It Was My Fault – The If Only Mindset

by Ellen Groves


High school was a rough time for me. I grew up in a very abusive environment, and suffered from low-self esteem and very self-destructive tendencies. I was a straight-A student, involved in many extracurricular activities, and on the fast-track to a full-ride at a respected university. All of this began to change during my junior year. Certain circumstances led to a complete mental breakdown that caused my anxiety to spiral out of control. During this time, I developed a drug addiction. During this time, I also had a boyfriend that encouraged my drug use. I was hooked on several types of prescription drugs and cough syrup. One night, I took too many pills and overdosed. My boyfriend was there at the time, and as I faded in and out of consciousness, I begged him to tell my parents or take me to the hospital. I was having heart palpitations, experiencing delirium, and aspirating on my own vomit because I couldn’t move from my bed to a trash can.

Instead of taking me to the hospital, my boyfriend had sex with me. While I was vomiting on myself and barely able to speak, let alone move. I thought that I was going to die, and the last thing I would remember is being forced to have sex while my body was on fire. When he was finished, he left me upstairs in my room, alone. Somehow I made it through the night, and managed to drive myself to the hospital the next morning.

I hated my boyfriend. He told me I was being dramatic. He told me that I shouldn’t have taken so many drugs. He told me that I was his girlfriend, and if he wanted to have sex with me, he could. He told me I deserved it.

And I believed him.

I’ve only shared this story with a few people in my life, but every time I tell it, I don’t define it as rape. I blame myself. For ten years, I have defended his actions by blaming myself. I say that I shouldn’t have been doing drugs; if I had been clear-headed, things would have been different. I have convinced myself that it was my fault, even though I was in my own home and incapacitated. People have told me for years that it wasn’t my fault, but I will always believe that it was.

This is the problem with society. Women are still viewed as property, and men still feel entitled to our bodies, even when we say no. Or can’t say no. When people tell me their experiences with sexual assault, I always assure them that it wasn’t their fault, but I don’t know if I’ll ever believe it that my assault wasn’t mine.

Sexual assault is inexcusable. I will never forget that night, laying in my bed, covered in semen, vomit, and blood. If something like this has happened to you, please listen to my words. It was NOT your fault. I may never be able to believe it for myself, but I hope that my story reaches you. No matter the circumstances, your body is your own, and don’t let anyone convince you that you “deserved what you got.” Not even if it’s your own inner voice.


Face The Fear of Being Judged: Speak Out About Domestic Violence

by Vanessa Daniela

Being embarrassed, ashamed and afraid are some of the feelings that a lot of us keep to ourselves especially after eyewitness or suffer from domestic violence. October is the Domestic Violence Awareness month, and the statistics show that a lot of women still experience traumatic situations in their lifetime. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 5 women has been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their life.

Usually, the women abused by an intimate partner are between the ages of 18 – 24. However, I have known a lot of women, who as seniors report that they were abused their entire life. Although they never reported that behavior, that outcome was because girls, since childhood, are taught the social norms of gender inequality. A husband, father or any other male family member had the right to punish a female relative for imagined or actual infractions. Anything the male did not like, at the time, was a trigger for physical, verbal, or emotional punishment. Unfortunately, most of the statistics are based on published reports; those women who never reported their abuse, what and how they suffered, will ever be counted.

Beside of fear or more retaliation, female victims feel unable to speak out even years later. Many reasons can cause a victim to shut down or even to commit suicide: the fear of exposing a family member, of being threated by the aggressor, be judged by a family are only a handful of truths that surround the victims of domestic violence with an on-going feeling of hopelessness.

Unfortunately, our society tends to criticize and blame those females who went thru abusive repressions, “Why did she not speak up?” strangers outside the situation will ask. However, those unenlightened people with questions like that should be saying instead, “Do not let them push you down! Be strong and speak out. Despite all, please remember your life and your children’s lives are precious, and nobody deserves to live in inhuman situation,” and then working to help empower additional victims.

