April 1 marked the kick-off for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), sponsored by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Here in Indiana, the incredible folks at INCASA organized an important balloon release for the Day of Action on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse. Along with another survivor, Jenny Wendt, who is making incredible strides in reducing and possibly even eliminating the statute of limitations for perpetrators with the Indiana General Assembly, I was honored to be asked to say a few words from the viewpoint of a survivor.
As I said to one reporter, “What happened [to the survivor] is valid, what happened is real, and a court of law can’t stop that from being the truth…”
In my speech, I wanted to give survivors hope, and give advocates a renewed sense of empowerment. Here are a few excerpts:
“Not only is it time to talk about it, it’s time to see our faces. I am one of every three women who’s suffered abuse and assault. It’s not easy for me to be here or to talk about it, but I’m here for every person who’s looked me in the eye after a speech, for every survivor who’s sent me private messages and emails, for every silent one, to let them know we do not have to live in fear and shame…
…We can be a society that rebuilds and restores instead of shaming victims so they’re too afraid to come forward. We can be a society that embraces the wounded and binds up there wounds instead of letting perpetrators and enablers tear them wide open again. We can give survivors safety instead of fear, and an outpouring of support that blots out their shame…
…Abuse and incest and molestation and rape are crimes which cause a lifetime of devastation. But I want victims to know they can break free from generational cycles. We can find hope and healing. Beauty can and does rise from the ashes of our pain…”
You can learn more about what was shared through these links below:
Radio coverage from WIBC: http://www.wibc.com/news/story.aspx?ID=2148033
Video coverage from the local CBS affiliate, WISH: http://wishtv.com/2014/04/01/rape-survivor-rallies-for-change-at-statehouse/
Video coverage from the Indianapolis Star: http://www.indystar.com/videos/news/2014/04/01/7178671/
What will YOU do to increase awareness, talk about it, and bring survivors hope this month and throughout the year?