Posts Tagged "Chicago IL"

The posters read:

"What?" age 14

Molested by my friend’s Grandfather

"I will make it fit." age 14

I said “no”…ripped and bleeding after

"Get on top or walk home in the snow." age 14

I woke up and a stranger was in the bed, hands down my pants. I screamed for help.  age 16

Past sexual abuse effects the entire family. Words that were once used for abuse, secrecy, and shame are now transformed in the presence of this love, acceptance, and grace. I am free to be a compassionate wife and mother and courageous advocate!

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"I want to show you how much I care."

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"Why are you crying? Go back to fighting back, it was hotter." -Girlfriend at the time

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

Who knows what was said? 

I was a little girl.

A baby.

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"But he is a nice guy. He probably thought you wanted it. " 

- my best friend at the time

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The posters read:

"You should be thankful I didn’t get you pregnant" -@ age 15, first boyfriend

"I don’t want to marry you because you’re not a virgin" -after telling next boyfriend about rape. I was 16; he would assault me later saying "I was already ruined"

"I thought I could have you" (I was sleeping) -@ age 20, boyfriend

"Don’t tell the police. You will ruin our lives" -@ 21, good friends gang assaulted. I did tell.

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"I will turn your house into an insurance claim."

-What he said 6 months after raping me. He thought I stole his shirt.

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"Just relax…"

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"Does that feel good?"

I was 3 years old

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"No one will ever love you like I do." -Him

"It wouldn’t hurt if you would just relax." -Him

"Don’t tell anyone. People will think you’re easy." -Family

"You are brave & beautiful and nothing can change that." -Husband

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

After I said no:

"You don’t understand, I’m going to finger you tonight.”

When I pulled away:

"Stop struggling, cars are going to think I’m raping you."

After:

"I stopped because I knew you liked it."


Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The posters read:

"Next time I’ll buy you dinner first." (an old friend) - Age 17

"I have a condom if you want to." I didn’t say no, but I didn’t say yes either. (a new friend) -Age 19

After I said I wasn’t in the mood one night: “You’re acting like you don’t even care about me.” (my boyfriend) -Age 19

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

#1 “You’ve been very bad.”

#2 “The way you move, you can’t possibly be a virgin.”

#1  I was 3½ years old.

I had a cut on my head; he was the ER physician on duty.  He ordered my mom and the nurse out of the examining room. They obeyed him; back then, you would never argue with a doctor.  He stitched the cut on my head, then sexually assaulted me. 

I didn’t tell anyone for more than 30 years.


According to some studies, women who were sexually assaulted as children are 2-3 times more likely to be subsequently raped as adults.

#2  I was 19 years old, and a virgin.

He was the only son of a rich and very powerful family, and wasn’t used to being turned down by a nobody like me.  Later, when I told him I was pregnant because of what he did to me, he told me I would have to get an abortion.  I refused; I planned to have the baby and raise him.  He calmly told me that he would drug me, tie me up, and lock me in the trunk of his car, then drive me to another state, where abortion was legal.  He said that his mother knew people on the hospital board there.  His family would pay them to do this to me against my will.  I got away from him and locked myself in my dorm room.  After four days of hiding in terror, I miscarried.

I didn’t talk about any of it for years.  Most of my female friends throughout my life have been sexually assaulted. We mostly don’t talk about it. We’re blamed, not believed, punished, and pathologized for it.  But I’m talking about it now.  As the historian Howard Zinn said, “The most revolutionary act one can engage in is to tell the truth.”


Today I’m a psychologist who treats survivors of trauma, including sexual abuse and rape.  As a professor, I teach courses for doctoral students on how to help trauma survivors and advocate against interpersonal violence.  Almost 100 male and female therapists in training have taken my classes in the last 6 years.

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"Are you okay?"

-After raping me and throwing me on our bed. My cheek was throbbing but I knew it was over so I said “Yes”.

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

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The poster reads:

"I wouldn’t have to take it from you if your mother would give it up."

~ My biological father ~

Photographed in Chicago, IL on September 27th

Click here to learn more about Project Unbreakable. (trigger warning)

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