Sexual violence has a profound impact on a survivor’s life. So do the reactions of others.
Thanks to the powerful voices of survivors, it is clear how harmful it can be when others respond negatively. Yet their stories also illustrate the healing power of positive reactions, paving the way with support and care.
As scandals end, promises are made. As a Sister Survivor I know that there is more work to be done. – Angelika Martinez-McGhee Using the power of my voice again, after having it taken away, is the strength I strive to have every day. – Emma Mannion “I froze when I was raped by Jeffrey Epstein in 1991 at 22 years old. It took 30 years for me to learn that to freeze is not to consent. Thirty years to learn it was never my fault.” – Jess Michaels “Not being believed at age 3 meant not knowing how to believe myself. Invisibility within the stories about me meant not seeing myself. Finding my voice, I found belief in myself and by others. ” – Dylan Graves Barbeta-Comstock I am thankful for the sleepless nights and the time put into figuring out my case and ensuring justice was served. – Kerrian Beasley My first step was to believe in myself, and then to tell someone my truth. Only after that could healing begin. – Wendy Jensen There is always help and people, advocates, law enforcement and others that will believe you and offer you support. You are never alone. – Stephanie Schulte ”I used to be afraid of being a statistic, but I turned my fear into strength. Now I tell my story so I can help other survivors find strength in themselves.” – Chloe Pustelnik Every 73 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States and 5 years ago, I was one of those people. – Hollis Brown “Having someone say ‘I believe you’ helped me find the strength to start talking and fighting back against the terrible injustice I received from the very people I thought would help me and protect me.” – Gail Sherwood I turned my fear into fortitude and my cautiousness into capability. – Guiliana Cozzo Failure is not an option. Yes, you can! – Johnnetta McSwain ”I’ve found peace learning that healing is an ongoing journey of many layers.” – Nicole Stephens I share my story ‒ I hope I’m offering what I myself needed, someone to hear and say “I believe you.” – Elizabeth Johnson Just like shattered glass, I was able to pick up the pieces of my life. One day at a time. – Cathy Almonte Believing in yourself is the first step towards a life of freedom that is defined through truth rather than silence. – Dustin Dakota Our experiences with assault, no matter how different, are all valid and deserving of support and justice. – Beth Flory I am more than a statistic. – Brittany Boitnott I am a godly, beautiful Black woman. Believe our Black sisters. Protect Black women! – Veronica Y. Njeri-Imani This is my passion. This is my mission. Use confidence, patience, and truth to tell my story of surviving abuse, and celebrate what came after ‒ even when it’s really hard. All I need is to impact one person, and Start by Believing. – Caroline Hammond No matter how dark it may seem, you are not alone and there is light. You are stronger than you think you are, and you have the power to find it. – Rachel Sines All throughout my childhood and into adulthood people told me I was brave. I never saw it that way. I was just telling my truth. – Kelly Wallace If you asked me how I’m doing now I would tell you that I’m no longer just surviving… I’m thriving. – Kat Duesterhaus Love hard, live fearlessly, and be kind always. – Nicole Raab Warriors are not born, they are made. – Amanda Culpepper I grew tired of being ashamed of crimes I did not commit, and I am determined to be a voice for those who have not found theirs yet! – Rena Romano surTHRIVER® Belief is the first step towards healing and empowerment. – Kara Chamberlain Being believed gave me the power to transform from a victim into a survivor. – Kimberly Corban Every time I get back up after being knocked down, I am stronger. Every. Single. Time. – Tizz O’Toole When a victim is believed, she begins to gain agency over her life as she moves from her vulnerability to her strength to being a survivor. – Tracy Rector Someone out there believes you, I believe you. – Dyanie Bermeo With the right support systems in place, it makes it easier for us to move from victims to survivors to thrivers. – Mandi Howell Anther important part of the #metoo movement is “me.” Me being a victim does not define my intelligence, my relationships, my dreams, my laughter, my love, my ambitions, or my successes… I am still me. – Dr. Danielle Moore You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, and my own voice… until now… you will hear me. – Christine Depre My name is Kayla, and I Start by Believing because support in your most vulnerable moments can change your life. – Kayla Cash You never know who you might be saving by believing somebody when they tell you they’ve been raped. – Taylor Hirth When we stand together, we can make a difference. We are strong and we can be victorious! – Cresta Starr Anderson I know what it means when law enforcement Starts By Believing, because it saved my life. – Anna Nasset We are not defined by our life experiences, but we – and we alone – are in control of deciding how we will incorporate and give meaning to them. – Mary Simmerling