In October I applied to attend “The Stories We Tell,” a testimonial writing workshop for survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and trafficking, facilitated by The Voices and Faces Project. I was accepted and went to the workshop with a mixture of fear and excitement. In my heart I knew this would be an ebenezer for me, “a commemoration of divine assistance,” like Samuel’s stone of help, reminding me that “Thus far the Lord has helped [me].”
Deep inside I knew that being brave and taking this step would mean that my life would change. I would need to write more, and take risks by submitting my work in different places. I would feel more confident to share the hard stuff because as a workshop alum, I would take the honor and the accomplishment seriously and become more outspoken about my own abuse and want to be more involved with the cause of protecting and supporting survivors and calling attention to the the dangers of rape culture and its effects on all of us.
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Rape is everywhere today. Pick up any newspaper, any magazine—the new issues of Rolling Stone and In These Times, a recent Time magazine cover story, this publication—and you’ll see high-profile coverage of the rape-culture crisis in America. From the alcohol-saturated dormitories of our citadels of higher-education to the shadowy confessionals of a pedophiliac priesthood to controversies over HBO’s top-rated “Game of Thrones,” gender-based violence is certainly not a new issue. But perhaps the amount of attention being paid, not just from the media but even the president of the United States, an outgrowth of the unwillingness of its survivors to remain silent any longer, represents its twilight, or at least movement in the right direction.
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