Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention: Survivor Stories

Let's take a stand against sexual assualt.

RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the world's largest anti-sexual assault organization, is partnering with SABRE, the world's leading personal safety brand, to raise awareness about sexual assault, survival and recovery.

SABRE reached out to 13 survivors of different kinds of assault. Violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. In the U.S. it's estimated that a sexual assault occurs every 107 seconds. It is our hope that these stories inspire you to take a stand against sexual assault and violence.

Visit this page as volunteers for the RAINN Speakers Bureau share their stories. We'll be posting additional stories weekly.

Spread the word.

You can help spread the word that those who have been victimized are not alone, and that it's possible to heal. Simply share the essays on this webpage or show your support and add your voice using the hashtag #SurvivorStories. You can also donate to RAINN.


A percentage of proceeds from the pink Personal Alarm with Key Ring (below) is donated to NBCF. You buy, SABRE donates.You can also donate to NBCF directly.

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By Rachel King

20-year-old Rachel King was sexually abused in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. The abuse spanned eight months from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2009. Here’s her story:

We don’t forget tragedies. For me, the date was February 22, 2009. A Monday. A day forever ingrained in my mind. I hid under my covers trying to shut off my mind and calm my racing heart because I knew it was now or never. So I got up, trembling as sure as I was sweating, and walked to my parents’ room. They were still awake.


Angela D. Wharton was sexually assaulted by her mother’s significant other in her Baltimore home when she was 14. She was then again assaulted at gunpoint by a masked man at the age of 24 in a wooded area in northeast Baltimore. At the age of 43, Angela now volunteers for the RAINN Speakers Bureau and is sharing her experiences as part of the SABRE-RAINN Survivor Stories campaign. As part of the Survivor Stories initiative, Angela answered some questions.

SABRE: Was this a one-time assault or did this occur over any length of time?

AW: I was sexually assaulted by the man my mom was dating at the time who attempted to groom me for sex trafficking. Then at the age of 24, I was raped in the woods at gunpoint by a masked man.


Attorney Victoria Elyonda Broussard was sexually abused for 10 years – from the ages of four to 14 – across continents. After being abused in Texas, Spain, Germany and upstate New York by numerous perpetrators, Victoria is now a successful attorney at the age of 44, and a volunteer for the RAINN Speakers Bureau. Victoria talked about her story with SABRE for the brand’s Survivor Stories initiative in partnership with RAINN.

SABRE: Was this a one-time assault or did this occur over any length of time?

VEB: My childhood sexual abuse occurred over a period of 10 years with eight abusers.

SABRE: Was this someone that you knew or was this a stranger?

VEB: All of the perpetrators were family members or friends. On one occasion, the abuser was a person hired to do work for my family, I would consider him to be the abuser who qualifies most as a stranger.


My name is Devan Penegar. I’m a writer, DIY filmmaker and part of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau. The following is an essay on trauma I wrote with my creative partner Camille.

My life didn't start out so strange. When I was eight years old my parents lived in this magical place called Oakridge Acres. The roads weren't paved and it was deep in the woods, perfect in its isolation. The rest of the world didn't seem to matter out there. Who could be concerned with scandals in the news when ducks and geese and goats ran freely across the yard? It was Heaven.

That all felt like a lifetime ago as I sat in my psychiatrist's office at age 15. He gave me an extra dose of Depakote. He said something about how my dosage needed to be increased. It should have occurred to me how unusual it was to be asked to take a pill during the session, especially without parental consent but, in hindsight, many of his oddities were overlooked. It sickens me to say now, but I thought of him as cultured and worldly. I looked up to the devil.


By Joyce Reed

33-year-old Joyce Read was sexually assaulted six different times by various perpetrators. The incidents occurred in Chicago, IL when Joyce was between the ages of eight and 23. Today Joyce volunteers for the RAINN Speakers Bureau, and is a published author and business owner.

From the age 8 to 23 I have been raped, fondled and/or molested 6 different times. Either it was by a family member, friend, boyfriend or stranger. At such a young age I didn’t understand – but I did know that it wasn’t supposed to hurt when someone touched me in my private area.


By Amy Malin

Amy Malin was brutally raped, beaten and tortured both mentally and physically. Today she is volunteering for the RAINN Speakers Bureau, sharing her experiences with violence, survival and recovery. Here is her story:

When I was eighteen years old, a man in his thirties made me his prisoner and kept me chained up to a column in his home for a year where he and his friends raped, beat and tortured me. In addition to the extreme physical and sexual abuse, this man also used psychological warfare against me. Every day he told me how “worthless, useless and unlovable” I was. He also called me a fat ugly whore and said I was his “property.”


From the ages of six to 10, Lakia Shavon Lightner was sexually violated by her uncle. SABRE had the opportunity to interview Lakia in March of 2015. Now 35 years old, Lakia has been volunteering with the RAINN Speakers Bureau since 2014.

SABRE: Was this someone that you knew or was this a stranger?

LL: My uncle, Clifford O. Lightner.


By Rena Romano

Rena Romano, a talented speaking and leadership coach, volunteers for the RAINN Speakers Bureau. Rena was sexually abused from childhood into early adulthood, and is now sharing her story “From Survive to Thrive” for the RAINN-SABRE Survivor Stories initiative.

Not only am I a survivor of sexual assault, I am also a survivor of child sexual abuse. I now know that the years of child abuse played a massive role in my lack of self-esteem and self-worth. While in my early twenties, I was raped by a colleague from work. I didn’t understand the magnitude of what happened to me because it had been happening throughout my childhood.

It wasn't until years later ...


By Laurie Stevens

One in five women will be sexually assaulted during her college career. Laurie Stevens was one of those women. She now volunteers for the RAINN Speakers Bureau sharing her story about being drugged and raped during college. The incident occurred nearly thirty years ago when Laurie was attending a university in Los Angeles, CA.

I was in a sorority in college and although words like Rohypnol and date rape had not yet made it into the everyday lingo of campus life, most everyone knew not to drink the punch at frat houses. For all my caution in regards to partying, it never occurred to me to watch out for danger in regards to studying. There was a guy in my major...


By Jenny Lynn Anderson

Jenny Lynn Anderson is a speaker and author of Room 939: 15 Minutes of Horror, 20 Years of Healing. She volunteers for the RAINN Speakers Bureau after surviving rape while on a business trip. Here’s her story:

All traumatic and violent assaults have one thing in common. They come like a thief in the night. For me, the thief came on November 28, 1990.

My story begins in 1990, while attending the Southeastern Conference on Alcohol and Drugs at a downtown Atlanta hotel. As Public Relations Director of Willingway Hospital, a nationally renowned alcohol and drug treatment center, I had just finished the day working on the tradeshow floor. My marketing director and I had plans to have dinner with a prominent magazine editor to discuss a story line we thought provocative and interesting. We were to meet in the hotel lobby at 8:00 p.m. I never made it to the meeting.


20-year-old Erin McKelle was sexually and emotionally abused by her step sibling eight years ago in Cleveland, Ohio. Today she volunteers for the RAINN Speakers Bureau sharing her story to help spread the word about violence, survival and recovery. SABRE interviewed Erin as part of the Survivor Stories initiative.

SABRE: Was this a one-time assault or did this occur over any length of time?

EM: This was something that happened in terms of assault once but evolved into an abusive relationship.

SABRE: Was this someone you knew or was this a stranger?

EM: This happened with a step sibling – someone I knew.


Named one of "America's 100 Best Charities" by Worth Magazine, RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. The nonprofit...
  • Created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and
  • Has been a featured resource for media stories and government initiatives
  • Reaches millions of Americans with important information every month