If you are the victim of aggression, please contact the closest coalition near your home. Be aware that a lot of centers are not open 24/7.

If it is an emergency – contact 911.

Please find below the list of the Coalitions per state:

Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence
P.O. Box 4762
Montgomery, AL 36101
(334) 832-4842 Fax: (334) 832-4803
(800) 650-6522 Hotline

Alaska Network on Domestic and Sexual Violence
130 Seward Street, Suite 14
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 586-3650 Fax: (907) 463-4493

Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
2800 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1570
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 279-2900 Fax: (844) 252-3094
(800) 782-6400 Nationwide

Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1401 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 170
Little Rock, AR 72201
(501) 907-5612 Fax: (501) 907-5618
(800) 269-4668 Nationwide

California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
P.O. Box 1798
Sacramento, CA 95812
(916) 444-7163 Fax: (916) 444-7165
(800) 524-4765 Nationwide

Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1120 Lincoln Street, Suite 900
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 831-9632 Fax: (303) 832-7067
(888) 778-7091

Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
912 Silas Deane Highway, Lower Level
Wethersfield, CT 06109
(860) 282-7899 Fax: (860) 282-7892
(888) 774-2900 In State DV Hotline

Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence
100 West 10th Street, Suite 903
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 658-2958 Fax: (302) 658-5049
(800) 701-0456 Statewide

DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
5 Thomas Circle Northwest
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 299-1181 Fax: (202) 299-1193

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence
425 Office Plaza Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 425-2749 Fax: (850) 425-3091
(850) 621-4202 TDD
(800) 500-1119 In State

Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
114 New Street, Suite B
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 209-0280 Fax: (404) 766-3800
(800) 334-2836 Crisis Line

Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
810 Richards Street, Suite 960
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 832-9316 Fax: (808) 841-6028

Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
300 E. Mallard Drive, Suite 130
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 384-0419 Fax: (208) 331-0687
(888) 293-6118 Nationwide

Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence
801 South 11th Street
Springfield, IL 62703
(217) 789-2830 Fax: (217) 789-1939
(217) 242-0376 TTY

Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1915 West 18th Street, Suite B
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 917-3685 Fax: (317) 917-3695
(800) 332-7385 In State

Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
3030 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, IA 50312
(515) 244-8028 Fax: (515) 244-7417
(800) 942-0333 In State Hotline

Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
634 Southwest Harrison Street
Topeka, KS 66603
(785) 232-9784 Fax: (785) 266-1874

Kentucky Domestic Violence Association
111 Darby Shire Circle
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 209-5382 Phone Fax (502) 226-5382

Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
P.O. Box 77308
Baton Rouge, LA 70879
(225) 752-1296 Fax: (225) 751-8927

Maine Coalition To End Domestic Violence
One Weston Court, Box #2
Augusta, ME 04330
(207) 430-8334 Fax: (207) 430-8348

Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
4601 Presidents Drive, Suite 370
Lanham, MD 20706
(301) 352-4574 Fax: (301) 809-0422
(800) 634-3577 Nationwide

Jane Doe, Inc./Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
14 Beacon Street, Suite 507
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 248-0922 Fax: (617) 248-0902
(617) 263-2200 TTY/TDD

Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
3893 Okemos Road, Suite B-2
Okemos, MI 48864
(517) 347-7000 Phone/TTY Fax: (517) 248-0902

Minnesota Coalition For Battered Women
60 E. Plato Blvd., Suite 130
St. Paul, MN 55107
(651) 646-6177 Fax: (651) 646-1527
(651) 646-0994 Crisis Line
(800) 289-6177 Nationwide

Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence
P.O. Box 4703
Jackson, MS 39296
(601) 981-9196 Fax: (601) 981-2501
(800) 898-3234

Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
217 Oscar Drive, Suite A
Jefferson City, MO 65101
(573) 634-4161 Fax: (573) 636-3728

Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
P.O. Box 818
Helena, MT 59624
(406) 443-7794 Fax: (406) 443-7818
(888) 404-7794 Nationwide

Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition
245 S. 84th Street, Suite 200
Lincoln, NE 68510
(402) 476-6256 Fax: (402) 476-6806
(800) 876-6238 In State Hotline
(877) 215-0167 Spanish Hotline

Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence
250 South Rock BLVD., Suite 116
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 828-1115 Fax: (775) 828-9911

New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
P.O. Box 353
Concord, NH 03302
(603) 224-8893 Fax: (603) 228-6096
(866) 644-3574 In State

New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women
1670 Whitehorse Hamilton Square Road
Trenton, NJ 08690
(609) 584-8107 Fax: (609) 584-9750
(800) 572-7233 In State

New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1210 Luisa Street, Suite 7
Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 246-9240 Fax: (505) 246-9434
(800) 773-3645 In State

New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
119 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor
Albany, NY 12054
(518) 482-5464 Fax: (518) 482-3807
(800) 942-5465 English-In State
(800) 942-6908 Spanish-In State

North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
3710 University Drive, Suite 140
Durham, NC 27707
(919) 956-9124 Fax: (919) 682-1449
(888) 997-9124

North Dakota Council on Abused Women’s Services
525 N. 4th Street
Bismarck, ND 5850
(701) 255-6240 Fax: (701) 255-1904
(888) 255-6240 Nationwide

Action Ohio Coalition For Battered Women
5900 Roche Drive, Suite 445
Columbus, OH 43229
(614) 825-0551 Fax: (614) 825-0673
(888) 622-9315 In State

Ohio Domestic Violence Network
4807 Evanswood Drive, Suite 201
Columbus, OH 43229
(614) 781-9651 Fax: (614) 781-9652
(614) 781-9654 TTY
(800) 934-9840

Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
3815 North Santa Fe Avenue, Suite 124
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
(405) 524-0700 Fax: (405) 524-0711

Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
1737 NE Alberta Street, Suite 205
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 230-1951 Fax: (503) 230-1973
(877) 230-1951

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
3605 Vartan Way, Suite 101
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(717) 545-6400 Fax: (717) 545-9456
(800) 932-4632 Nationwide

The Office of Women Advocates
Box 11382
Fernandez Juancus Station
Santurce, PR 00910
(787) 721-7676 Fax: (787) 725-9248

Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
422 Post Road, Suite 102
Warwick, RI 02888
(401) 467-9940 Fax: (401) 467-9943
(800) 494-8100 In State

South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
P.O. Box 7776
Columbia, SC 29202
(803) 256-2900 Fax: (803) 256-1030
(800) 260-9293 Nationwide

South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
P.O. Box 141
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 945-0869 Fax: (605) 945-0870
(800) 572-9196 Nationwide

Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
2 International Plaza Drive, Suite 425
Nashville, TN 37217
(615) 386-9406 Fax: (615) 383-2967
(800) 289-9018 In State

Texas Council On Family Violence
P.O. Box 163865
Austin, TX 78716
(512) 794-1133 Fax: (512) 794-1199

Utah Domestic Violence Council
205 North 400 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
(801) 521-5544 Fax: (801) 521-5548

Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
P.O. Box 405
Montpelier, VT 05601
(802) 223-1302 Fax: (802) 223-6943
(802) 223-1115 TTY

Women’s Coalition of St. Croix
P.O. Box 222734
St. Croix, VI 00822
(340) 773-9272 Fax: (340) 773-9062

Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
5008 Monument Avenue, Suite A
Richmond, VA 23230
Office: 804.377.0335 Fax: 804.377.0339

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
711 Capitol Way, Suite 702
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 586-1022 Fax: (360) 586-1024
(360) 586-1029 TTY

1402 Third Avenue, Suite 406
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 389-2515 Fax: (206) 389-2520
(800) 886-2880 In State
(206) 389-2900 TTY

Washington State Native American Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault
P.O. Box 13260
Olympia, WA 98508
(360) 352-3120 Fax: (360) 357-3858
(888) 352-3120

West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
5004 Elk River Road South
Elkview, WV 25071
(304) 965-3552 Fax: (304) 965-3572

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1245 East Washington Avenue, Suite 150
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 255-0539 Fax: (608) 255-3560

Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
P.O. Box 236
710 Garfield Street, Suite 218
Laramie, WY 82073
(307) 755-5481 Fax: (307) 755-5482
(800) 990-3877 Nationwide

Experiencing Physical Abuse

Like Success

by Melissa

I did not think that my first domestic violence experience was abuse. I was in my late teens and early 20s. I lived with my boyfriend, who years later would be my son’s father. We used to get along well, but we would argue. Of course, I thought this was normal. What relationship doesn’t have problems?

