May 5, 2015

The Survivor Truth Project -- No One Is Alone

This week, Anna tells us about the amazing project she began -- The Survivor Truth Project -- to create a space for herself and other survivors of rape to be heard.

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In the months after being sexually assaulted by a close friend, I craved one thing. I craved being able to talk to someone who actually knew what I was going through. To hear from a fellow survivor that I would make it through those first dark months. To know there would be light. Hope. That I could return to who I used to be.

I never found what I craved. I was so fortunate to have the support of my family and a great therapist, but it wasn't the same. There is nothing equivalent to hearing from another survivor: "I've been there", "You will make it through this", "I believe you", "It gets better", "I know how you feel."

Really, it's all about not feeling alone. I was alone in my suffering, but I don't want others to be.

Last month, I created The Survivor Truth Project. The project takes place online, where survivors from around the world can submit a simple truth about life as a survivor of sexual assault.




The directions to submit a #SurvivorTruth are simple and open-ended:
Survivor Truth is a project to show that survivors of sexual assault are not alone. Created by a rape survivor, Anna Nettie Hanson, this ongoing project is meant to educate and inspire. It’s time to tell the truth about what it’s like to live as a survivor. It’s time that survivors stop feeling so alone.

Share a brief statement of truth about being a survivor. It can apply to your own experiences, or to survivors as a whole. Submit as many as you wish!

All anonymous.
No triggering language, please.
By submitting, you agree to have your statement anonymously posted online.

Survivors are not alone.
We are not alone.


I was immediately amazed by the "truths" pouring into my inbox, all beautiful and powerful in their own ways. I found myself so comforted reading these statements, realizing that after four years as a survivor, I finally felt less alone. Readers feel the same way. I have been flooded with messages about how the project has helped others feel less afraid, creating an online community of survivors sharing and supporting one another.



The act of submitting a Survivor Truth is cathartic. The survivor types an honest statement. He or she clicks "submit," and then it is released into the universe. Forever anonymous, the Survivor Truth is a catalyst for survivors to reflect on their identities as survivors.

I hope we can learn from the success of this project and create more opportunities for survivors to connect. The internet brings endless possibilities for anonymous, controlled interactions between survivors. I don't want anyone to yearn for the comforting understanding of another survivor as I did. We must help one another, and in the same way, we help ourselves.

Visit The Survivor Truth Project: girlwhofoughtback.tumblr.com 
Submit a Survivor Truth: girlwhofoughtback.tumblr.com/submit 








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Anna lives with a passionate goal to spread knowledge about the intensely far-reaching effects of sexual assault. She received Moving to End Sexual Assault’s annual “Brave, Bold, and Beautiful Survivor Award 2011” for her writing and advocacy. Soon after, was selected as Survivor of the Month by RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and was then featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. With an endorsement for her book from U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Anna is also involved in political action that supports survivors. She is passionate about working with survivors towards healing and confronting social barriers through her writing. She thrives to help others learn through her experience, and her powerful presentations enable this education. Anna Nettie Hanson is a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, completing Bachelor’s degrees in both Communication and Spanish, continuing on to complete a Master’s in Relational Communication.

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