We recently celebrated International Women's Day, which in my mind brings forth lots of positive thoughts, about equality and progress, change and growth, and the increasingly celebrated presence of women's voices in the world. Today I am reminded that regardless of how far we've come, there are still miles left to travel.
I stumbled upon an indiegogo campaign for photographer Grace Brown's project Unbreakable, which sheds light on and gives voice to some of the silence associated with sexual assault. The project started when she began photographing survivors of sexual assault holding up signs bearing quotes from their attackers. Some chose to hold the signs in front of their faces, others chose to hold it across their chest, but regardless, it is chilling to watch them display the words of their attackers--words these women will likely never forget. The video about the project (WATCH IT HERE) is visually powerful, sometimes shocking, and very moving.
This is, of course, not exclusively a women's issue--many men experience sexual assault and are survivors too, and in fact there is an even greater silence around those crimes. part of what intrigues me about this project is the specific focus on words of the attackers. It lends a new layer of humanity to discussions of what it means to be a "victim" or a "survivor" and what you really have to carry and what it takes to heal. It makes me simultaneously upset and inspired--proud, too, of people who can take words of shame and turn them into a banner for survival.
Thinking and talking about these issues saddens me deeply, but I am far more saddened by the knowledge that there are hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of survivors out there who are still afraid to speak. I feel inspired by project Unbreakable, and by the millions of survivors who ARE speaking out and finding healing on the process.
Will you watch the video? What do you think about this project?