We used to have a vehicle that was mine. My boyfriend would take my car, go and hang out with his cousins for hours! Sometimes I wouldn’t see him until early the next morning. I remember one day after he had been out awhile, he came home, and I said something about him having been gone all night. I guess it made him mad because instead of our usual “You this, you that” argument, he pushed me against the wall; he had his hand around my throat. He held me there for what felt like forever until I said, “It hurts!” then, he let go.

That incident was my first experience with physical abuse. During our ten plus years of having an intimate relationship, my boyfriend never hit me; he would push me around and call out my name, but did not get physically violent. So, I did not think twice about his actions being abusive. I never considered I had been in a domestic violence situation. The truth is I had been. Anytime you allow someone to abuse you, whether physically or emotionally, you lose your power.

Remember love doesn’t hurt. Your boyfriend/spouse should value your worth. If they don’t, you need to ask yourself how much do you value your life?

Not every domestic violence situation ends in tragedy, but the fact is that most of them do, the scars just aren’t always visible. I’m honored to be able to tell my story for those who can’t.

What Do You Know About the Trafficking of Children?

by Tavish
 Human Trafficking has come the forefront of advocacy groups in the past ten years. It has been a “hot topic” in the media, especially trafficking of children. We all have heard about it, seen ways to raise money, or articles stating that it is happening right where we live. But, what does it mean for a child to be exploited through human trafficking?
            What do we really know about the trafficking of children? It is estimated that 1.2 million children worldwide are trafficked every year. Children as young as 12 years old are trafficked, for sexual exploitation. It is estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the U.S. each year. 
            The trafficking of children means the sale of children for not only sexual exploitation, but also for forms of child labor. The trafficking of humans today is often referred to as modern day slavery. Trafficked children could be victims of incest, rape, and sexual molestation. Children may be prostituted or forced into child pornography. Children may be forced in to an early marriage.  Victims of human trafficking face many potential traumas. 
            When we think of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, we often picture a young girl, but know, out the 4,000 children in New York City estimated to be sexually exploited, 50% are boys. In the U.S. it is estimated that 100,000 children are sexually exploited each year. 
            The trafficking of children DOES happen where you live. Children ARE sexually exploited in a $99 Billion market. Children ARE used in forced labor in a $150 Billion market. 
To learn more, here are some resources:

The Military’s Contribution To Sex Trafficking in South Korea

        by Ellen Groves

Most of us have been to towns located around military bases, and they all tend to look alike. The closer you get to the base, the more unsavory the neighborhoods become. There are run-down businesses, strip clubs, massage parlors, and prostitutes walking the streets. It’s a strange phenomenon, but sex has been bought and sold around military bases for a long time, due to the endless demand from soldiers. Unfortunately, this has caused “military towns” to become hubs for human trafficking. More specifically, sex trafficking. In this two-part blog post, we’re going to explore the military’s response to sex trafficking/prostitution throughout history.


One of the worst cases of military involvement was in South Korea during World War II and the Korean War. South Korean sex workers were encouraged by their government to please American soldiers, and were called patriots for boosting the economy and keeping the American soldiers happy. While women in the U.S were taking to the workforce, women in South Korea were forced to take to the street.

