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.”
* source: US DOJ
Our latest feature, a poem entitled “Darling I Tamed Myself For You.”
“The sweetness of your smile softened the edges of my heart
But I never realized your effect until we began to part
And when I saw how little of myself turned out to be true
Darling, I came to realize I tamed myself for you…”
Merideth’s poem, titled “Running”, allows the reader to travel with her as she runs from her deepest, darkest moments and into self-reclamation and hope. Capturing both her strength and depair, “Running” is a well-documented journey of one survivor’s story of recovery.
In this moving account, Taylor describes surviving an attempted rape. Her words bring light to the important reality that attempted rape can have many of the same effects on a survivor’s physical, mental, and emotional health as rape. Here is an excerpt from her story. Make sure to read the full account, and check out the other stories, poetry, and art posted on the site.
“My reasoning behind keeping it a secret at the time was that I was afraid no one else would believe me. I had no proof (the cuts and bruises had faded away), there were no witnesses, and it was just my word against his. I only told one person: my best friend. Of course, she believed me, which brought me great comfort. I never told my mother. Even to this day, she does not know because I don’t have the heart to tell her. Above all else, I did not think what he did was as serious as “attempted rape”. I tried to blame myself, and dumb down what happened to make it seem as if it was not a big deal. But it was. It took my best friend, and my therapist, years to convince me it was ruining my life by not addressing its severity.” Read the rest of Taylor’s story.
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.
Yesterday marked the first day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. End the Silence Campaign is committed to providing survivors with a place to tell their stories, as well as increase the number of REAL stories told by the people who actually experienced them. A month devoted to awareness about sexual assault is the perfect opportunity for more survivor voices to be heard.
So, in honor of this important month, End the Silence Campaign will be featuring a new writer or artist each day. A new poem, story, or artwork will be published on the site, so stay posted! If you would like your submission to be considered, feel free to submit it online. If your story, poem, or artwork is not featured during SAAM, we will be sure to post it as soon as possible!
Check out our first feature, Kacey Coffin. In her powerful letter to the man who raped her, she writes:
“I wanted to start this by saying dear and your name, but I don’t feel as if you have earned the right to be called by your name. There is a concept of your true name, and to know someone’s true name is to know their soul. You have not earned the right to be called by any name. When you shatter the soul of a child and leave her to put the pieces back together over 22 plus years, you no longer have the right to your own soul…” Read the rest of Kacey’s letter here.
Hey everyone! Check out some new stories and poems on the website. And if you haven’t already, make sure you download “In Our Own Words” – our first collection of stories, poetry, and art by sexual violence survivors.
Abbi Baker – My Story
Annastacia – Cried
Felicia Smith – Save Me Now (He Still Loves Me)
Heather Marie Laica – Fears for Years – Released by Tears
Deborah Hall-Branch – The Healing Process
Celeste D. Barnes – Flashback
C.E.G. – Survivor!