Taped Stories Voices

Taped Stories: Hear Our Voices

Six real stories shared by brave souls and retold by allies.

I had the Taped Stories voices display in my work place, a safe place for students for about 1 1/2 hours. There was more students then usual on Fridays.

I struggle to get the audio started on time and projecting it in the space. As the audio starts to play with the first story, my supervisor asked me to explain and warn to the staffs and students that may trigger memories. I tried my best to explain and continue playing. I also use their white board to write down the event. Students continue to do what they have already been doing, while some left the space. I was not sure if anyone was really listening but I think a few stayed for a few minutes before leaving and moving on. I took some pictures and went into my office. I went out to replay the audio when it complete a cycle.

I saw the space as an art place but it did not function as an art space. There was many students going in and out, doing their own thing. On the tables, many people were talking over the audio. Some students seems to ignored the loud audio. I started to become very bothered by the reaction of the students. These stories are meant to be listen but I did not sense any. I was offended that no one seemed to cared and I became protective of these stories. I wanted to stop the audio so very badly.

As an hour passed, more students left the space.  My boss stopped to listen for a bit and told me that this piece was very powerful. I didn’t know how to respond beside saying thank you.

 

I realized that my work place, a safe space that students can come and chill was not the right place for these stories. These students was already there and did not choose to listen to the Taped Stories.  If this was an exhibition space, I could image people stopping to sit and listen for a bit and then leaving.

My ideas was that these stories would be project very loud in the public so that people can be expose to these stories. This was suppose to have their stories heard literally. And so that this topic can become normal to talk about, if we keep talking more about it. I am glad to have experiment the audio display in my work place because now I know that these stories are very precious. I am afraid to work with it now.

These brave souls are trusting me with their stories and I think their stories need to be display in a different way. These stories need to be treated with great care, but I am not sure how. I am worry that their stories will be treat with little care and even abuse.  I don’t care if these stories are not getting to many people, I want these stories to get to the right people now, those who may need to hear these stories to fight their battles.

 

Taped Stories #5

Taped Stories #5:

“A Secret

Thinking back to when I was a child. I never knew or thought that what they did was wrong. I thought it was normal and I thought that it was a sign of affection. I didn’t know how to react at the time. The reason why I never thought or knew anything was wrong because kids are simple and complicated. They are happy, then sad, then mad, and then happy once again. Kids forget things easily; letting it slide. Yes, kids forget easily, but it affects them deeply and subconsciously.

When it first happened, I was at the age of probably 5 or 6. It was someone related to me. She was older by probably 5 years. I went over to her house for sleep overs and that’s when she would touch me. I was confused. I didn’t know how to react but she told me to keep it a secret. I remember coming home and wanting to tell my sisters but was afraid of them mocking me. I was afraid that they would call me a big mouth and so I wanted to prove to them that I could keep secrets. I wasn’t a kid.

I remember not wanting to go to her house anymore. I didn’t know why but I just had a bad feeling and I didn’t like what happens when I go over. But now that I’m thinking about it, it was probably my instincts telling me that what she’s doing to me is wrong. I was always a push over and so she would guilt trip me to going. I was so afraid to say no that I would want to cry but I would say yes anyways. Sometimes I would tell my mom to tell her that I can’t go over but to not tell her that I said that. I was afraid of how she would react.

When she has given up on me, I would have a sense of relief wash over me. It was like I could breathe once again.

Escape

During this time, there was another person who had done similar stuff to me. It was another relative. He was probably 6 or 7 years older than me. Because he is a relative, my siblings, cousins, and I would go over to his house a lot. With him, I was more afraid. He was older and stronger. His personality is rough and scary.

These memories are so dull and blurry that I don’t know what did happen and what didn’t.

I remember playing house with him and my other cousins. It was rare for him to want to play with us so we were all happy. In house, we were sleeping because it was night time. He slept next to the wall, I slept in the middle and his younger brother slept at the edge of the bed. We were all pretending to sleep and wait for morning to come.

I felt his hand reach for my butt. I froze in fear. I felt something warm in between my butt cheeks. I wanted to cry. I remember my hands shaking and asking his younger brother to move over but he couldn’t anymore because he was at the edge.