South Korea had a strict “hands off” attitude for soldiers and Korean women, but the rules didn’t apply to sex workers, entertainers, and dancers; so they created specific areas around the U.S bases for these women to work called “camptowns”. Most women that worked at the camptowns were from poor, rural families that had nowhere else to go, but as the demand grew, more and more women were coerced into selling themselves. Legislation was passed to legalize prostitution in areas known as “camptowns”, and the demand for women sex workers soared. The South Korean government and U.S military worked together to make these camptowns possible.

By 1958, there were an estimated 300,000 sex workers, and over half worked in camptowns. The government had started giving classes to the “entertainment women” that included English, etiquette, and ways to sell themselves to American soldiers.

After mass outbreaks of venereal diseases, the government instituted regulations for their “entertainment women”. They began testing the girls for diseases and tagging them. Those who tested positive for diseases were quarantined in a detention center. After Korean officials legalized the special districts for Americans, Military Police were allowed to arrest women without health inspection cards.

They also created some pretty hilarious Anti-VD posters.

In 1965, 85 percent of soldiers admitted to being with a prostitute.

Women were often “owned” by G.I.s in a way similar to the concubine tradition. Some men had their “steadies” and others owned their girls with a house. When it was time for the G.I to report back to the U.S, they would often sell the girl(s) to incoming soldiers. It’s horrifying to think that anyone, regardless of gender, were bought and sold due to convenience.

The South Korean government allowed this because they didn’t want American soldiers to leave. The American military presence was needed due to tensions between the North and South Koreas, and the South Korean economy was struggling. “They urged us to sell as much as possible to the GI’s, praising us as ‘dollar-earning patriots,’” recounts former sex worker Aeran Kim. “Our government was one big pimp for the U.S. military.” (Quote from Politco Magazine)


In an interview with the New York Times, a former prostitute from the camptowns recounted her experience in the camptowns. “Jeon, 71, who agreed to talk only if she was identified by just her surname, said she was an 18-year-old war orphan in 1956 when hunger drove her to Dongduchon, a camp town near the border with North Korea. She had a son in the 1960s, but she became convinced that he would have a better future in the United States and gave him up for adoption when he was 13. “The more I think about my life, the more I think women like me were the biggest sacrifice for my country’s alliance with the Americans,” she said. “Looking back, I think my body was not mine, but the government’s and the U.S. military’s.” (CHOE SANG-HUNJAN. Jan. 7, 2009)

In my next post, I’m going to go more into detail about how the camptowns of South Korea started the trend of selling sex near military bases. They affected not only South Korean bases, but bases all over the world. Bases are supposed to symbolize freedom and honor, but have created a business of slavery. The worst part is: everyone knows it. People know that the strip clubs and massage parlors are fronts for sex trafficking, but they go anyway. It’s time to give these women recognition. It’s time to stop accepting this as the norm. It’s time to be outraged.

Breaking The Silence

Image source: Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence

by Melissa

Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. It includes mental, emotional and financial abuse. I was in an abusive relationship for the past three years, but this wasn’t my first experience with Domestic Violence. My first experience was years ago as a teenager with my son’s father. We would argue and call each other names, of course, I thought this was just part of being in a relationship. Even that time he pushed me up against a wall, I didn’t think of this as being abusive, but it was. Knowing now that is was abuse is why it’s important for me to tell my story and encourage others to do the same. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones because I got out. So many times you hear about women killed by the hands of their boyfriends or spouses. Because these women no longer have a voice, we as survivors have to use ours. If you’re currently in an abusive relationship, I encourage you to get out. I know this can be a scary thought. But just know that once you take that 1st step, everything else will fall into place. If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

The first step to breaking free is breaking the silence..

About The Project

We Are All The Same Project is a multimedia project and a movement that brings awareness to Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, and promotes Women Empowerment and Gender Equality. Motivated women and girls can change lives.

We believe that together we will be able to make a better World.  Retracting part of my life experience, giving the opportunity to all women speak out about delicate subjects and extending this project in a further study are my journey.  Furthermore, preventing females from vulnerable situations, assisting those that are going or went thru traumatic events, empowerment and gender equality are fundamentals that embrace our cause.

“Sharing is caring.” Share your story with us.

Inspire for a better life.