New Feature: Susanna Shutz Robar

 Susanna shares a breathtaking poem for our newest SAAM feature, Winds of Autumn. Winds of Autumn is beautifully written and wonderfully fluid, definitely a great piece!

New Feature: Megan Molargik

 Today, we’re featuring a poem by Megan Molargik called “The Love of a Friend”, simply because it reminds us of the healing that can be done through the strength of a community. Join us in recognizing Megan’s strength, as well as the hope and love we find in each other.  

Read: “The Love of a Friend”.

New Feature: Michelle

 In today’s SAAM feature, Michelle uses her story to shed light on an oft ignored sexual assault circumstance: sex workers being raped. For some heinous reason, the validity of this issue is constantly up for debate, and sex workers must work even harder to prove their stories when pursuing prosecution for their attackers. Her story is powerful and heart-wrenching, an eye-opening experience for anyone who doesn’t believe sexual assault can occur when a sex worker is involved. With more stories like these, we can only hope to open the eyes of the ignorant and begin combatting sexual violence towards all people, no matter their occupation. Read Michelle’s story.

New Feature: Elizabeth Kerian

 A victim impact statement, first exercised during the Manson Murder trials in 1969 by victim Sharon Tate’s mother, Doris Tate, is “a victim’s written statement which is submitted to the United States Attorney’s Office and forwarded to probation who then submits it to the Judge to review before sentencing the defendant. It personalizes to the Judge the emotional, physical, and financial impact you and others have suffered as a direct result of this crime. Since some victims are uncomfortable with completing a formal statement for review, the Judge will also consider a personal letter. Victim Impact Statements may be seen by the defendant and the defense attorney.” *

In this compelling impact statement written by Elizabeth, we are reminded of the power of words. Elizabeth summoned the strength to repeat the words of her attacker as a tool for persuading the Judge on her case to increase her attacker’s sentence:

“..As you contemplate a sentence, please consider his parting words that play over and over again in my head: “Have a nice life, Bitch.” 

Read the entire impact statement.

* source: US DOJ

New Feature: Kristen Bakalar

In this compelling story about the moment that Kristen was preparing to testify against her attacker, Kristen acknowledges a number of difficulties that many survivors encounter,  including the reaction of parents and loved ones, the seemingly unavoidable barrage of memories of the attack, as well as some of the physical reactions one has to memories of the attack. Wonderfully descriptive, this story allows even the most far removed reader to really experience exactly what Kristen was going through during that very difficult time.

“The dam behind my eyes continued to build as each second passed; I was nervous it would break. The sweat was consuming my body, but it wasn’t a normal sweat.  There were no drips running down my cheek, no beads forming on my forehead, and the color of my shirt hadn’t changed under my arms.  This sweat was more agitating; I was squirming and fighting to get it off of me.  I was panicking and felt under attack by the silent sweat that was steaming out of the pores of my skin.”

Continue reading Kristen’s story.

New Feature: Thom Rispoli

Check out our newest featured story. We are featuring a new poem, story, or artwork every day this month so stay posted!

In his story, Thom Rispoli talks about the sexual abuse he survived as a child. Here is an excerpt:

“A child’s mind is truly amazing. If something is too difficult to deal with, the mind just blocks out what happened until it is able to deal it. You cannot choose when the memories that you have suppressed will resurface. The memories may come at time when you are ready to deal with them, but is anyone ever really ready to face the reality of the past abuse?” Read the rest of Thom’s story.