My name is Caleb Byers and I am a male-identified SURVIVOR of sexual assault. I made this video for one reason. To encourage other survivors to speak out against the person(s) who assaulted them. To any of my fellow survivors who manage to stumble onto my website, remember this, you are NOT alone. Most importantly, never forget that we, as survivors of sexual assault are NOT powerless to overcome our experiences.
If it weren't for someone reaching out to me when I was in Iowa City you wouldn't be reading this now. I know how much just having one person to confide in can help. The worst thing you can do is to stay silent. So, please, tell someone that you trust. Only then, will recovery truly begin.
A Note On Vocabulary:
Some of you may have noticed that I refer to myself using the adjective of "survivor", when it is more common to hear the adjective of "victim" in reference to an individual who has experienced a sexual assault. I hate this adjective and I refuse to use it. Here is why.
For a long time after my sexual assault, I thought of myself as a "victim" and that word defined me. It not only affected how I perceived myself, but how I perceived the world. If there is one thing that you take away from viewing my website, I hope that it is what I am going to tell you now. I am no longer a victim of my experience. I am a human being, just like all of you who are reading this. Yes, I went through a terrible experience. But, I am still here, and I am a stronger person for having survived it. Therefore, I refer to my own self, and any other individual who has experienced rape and/or a sexual assault as a survivor.
Changing the label I used to describe myself, empowered me, it enabled me to move on and to heal from my experience. For better, or for worse, labels have the power to define a person's very existince. So, if you find yourself referring to someone who has experienced a sexual assault and/or rape as a "victim", I highly encourage you to change that word to "survivor". In doing so, your perception of that person will change. They are not weak, or powerless, instead they are strong, and powerful. In changing one word, you can help change a life by empowering that survivor to move on, to heal, and to grow from their experience.
Never forget that change starts with you.
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi