A person who:

  • Tolerates sexual harassment or street harassment
  • Has restrictive ideas about masculinity
  • Believes that women should be responsible for keeping themselves safe
  • Makes jokes about sexual assault or rape
  • Makes light/joke about women not being valuable
  • Lacks of healthy models for consent or consensual sex
  • Thinks consumption of violent pornography or images of coercive or violent sexual acts
  • Believes that alcohol will make sexual encounters better or women more willing to have sex
  • Views the use of commercial sex (stripping, pornography, prostitution/escort services) as normal male activities or rites of passage
  • Believes that certain groups are better than, or more deserving than others (sexism, racism, heterosexism, ableism, etc.)

Warning signs a child may have been sexually abused:

  • An increase in physical complaints; loss of appetite, or trouble eating or swallowing
  • Unexplained fear or dislike of certain people, places or situations
  • Sudden mood or behavior changes: rage, fear, anger or withdrawal
  • Nightmares, sleep disturbances or fear of bedtime
  • Regression to infantile behaviors such as thumb-sucking or bed-wetting
  • Pain, itching or bleeding in genital/rectal area; torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Abnormal interest in sex or knowledge of sexual matters inappropriate for the child’s age
  • Frequent genital or urinary tract infections or irritations
  • Preoccupation with their body or excessive masturbation
  • Refusing to talk about a “secret” he/she has with an adult or older child

In older children and teens you may see additional behaviors such as:

  • Self-injury such as burning or cutting;
  • Suicide attempts;
  • School or discipline problems;
  • Eating disorders;
  • Low self esteem;
  • Running away.

Characteristics of perpetrators of child sexual assault:

  • Exhibits an unusual interest in a particular child or particular age or gender of children
  • Socializes more with children than with adults
  • Creates opportunities to spend time alone with children
  • Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want this affection
  • Encourages a lack of modesty or privacy around the home and on the part of children
  • Discusses age inappropriate topics with a child
  • Exhibits lack of interest in normal adult sexual relations
  • Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (e.g., talks repeatedly about the child’s developing body or interferes with normal teen dating)
  • Obsessively and/or frequently masturbates
  • Expresses voyeuristic behaviors such as watching children bathe or play after they have changed into their pajamas

Information provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center,

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