Two years ago, I was raped. I felt like I was in a deep pit, choking, starving, dying. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t work. I questioned my safety. I questioned my choices. And, I questioned my life. The shock, the shame and disbelief were all too much. Where is safety? What is safe? How do I survive this? In trying to make sense of this experience, I picked up my camera and started shooting.
These photographs reflect the first year journey of surviving life after trauma.
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. 1 out of every 6 American women and 1 out of 33 American men have been victims of rape.
Rape is not just an assault of the mind and body but also of the voice. Our current culture of victim blaming and shaming has bred systems and institutions that not only permit the cycle of sexual violence, but also allowed for the silencing of victims. We are constantly told that if there is no proof, it did not happen. If the proof is not good enough, there is no story.
Silenced by trauma, I found my voice through photography. Through this medium, I discovered the value in my story. For the first time in a long time, I felt seen and heard. In this process, the victim became a survivor. I became a wildflower who continues to bloom and thrive.