I remember his other brother (who was also playing house with us) coming to knock on the door saying that it was time to get up. I got up quickly and tried to leave but he said that it wasn’t time yet. It’s still time for us to sleep. We went back to bed and the same thing happened to me. This time I got fed up with is. I turned around and saw his face. He gave me a smirk and I got really scared. I got up and told them that it was morning time. He told me to come back to the bed. At this time, I’m sure that the younger brother had no idea of what was going on. I didn’t want to play anymore. But I was afraid of saying no to the game. I went back up and the same thing happened. But this time, it was different. Something was a bit different… I got up and told them that I will sleep on the ground.  He was fine with that, I wondered why.

Now that I think back I know why the third time was different and why he didn’t refuse me. He had cum in between my butt cheeks. As a kid, I didn’t know and I just didn’t want to think of it anymore.

There was another time when we were in another relative’s house. I was in one of the rooms hanging out with his brother. He came in and his brother left. I don’t know why but he stared at me creepily. If I remember correctly, he got onto the bed and I froze with fear. I didn’t know what to do or say. I told him that I wanted to leave but he asked me why. I said that I wanted to follow his brother but he told me to forget his brother. I was scared and tried to get out as fast as I could. Because I was a child that couldn’t say no, I needed to get out fast so that he wouldn’t be able to request of anything from me.

Luckily, his brother came back and asked what was going on. At this point, his brother was my hero. I pushed him aside and got out as fast as I could. I felt so uncomfortable in that house. I remember feeling sick to my stomach.

Dream or Reality?

I can’t tell if this was a dream or reality but it was another of my relatives. He was probably also 5 to 6 years older than me. I was playing hide and go seek with his sisters who were 2 to 3 years older than me. For some reason his relative was really kind to me and he helped me hide. We hid in his closet and tried to touch me. I moved around knowing that this was a bad thing to do. He told me to be quiet or else his sisters will find us.

Yes, his sisters found us and told their mom of what happened. Their mom lectured him and he felt remorseful. The sisters asked if I was okay and I pretended that I was okay. Because I felt bad for him. I didn’t want him to be embarrassed and I didn’t want to continue this embarrassment any longer. I just want to play hide and seek.

Bad Luck

When my family moved to a new town, I was sad to leave my school, friends, and cousins but as I grew up. I realized that it was a great decision. I was away from those two disgusting relatives. But little did I know that this relief and safety was going to end.

In the third grade, there was a teacher who taught kids in ELD groups. He seemed like a super nice guy and got along with a lot of the kids. Whenever we go see him during recess, he was always really weird and creepy. I know that I wasn’t the only victim but we couldn’t say anything, we knew that no one would believe us and it was humiliating. We had to bear with it because we also had to respect our teachers.

In that same year, he fondled my left breast right in front of my friend but he did it in a way that no one would see it. He stood on my left and I was on his right. Being smaller and shorter, he did a side hug with his right hand on my right shoulder. My left side was covered by his body and his left hand was behind his back touching my left breast.

I didn’t know what to do. I felt really embarrassed and I knew it was wrong. Well at least it FELT wrong, so I stepped over my embarrassment and I pushed him away. The atmosphere of the room felt awkward and uncomfortable but I quickly told my friend that we should leave because I wanted to go out and play. Luckily, she agreed. I told her when we were far away from his classroom. She said that he had also touched her bottom. We were freaked out and never again came into his classroom if we didn’t have to.

In the fourth grade, I was so relieved to get out of ELD group because I would never have to see him again. Once again, I jinxed myself.

In the fifth grade, I had to stay after school due to my younger brother’s ELD schedule. Some other students my brother’s age was also there but for some reason my mom wanted me to stay with him. I told her many times that I didn’t want to stay but she wouldn’t let me have my way. She told me to stay and watch over my brother. I suspect that she knew what was behind that teacher’s façade but nothing was ever confirmed that she knew what was going on. I always wanted to ask her. But I was afraid and until this day, I have not asked her.

Luckily he did NOT do anything to me while I was watching my brother. I was afraid, so afraid that he would do something to me. I thank the gods, the spirits, the heavenly deities, etc. for helping me. Sometimes I wondered if my little brother was ever touched by him? If my little brother was touched by him, I would kill that teacher. I hate him.

When I graduated out of elementary school I was so relieved. I was so happy that I would never have to come back.

In the eighth grade, I heard that he was arrested, all the memories came back. He was arrested for child molest in Alaska (if I remember correctly). Apparently, he had run away with another woman and they flew to another state together. I remember when the news was delivered I felt free. I was beyond relief. I wanted to scream out the word free. But the fact was that I wasn’t free because no one knew. No one knew that I was a victim.

