We Will Not Go Quietly: Speaking out about sexual violence

Sexual assault and sexual abuse are topics that no one really wants to hear about. And yet, one in five women and one in twenty men worldwide will become victims of sexual violence in their lifetimes.

Few of these sexual crimes are reported, and for those that are, conviction rates are extremely low. Much sexual violence is perpetrated not in the mythological back alleys or deserted streets – although some are – but in homes, workplaces and social spaces. Far too frequently, perpetrators are not strangers but people known; husbands, brothers, fathers, bosses. Far too often it is family or friends, those whom we trust, who commit these crimes.

And yet, although sexual violence is common – a frequent occurrence in the world we live in – stories of surviving sexual violence, of living on, of putting a life and a self back together after, are rarely heard, rarely valued.

In fact, when we tell our stories, they are often met with disbelief, disregard, or dismissal as “not that bad”. The damage done by these thoughtless reactions can be monumental. It can take just one experience like this to keep a person silent for years. Some never discuss their experience again.

None of this would be news to Feministing readers. But what is news, is the project we have been putting together to try and remedy the shame and silence that still surround survivors of sexual violence. We Will Not Go Quietlya zine by survivors, for survivors – was born of a need. The need to speak and hear these stories of survival. The need to create and foster a space where victims and survivors of sexual violence can speak of their experience and have it heard, have it validated. Sexual violence may be a reality of the world we live in – and an exceedingly ugly one at that – but survival is the other side of that horrific truth. All around us are those living on after surviving sexual violence, reconstructing their lives and their selves and, using their experience to counter a culture that has for far too long facilitated and covered up sexual violence.

Every victim survivor has a story to tell and very few of them get to do it on their terms. We Will Not Go Quietly is a space where victim/survivors can speak in their own words, on their own terms and where their survival is honoured. By providing this space, by listening to survivors, by honouring survival we hope to show not only the damage a culture of sexual violence creates, but the way out.

Sexual violence is a disgrace, a burden and a far too frequent occurrence. But we can change that. Speak, even if your voice hurts. Listen, even if your heart breaks.

We will not go quietly – Because our voices demand to be heard.

We are currently fundraising to print and distribute this resource. If you would like to support We Will Not Go Quietly, please check out our crowd-funding campaign on Pozible.

If you would like to distribute the resource, please get in touch at wewillnotgoquietlyzine@gmail.com

If you would like to contribute your own story of survival, stay tuned for the launch of the site. COMING SOON!

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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