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End the Silence Campaign is releasing its first-ever print publication! We will feature stories, poetry, and art by survivors of sexual violence in an effort to increase communication about this important issue and help end the silence surrounding rape, sexual abuse, and sexual assault. If you have an original work to share, please email your submission to: emily@endthesilencecampaign.org.

All submissions must be received by May 1, 2010 in order to be considered for publication.

Are You A Fan?

Are you a fan of End the Silence Campaign on Facebook yet? If not, then you should be!

Become a Fan Now!

End the Silence Campaign wants to spread the word about our website and the Discover Your Voice Writing Workshop. So please become a fan and then suggest that your friends become a fan too.

Help us end the silence surrounding sexual violence. Take the first step and become a fan!

New Stories and Poetry!

Check out the new stories and poetry submitted by the following brave and inspiring women. Thank you to everyone with the courage to share their stories on End the Silence.

Read Tiffany’s story.

Read Ash’s poem.

Read Iris’s poem.

Read Danielle’s story.

And stay posted for more news about “Discover Your Voice,” the writing and empowerment workshop that just finished its first session. The next session starts on January 19, and will be held on Tuesday evenings from 7 – 9 pm at the University of Pittsburgh. If you are interested in signing up, please email margot@endthesilencecampaign.org. There is no fee for the workshop, and beginners are welcome!

Call for Performers

IMG_2454End the Silence Campaign, a project designed to increase awareness about sexual violence through creative expression, seeks poets, visual artists, and musical performers for a benefit concert and community awareness event on November 5, 2009. This event, which will be held at Modern Formations Gallery from 7:30 – 10 pm, is a benefit and kick-off for “Discover Your Voice,” a writing workshop for survivors of sexual violence presented by End the Silence Campaign and the Center for Victims of Violence and Crime.

Any artist wishing to perform in support of this important issue should contact Emily Monroe at endthesilencecampaign@gmail.com. Poetry, art, and music does not need to speak directly to the issue of sexual violence, but must be in the spirit of peace and community activism.

This event is designed to uplift and give hope to all survivors of violence and their friends and loved ones, as well as speak to the community about the need to address the silence that surrounds this issue. All types of performances are welcome!

New Featured Poet: Brian Francis

brian-francisIf you haven’t had a chance to read through some of Brian Francis’s poems, now is your chance. End the Silence Campaign’s newest featured artist, Brian Francis shares three amazing poems here with you. Stay posted for more poetry and live performances coming soon!

Click here to read more.

Web Poets – Spread the Word!

I want to let everyone know about Dreams of Hope, an amazing organization in Pittsburgh that is working to increase awareness about queer issues for young people. Dreams of Hope recently launched a poetry website for ALL young people – queer, gay, lesbian, and straight allies – to share their words and receive constructive criticism from a published poet!

Check out WebPoets now!

Web Poets is an online poetry workshop for Queer Youth and their Straight Allies (up to age 25) moderated by Poet and Educator, Miriam Jones

Submit your own poetry today!

Web Poets is a project of Dreams of Hope, a creative and performing arts youth troupe for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered teens aged 13-21 based in Pittsburgh PA. 

Rape Charges Against Ben Roethlisberger

Recently, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been charged with sexually assaulting a hostess at a Nevada casino. Unfortunately, this is a difficult case of one man’s word vs. one woman’s word, complicated by the fact that this particular man is a sports icon and local hero. I do not want to comment by offering my opinion about this story because my opinion, without the appropriate facts, is meaningless.

However, I do want to comment on the recent words of a defense attorney for the Lake Tahoe hotel where the young woman worked. The woman is filing charges against the hotel because she testifies that she reported the crime but the hotel is covering it up.

Margo Piscevic, the defense attorney for several Lake Tahoe hotel employees, argues that the woman’s affidavit should be withheld because it is nothing more than media grand-standing. Further, he calls the timing of her charges “the cold, calculated vengeance of a woman scorned.”

I find it impossible to understand how a rape trial – whether criminal or civil – can be conducted seriously without the victim’s affidavit. Regardless of this particular attorney’s view of women (which I find to be evident in his statement), a charge cannot be deemed false without testimonies from both parties.

I also am deeply offended by Piscevic’s assertation that this young woman’s allegation is the action of “a woman scorned.” This is an insult to all women, and especially to survivors of sexual violence. I am not speaking to the facts of this case, but rather to the general gender-discrimination that his words incite.

There has long been a stereotype in our country and the rest of the world that women claim rape because of jealousy, anger, and scorn. Sadly, despite consistent research that false rape reporting makes up an almost inconsequential number of rapes reported, there is still a widespread belief that women “cry” rape when they want to get back at men. If only more people would understand that the decision to charge your rapist with a crime is an incredibly difficult one that takes time, strength, and an incredible power of conviction. There are few people who would go through the harrowing process of standing before dozens of police officers, lawyers, friends, family, etc. and risk a trial that could last years simply to get back at a man for not being interested.

Perhaps Piscevich, a claimed defender of our nation’s justice system, should choose his words a bit more carefully. Sadly, his ignorance is indicative of a larger national ignorance that allows words like his to be spoken again and again.

You can read the complete article from the Associated Press by clicking here.

Christina Ricci Speaks Up

christinaricciRAINN spokesperson Christina Ricci is visiting DC to ensure that the national conversation about health care does not neglect survivors of rape and sexual violence. She writes about this issue on Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-ricci/post_368_b_280352.html

Ms. Ricci emphasizes the point that while sexual violence sometimes occurs in only the space of a few moments, the effects can last for lifetimes. This is why we need to continue to voice our outrage and to demand that money and attention is spent on this important cause.