TORONTO – An online photo essay of survivors holding up posters with a quote from their attackers continues to gain momentum as it sheds light on rape and sexual violence.
In October 2011, 21-year-old photographer Grace Brown from Massachusetts created the Tumblr blog Project Unbreakable to “increase awareness of the issues surrounding sexual assault and encourage the act of healing through art.”
In a video posted on YouTube, Brown said she began the project by photographing people that she knew.
“At that point, I had no idea how powerful this project could be,” she said.
Shortly after, Brown said she received e-mails from survivors asking her to photograph them. Some submitted their own images.
“I realized I had the ability to make a huge difference in the world where sexual abuse is shamed and kept quiet and people are finally letting go and taking the power back with words that were once used against them.”
The images display phrases that both men and women said were told to them by their attacker before, during or after their assault.
To date, the blog has over 2,000 images from around the world.
“I do this project for the little girl that was molested and raped by her stepfather.”
“I do this for the 13-year-old whose attacker crawled into her bed when she was too drunk at a party.”
“I do this for every man and every woman who has been a survivor of sexual abuse.”
According to Statistics Canada, one in four girls and one in eight boys have been sexually abused by the time they are 18.
“My name is Grace Brown. These are our stories. And we are unbreakable.”
Global News received permission to repurpose the photographs seen here for online use. Credit: Project Unbreakable/Tumblr.