Surviving Rape: He Used To Shout ‘Slut’ Every Time He Saw Me

(Via Surviving in Numbers Tumblr)

The young woman who wrote this poster is a college student somewhere in Massachusetts. She’s one of 40 (at last count) rape survivors who are telling their story in raw, unpolished, very personal, but still mostly anonymous terms for a new project, Surviving in Numbers.

It’s the brainchild of Ali Safran, a native of Newton, and a junior at Mt. Holyoke College. Here’s her contribution:

(Via Surviving in Numbers Tumblr)

Safran’s project is a place for rape survivors to find strength in numbers and a way to demonstrate the hurdles that women and some men face when look for understanding or justice.

I wanted a place, explains Safran, where I could say, “you are supported and this wasn’t your fault and there are people here who’ve had similar experiences and understand what you’re going through.”

She initially asked students on four campuses to contribute: her own, Boston University, Tufts and UMass Amherst. Now, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, submissions are coming in from across the country. Safran transcribes the stories, takes pictures of the posters, and adds them to her scroll of heartbreaking experiences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in five women is raped or faces an attempted sexual assault during her college years. One of the most common statistics you’ll read as you scroll through Safran’s posters is the number of years before many survivors told anyone they’d been raped.

“You can’t feel what happened to me or understand it,” says one woman whose story is included, “but people can understand numbers.” This woman, who hasn’t told her parents or most of her friends, is finding a bittersweet strength in sharing her experience. “I’ve told the world now,” she says, “but not the people who are most important to me.”

In college, I was part of women’s group that spray painted a rape statistic around campus. Safran’s project is a much more effective way to demand attention to this problem, but I’m so sorry there’s still a need to do so.

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