April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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.

New Stories and Poems!

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!

Our First Collection is Here!

In Our Own Words – Volume One , End the Silence Campaign’s first collection of stories, poetry, and art by survivors of sexual violence is here! In this collection, you will read accounts by men and women of all ages who have survived rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse and found hope for their lives and for the future. You will also see some breathtaking artwork that captures the complex range of emotions that survivors of sexual violence face. It is our hope that this collection will increase awareness about sexual violence, while inspiring and empowering anyone who finds comfort in these words. Thank you to everyone who submitted their work – we couldn’t do this without your support! If this collections inspires you, feel free to pass it along to anyone that you think could benefit. And as always, keep posting comments on the site and spreading the word!

Click here to download and read In Our Own Words – Volume One.

New Poems!

We are getting closer to the release of End the Silence Campaign’s first collection of stories, poetry, and art created by survivors of sexual violence. It has been a journey putting the publication together and I am so excited to share it with you. I hope that it will be inspirational and powerful to everyone who reads it. We had so many submissions that we were unable to include everything in the first collection. It is my goal to include as many of the submissions as possible in an upcoming collection, but in the meantime I am posting many of them online! So stay posted as I add more stories, poetry, and art to the site! Thanks for all your support.

Here are some new poems!

Dayce Ruth – The Days

Jennifer J. Pasquale – Illusions of Dance

Joyce Collins – The Insects Swarm Over Me

Yotibar! – Fear

New Story – Roberta Dolan

Thank you, Roberta, for sharing your story! Here is an excerpt from our newest submission. Click on the link to read and comment on Roberta’s story.

“For nearly forty years I buried the secret deep within. To anyone that knew me my life was nearly perfect; successful career in education, good marriage and three beautiful children. It appeared wonderful and for the most part it was wonderful. I loved my role as educator, wife and mother. I just didn’t love myself. There was something “wrong” with me but I didn’t know what it was.

My final thought on ending the silence sits close to my heart. As a little girl I never dared to tell anyone what my parents were doing to me. To this day victims live in silence out of fear and shame. If this is going to change, society must change. Sexual abuse is still a “dirty word.” For those who are old enough remember when we could not use the word ‘cancer’ or ‘AIDS?’ It took the brave souls who were willing to speak out about cancer and AIDS to educate society and open the door for victims to receive support without shame.  Children take their cues from adults. If we as adults can talk openly, shamelessly, about sexual abuse it is much more likely that children will have the courage to tell that they have been abused. Ending the silence is the step we need to take to end the abuse.  If only I was able to tell an adult when I was a little girl…well, I am telling you now. Please help by taking the risk to end the silence and Say It Out Loud!”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

New Stories!

Check out the three new stories below. Happy New Year to all of our writers, supporters, and fans! We truly appreciate all you do to help end the silence surrounding sexual violence. Here’s to a year full of hope, healing, and change!

Disconnected - Anonymous

“They won’t know that the coldness comes back.  That a part of me grows hard, quickly rebuilding those walls so they don’t come down.  Don’t react.  It’s my unspoken mantra.  One I don’t even believe in, but can’t seem to break out of the trance.  Don’t be upset.  Don’t speak.  This is what happens.

And it’s that cage, that final captor, that has allowed for the others.  That has left me with the invisible mark of victim.  Only some can see it, like an infared mark most never notice.  Hidden in ambition, lost in personality, but those who can see through the covers all do, and they all find me.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I refuse to live with it being this way.

New mantra: This is not what happens.” Read more.

Taking Luck – Lee Ann Walker

“I look at my Hannah, something is wrong; I can see her fur turning dark like ash left from a fire. Her eyes are turning black as an empty night sky with no stars twinkling to light the way. The sun is battling a dark sky approaching from behind me. It is losing. It is getting colder now, I feel the rush of goose bumps all over my body, I can almost see my breath. I begin to quiver slightly. The sweet smells are turning rancid, spoiled, rotten.  The grass is molding, the flowers are wilting, the brownies are burning, the dried tobacco is now a burning cigarette that closes my throat with every inhalation. I can no longer laugh.” Read more.

Abuse Story – Jennifer

“I was in such excruciating pain that I could hardly breathe.  I was sick and tired of the relationship but did not dare to walk away from my abuser. In August, 2007 things changed in my life.” Read more.

Five Survivors Tell their Stories

Five Survivors share their stories in the hopes of helping others with their words. Read on to hear their inspiring words:

Ashlie M.Paper Cut

“…My mind in another world
Thoughts racing through my cortex
Emotions inflamed
The questions, the lies…”

JenniferBroken Angel

“I bare no body, bare no name.
I wanted just to be loved; a gentle touch would do,
Then again what is safe? I thought that I was safe with them too.”

Kate HillenbrandMy Story

“That was the end of it, for them. But not for me. I struggled, and continue to struggle. Though I may not know the answers yet, I am alive, and for that I am happy.”

Lee Ann WalkerMore to Me

“I am not the sheltered, adolescent fool once taped at the mouth to keep me quite. There are noises that escape my mouth. I am free to speak and share and love. I know now it is not an all or nothing world, I am divided like a fraction and I can share my triumph that beaches itself on my shoulders feeling no shame in my journey.”

Renee K.My Own Pearl Harbor Day

“The definition of rape on wikipedia is “an assault by a person involving sexual intercourse with or without sexual penetration of another person without that person’s consent.” So I guess that it happened – I was raped. It feels like an outer body experience saying that. I always associated rape with a dark ally, a forceful stranger, screams of pain in the night. I never even conceived that it could happen in my own bed among friends suffering in silence.”