I remember wondering why all these events happened to me? Why did I have to come across so much bad luck and disgusting acts in my life? Why did I have to feel embarrass? Why does ANYONE have to feel embarrass about being the victim? They are NEVER the one at fault. So why?

Can I tell my parents? Will they hate me? Will they limit my freedom because they are afraid for me? How will they react? Maybe they’ll never know?

What was going on through the minds of those who did this to me? Do they not feel any shame when they see my face now? Because I do, I feel ashamed for them.

I share these stories because I am not embarrassed of them anymore. I share them because I want other little girls and boys, women and men to know that what is going on to them is not right and that they are not alone. I want them to NOT be embarrassed of what has happened to them because it is NOT their fault.” – May 3, 2017   

Taped Stories: Hear Our Voices

Taped Stories: Hear Our Voices

Listen to six real stories shared by brave souls and retold by allies. 

Day: Friday, May 5th, 2017

Time: 12PM-2PM

Location: Cross-Cultural Leadership Center
Meriam Library (MLIB) 172
California State University, Chico
400 West First Street
Chico, CA 95929-0747
530-898-4101

This is an opportunity to listen to stories in a safe place. All are welcome to join the conversation and experience through voices. For more information, please contact Maly Xiong at Tapedstories@gmail.com.

 

A Week Afterward

It has been a full week after my silence performance. I was very excited to have my voice back on midnight of April 21. In the beginning, I was hesitant to speak. I am still limiting myself even after the tape has been removed. It took some time to switch back on to talking again. My throat starts to strain after having long conversations. I wonder if that was what I usually sound like before. I am fine now and I am completely comfortable again. I was exhausted and was glad that this was over. It was tough but I did it.

I been wondering if people understood my mission. I thought about the times when I did not give out the notecards to certain people. Should I have tried to even though I did not feel comfortable to do so. I learn that I was still not ready to tell my parents and grandparents. I think that I am still processing this project and my experiences. I am proud to go through this project with many support. I feel relieved that I have let out my truth and knowing that I challenge people to reflect and even speak out. I still think about that little girl sometimes. I hoped this has reached to her family somehow. I hope they know that she is not alone.

I picked up my first book that discussed sexual abuse a few years ago. It was a random book that I scanned over. I remember one particular story of a mother abusing her male child. The child grew up and he stated that it was mutual. I remember reading about a man getting raped in a public bathroom. He stated that it happened so fast and that he thought that this will never happened to him. I remember reading a post on a video where the daughter stated of a sexual mutual relationship with her father. Sexual abuse is very tricky because most time the abuser is a trusted individual and older. And the victim is usually younger or just a child. Sometimes I wonder, why people become abuser. I feel that we need to talk about sex and sexuality. Our education need to do a better job that explains how to protect ourselves. We also need to discussed about our patriarchal society and power and oppression. I think we still got a long way but it starts with us first.

I am still collecting stories for another week. During this time, I will still be reflecting and looking over all the writings on my blog and sticky notes to people. And so I challenge you all to reflect on any injustice incident or any experiences that made you feel uncomfortable. And when you are ready, share with us your story.

I am Ready

Day 19 Refection (Last Day)

Today was my last day. This was it. It been a long and short journey. There was time when I wish I haven’t thought of this project and then there was time when I thought that I can do this longer than 19 days. I could get use to it. But eventually there is an end to everything and it was today for the duct tape. I am content and excited to move on to the next journey. As I am getting more submission of stories, I am excited to work on narration of the stories on campus. Our stories will be heard. Thank you all for following me and supporting me throughout this journey. Really, without you all, I probably wouldn’t have a good experiences with this project.

I have been writing less on my mini notebook because I am communicating more on through texting and writing on scrap papers and sticky notes. These past 19 day, I have only went out to restaurants a few time. I usually use an app to buy food on campus. But off campus, I am accompanied by family or friends and I would text them what I want. Today in my late class, a classmate ask if this was the last day and I nodded. She wanted some feedback on one of class project. She told me that I should just talk because it was my last day. I shooked my head and wrote down on my mini notebook of questions and comments. This was the best I can do for her.

As I walked with a classmate to her car, many people were walking around because of Thursday night market. There was a lot of high school students and older people. One student mentioned the tape right as I passed them. I kept walking because that was not a good time to have an interaction in the middle of a crosswalk. And I am pretty good with ignoring people now. I just look straight on now but I am aware of people’s stares. My classmate said that she was use to my duct tape now and so when she saw an older man just staring for a long time, she was surprised. I tried to use my hands to gesture that I am pretty use to it too. I am getting comfortable with not talking. I was listening if people were willing to talk about anything.

