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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 ...