Very good Huff Post article on Ali Safran’s “Surviving In Numbers” project, at, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/03/surviving-in-numbers_n_3537567.html .
Writes Safran at the Surviving In Numbers website [ http://www.survivinginnumbers.org ], “I came up with the idea for this project in October of 2012, around the third anniversary of my own sexual assault. I thought about all the people I had told and how I’d reported to the police, gone through the legal process, done everything a victim is ‘supposed’ to do…and still hadn’t gotten any real justice. It occurred to me that, while I considered my own total ‘number’ (people I’d told) to be high, others must have had some experiences on the same spectrum.
“I then reached out to multiple colleges in Massachusetts and began developing the project with them. … The name of the project is doubly meaningful: it’s a play on the phrase ‘strength in numbers,’ as there truly is a strength among these and other survivors who speak out about their experiences. Additionally, the project is truly about survivors and the numbers around their experiences: how many people they told, how the assault cost them relationships, etc.
“It’s my hope that this project raises awareness of how prevalent sexual assault is…and how many survivors there are… I also hope to show how key it is to the healing process for a survivor when they tell their stories: if they’re supported and believed, it starts them down a supportive path to healing; if they’re admonished or blamed, it has terrible effects. Additionally, sexual assault is highly stigmatized across cultures, and victims are often blamed for what happened to them.”
If I were to add a sign to those featured at Safran’s website [ http://www.survivinginnumbers.org ], it might read:
The brother who molested me said,
“If you tell anyone I will say you are lying;”
One of my also-abused sisters said,
“If you tell I will deny it,
it’s too embarrassing,”
and she has been true to her word on that,
making me out to be a liar &/or crazy,
to nieces, nephews, and others;
A male cousin says laughingly,
“Incest is best when kept in the family,”
and both of my also-abused sisters
laugh merrily at his “joke.”
I was a LITTLE GIRL when the abuse began:
in grade school! 😡
MANY YEARS: the time it took me to realize that
(i.) what had happened to me was ASSAULT;
(ii.) what had happened to me
WAS NOT MY FAULT;
(iii.) What had happened to me was
THEIR SHAME not mine.
Zero: Justice meted out to my molester father & brother. My father is now dead, and, when I tried to bring civil charges against my brother?
His attorney sent me a letter
referencing statutes of limitations.
TOO MUCH: what the abuse
has meted out to me:
suicidality; “self-medicating” with alcohol & drugs; panic attacks; dissociation; sleep problems; major depression; ptsd;
fear of men; intimacy issues; more.
4: Number of times I’ve attempted suicide.
2: Number of times I’ve been raped (yes, in addition to the family abuse).
Between 12 & 15, roughly: Number of therapists/psychiatrists
I have seen over the years.
3: Number of therapists who were able to help me.
Having to keep it all inside adds to the trauma,
people are so uncomfortable being told,
how can I have real “friends” if I cannot share
this thing that shouldn’t have to be, a disgusting secret?
Being a sexual abuse survivor DEFINES a person — IT IS ALWAYS THERE. As another person wrote on her sign, “I am & will forever be a survivor.”
Thank you, Ali Safran. A thumbs-up to the Surviving In Numbers project.