We FinallyTold:Rape Culture #MeToo
"No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others."
"We Finally Told" is the working title for a book of narrative nonfiction. So far, thanks to your generosity, I have been able to interview 16 rape survivors and 10 experts on rape trauma. Now that we have #MeToo we rape survivors need to know where to go and what to do next after finally talking about what happened.
It is destructive to blame ourselves and it is appropriate to be angry, but we cannot give in to feeling like helpless victims. Yes, we were victimized. We were overpowered. But now it is up to us to change our focus and build up our self image. We can learn to do much more than merely survive. We can thrive.
My book will help other women learn how to turn their lives around. I'm helping women get beyond their old, skewed thinking. It was not our fault. No matter what we wore or if we were high, or if we invited a guy in for a kiss goodnight.
No more self-destruction. We are reclaiming our time. Mothers can learn how to communicate with their daughters—and sons. Teachers can learn how to recognize signs of a traumatized girl and boys who don't understand how to treat girls because they haven't been taught to respect us.
Each chapter tells a rape survivor's story. You will read riveting stories and see how each woman learned important lessons that gave them strength to learn to accept (not condone) what happened. The stories are followed by self-help exercises from expert therapists who provide a number of tools to help us move forward.
CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO
Dr. Drew interviewed Dorri Olds about Her Rape at 13
The chilling fact: 1 in 5 females in America will be sexually assaulted (source: RAINN.org). Parents will learn how to spot signs of trouble and what to do. The book will also aim to improve understanding and initiate conversations between parents, spouses, lovers, siblings, friends, teachers, and children of survivors.
Rape survivors are often too scared to tell anyone what happened because:
"Nobody will believe me."
"It must've been my fault."
But not telling can create severe psychological damage. Believe me, I know all too well.
WHY... I AM WRITING THIS BOOK
A few years ago, The New York Times published my personal essay: Defriending My Rapist. I wrote it after Facebook had suggested I friend one of my classmates who had gang-raped me when I was 13. At that age, I'd been too terrified to tell anyone and keeping secrets led me down a very dark path. The great news is that I finally told when I landed in a drug rehab at age 26. It was a long road from there to where I am now and I have done the most healing in the past few years. Going public was terrifying but surprisingly positive for me.
This project is to connect with those who lived through similar circumstances and with the people that love them. My aim is to help survivors avoid the hell I went through by keeping my secret. Now I speak openly about everything that happened.
HOW... I AM WRITING THIS BOOK
I tell my own stories and those of a number of rape survivors who were willing to talk candidly about their story with a focus on why and when they told someone, what were their days like during the immediate aftermath, and where are they now in their recovery.
YOU... Here's Where You Come In
Please see the reward levels. The lowest is $5. If you are broke, not to worry, you can still be a part of my project by simply sharing this link: gofundme.com/DorriOlds.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
Donations support interviewing survivors and experts, transcribing, writing, editing and marketing. Editing is 75% of any written work and includes head-banging, pulling hair out, hurting hands by prematurely patting oneself on the back, crushing doubts followed by amazing ideas and of course more editing.
CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO
Dorri Olds speaks at Victimology class at CUNY
As a traumatized teen, I used magical thinking: "If I erase the rape from my mind, then it never really happened." When that "solution" failed, it led me through years of Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS). (Something I knew nothing about until recently.)
RTS SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:
Extreme Mood Swings
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Suicidal Ideation and Attempts
Frequent Moves to Escape Memories
Acute Sensitivity to Other People's Opinions
Inability to Form Intimate Romantic Relationships
Since my essay was published in The New York Times, thousands of people have reached out to me. It is shocking—and terribly disturbing—how many people in America have been sexually assaulted.
STAMP OUT STIGMA
We live in a misogynist culture that shames and blames victims. Rapists only get a slap on the wrist or no punishment at all. We feel screwed all over again by the legal system. So many of us never report what we've been through. The more we share our stories, the stronger we will be together. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
￼Dorri Olds, depressed and an addict 3 years post-rape.
FIND YOUR VOICE
I have become a frequent speaker about rape, PTSD and addiction and have been a guest on television and radio shows, including Dr. Drew. My essay became required reading in a Victimology course at CUNY's John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I speak there every semester, and at writers conferences, schools, and various events through RAINN.org. The more I talk about it, the more I heal. Finding your voice is the key to recovering.
￼ I have written hundreds of articles for a wide assortment of publications, including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman's Day , The Establishment , ROAR, The Fix, Forward, Yahoo and Tablet, and my short stories appear in 7 book anthologies including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I was recently interviewed for a large section in the book, "Creative People: And What Makes Them Tick."
WHY NOW and WHY ME
Thousands of strangers have contacted me, begging me to write a book on this topic—they include rape victims, parents and children of victims, social workers, mental health professionals, substance abusers, suicide attempt survivors and many more.
So why this campaign? Because as a self-employed freelance writer who volunteers to help others, I do not have enough funds to take time away from working 12–15 hours a day (scrambling to pitch editors, land assignments, and write articles). After years of trying , I have found that I cannot get my bills paid AND give this book the time and attention it needs. Thank you to anyone who can donate and/or spread the word by sharing this link .
Writing, painting, and listening to music is the way I found the most strength to keep on going. Anyone who donates even as little as $5 will receive a card.
￼"Flying Vegetables" © Dorri Olds.
￼"Asparagus" © Dorri Olds.
￼"Purple Waterfall" © Dorri Olds.
My books will help other women learn how to turn their lives around. I help women get beyond their old, skewed thinking. It was not our fault. No matter what we wore. No more self-destruction. We are reclaiming our time. Mothers can wlearn how to talk to their preteens and teens. Teachers can learn how to recognize signs of a traumatized girl.