I am hurt when people did ignored me or maybe that was just how I saw it. Earlier in the week, I was in a class of 6 and the instructor asked person to person of their input on this discussion. I wrote on my mini whiteboard of each questions she asked but she had called out to the other students. I was surprised and embarrassed as I erased my comments on my whiteboard. Today in my late class, a classmate who was in my group project showed his work to the other group classmate sitting right behind me and then left. I ignored him but he only called out the other group member. I did not have a good relationship with him but I had to tell myself that I didn’t really care anyways.

With this project, there was so many things that was difficult like actually walking with the tape and communicating with family, friends, and etc. At some point, I did have to tell myself why I was doing this project. The communication wasn’t what I dislike most. It was because I was sticking out in a crowd. I really did not like to stand out that much especially with something that isn’t suppose to be on my face. But I made it. I took a long leap and it feels good to have come this far. And of course, if I did not have support for this, I would of never followed through, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Special thank you to…

Bao Xiong, Jer Xiong, Julie Xiong, Khou Xiong, Karly Derosa, Bill Lee

Professor Joshua Olivera, Professor Lauren Ruth, Professor Rachel Middleman, Sierra Diamond and class Arts 495

Cross-Cultural Leadership Center family and Katie Peterson

Strong brave soul who shared their story

 

 

Day 18 Reflection

I tried to avoid eye contact with strangers as they passed by. I am aware that they are aware of the tape. I just look straight on and look down without smiling eyes. I feels like I am back to square one with the tape. I guess when the ending day gets closer, the more I want it to end. This has not been an easy thing to do. When needing to eat, drink, cough, sneeze, I have to take off the duct tape. Luckily, I been taking allergy pills to maintain sneezing and stuffy nose to a minimum. But I think tomorrow, I may not be so lucky anymore. As I am writing this at 11pm, I can hardly breath through my nose. I been using older duct tape to reduce stickiness. At first is was easy but it became painful as my skin really clinged onto the tape when peeling. When I don’t have the tape, I constantly have to remember not to talk since it is natural for me to do so, even after several days.

A sister help me take these pictures by a roundabout near school and a car drove by with a man taking a second look and then laughing. It bothered me that a stranger laugh at me for having tape over my mouth. I told my sister and she said it was probably because she was taking pictures so far, she assumed that he have seen her and then me as he passed by within seconds. I told her that I doubt he was laughing because of that. I guess from that experiences, I am feeling weak and can’t take too much longer of the project. I am really trying to finish on Thursday with a high head. I also been avoiding going to other offices now to pay for fees and etc. I am waiting to be invisible again.

Later, I was helped my sister with her project with some video recording. It was hard to explain what I was doing for the recording. When I was trying to get some room tone, I gesture them with my index figure to the lip and held my hand up with figures flicking up to show that I am counting as passing seconds. I showed her the room tone term through my phone. But she still didn’t understand and so I text her. She still didn’t get it and eventually, I started to show example with my muffled voice and even answering her through that, which she understood by my tone and sound. Sometimes when they ask me a question regarding photography, I just don’t answer because it is a complex answer.

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I am tired but I am glad to have come this far. I like to thank those who have submitted their stories. They are truly courageous and their story will be heard. Once again, thank you, family and friends for supporting me. I really grateful to my mentors, professors and classmates who have really encourage me to follow through. Only one more day left.

Taped Stories #4

Taped Stories #4:

I was 5 years old when I was raped. My memory of it has always been in the back of my mind, it’s hard not to always think about it. Although I don’t recall every piece of it, unconsciously blocking parts of it from my memory, I remember feeling that my childhood was taken away from me. My parents, brothers and I were renting a room at my dad’s friends house. From the time I was born, my family and I rented or stayed in places temporarily until we found an apartment. He was the son of the family we were staying at. He was in his 20’s and was asked by my parents to be my babysitter, trusting him to take care of me. How ironic is that? I never noticed the lingering gazes or the fondling or the amount of time he would keep me on his leg, bouncing me, while enjoying the view. I was a kid who never new what the word sex meant or anything intimate. I was still focused on barbies and dress-up. One day, my mother and father had to do some errands and left me in his care. At first, it felt like any other day until he led me to his room. His room was dark and had a large bed with tall headboards. I remember going, him laying me down and tying me up. My tiny arms were held by rope that was attached to the headboard. Blank. I don’t remember what happened. Blank. What was happening? Was I screaming? Blank.

I remember my parents calling for me and when they heard nothing they automatically got defensive and protective.

I remember my dad knocking on the door

I remember my dad kicking the door.

i remember seeing the light when the door opened.

Blank.

I remember going to the police station and telling them my story. They seemed too preoccupied to care about a child getting raped. They still took down my information.

Blank.

I have never asked my parents about what exactly happened to him. I do know that he is in jail. I also don’t want to bring it up to them because opening that wound will bring back all the pain to my parents, something I only wish to have for myself.

I do want to see him. I want to face him and tell that he did not break me forever. I want him to see that I am happy. I want him to pay. Although I have met others who have forgiven those who raped, abused or assaulted them, I can not. Some people may agree, some may not but it took me a very long time to come to this conclusion.

My name is Kimberly Gomez and I was raped. I say my name because it was, and still is, very hard to tell people about my story. I don’t want pity or sadness from anyone. I do want to be more open about my story because I know if I speak up, others will see it.” – April 19, 2017

Taped Stories #3

Taped Stories #3:

“I was probably 13-14 years old when it happened. I was infatuated with the boy next door and so I let myself get involved with him sexually. I trusted him and I thought he liked me the way I did for him. I thought maybe all this playing around, messing around, was a way of expressing our feelings. I was naive. I was proven wrong when it turned out that he informed about what he did with me to his friends. He never came out and told me explicitly but I knew he told his friends about me. One night, I hung out with him and his friends and his friend took me to a dark part of the backyard. I got carried away, thinking too naively and innocently. I thought this was just part of flirting, yes. But he tried to force me. When he tried to get me to kiss him and do more, I refused. He tried to force me, pushing me against the wooden fence, trying to pull my pants down. I felt his half-hard dick against my backside, I felt his overwhelming strength and I knew I was too weak to fight back physically. I was terrified and I kept refusing and whispering, “You don’t want to do this, no, please, you don’t want to do this,” but he kept saying, “I know you want this, I know you do this.” I was terrified but I couldn’t scream. That would bring attention to him and his friends, and I didn’t know if they would’ve helped. Luckily, I’m so very lucky, that he let go and didn’t force me any further. But one of the most horrifying parts of this whole thing is that I didn’t even say anything about it afterwards. I couldn’t. I never confronted him or his friends. I was just so ashamed of what happened, how I let myself get carried away, how I let him treat me like trash and pass me around to his friends.” – April 18, 2017

Day 17 Reflection

Today was the third last day. Only 2 more day left on Wednesday and I will have been silent for 19 days with tape over my mouth. I think I been telling people that I only have 1 day left but it’s actually 2. The dates is throwing me off because I started on the 2nd of April and so I would end on the 20th of April. Sometimes, I forget that people are still seeing me for the first time and so they looked like they want to know more but I am not that shy and humble person anymore. I don’t have time to run over and give them a note card anymore. It is bad timing now. If I don’t interact with the people, then it is more likely that I will not give them a card even though they looked curiosity and briefly mentioned it as I walk by.

I realized that when I am alone outside and not walking to places. My fears creep up on me. When I walk, I feel like people will have less time to actually see me and think of cruel ways to harrased me. But if I hung out by the library, waiting for my sister especially at night. I start getting all these crazy imaginations as cars passed by and hearing loud male students talking.

I still find it very humorous as I interact with other fellow students. Earlier, before going to my late class, a student came to talk to me about a group research paper in another class. I was eating a snack and so I didn’t have tape. She talked and I nodded but then I gesture her to text me. And then she said “oh, you can’t talk?” And I nodded. She said she will email me instead and I waved good bye. I guess people didn’t think I will do this for so long. Later that night, I was grabbing some late dinner with a friend. He would say something and if it was a yes or maybe or no question, I would answer. But if it wasn’t, I just text him while he was driving. I waited for a red light to show him but that didn’t work. And so I kept silent. He have told me that he actually enjoyed the quietness of my company.

I am pretty happy that this project is coming towards a closing for my part. Even if people did not share their stories, it is alright. I am just glad I did it this far and of course with many thanks to professors, classmates, mentors, friends and family. I hope I have impacted them in some ways.

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