Break the Silence

Happy Monday Everyone!

This past Friday I was in the downtown Chicago area taking care of business as usual. As I was crossing the street to meet a friend for lunch, I noticed people.....standing.....SILENTLY. Each of them had on a shirt. Each of them had a phrase:

"No, you do not have to kiss your daddy good night."

"Just because we were friends, that did not mean it was okay to rape me."

"Say NO to Rape."

You get my drift...

So I stood in amazement at these, women and teens of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. Finally, I decided to ask what the movement was for. One of the workers from RVA (Rape Victim Advocates, Chicago,IL) informed me that it was Breaking the Silence Day. Men, women and teens who are survivors of sexual assault, volunteers of RVA or just your ordinary person who cares for the cause, were standing in silence for one hour to show their support. She also stated that if I wanted, I could grab a shirt and stand in for the last 30 minutes. So what do you all think I did??? :-)

                                                   This is the shirt I picked out to wear.


That is what I felt. Dont get me wrong, I was hesistant at first because I used to work right across the street from where we were standing and I always manage to run into somebody I know. So, I took a deep breath, swallowed my fears, found a shirt that meant something to me and fell in line. The energy at that moment was INCREDIBLE! To stand outside in the Windy City of Chicago, in silence for a cause that people are really afraid to speak out about was such an indescribably amazing feeling. The longer I stood there the better I began to feel. The longer I stood there the more empowered I felt. The longer I stood there the more I began to realize this is EXACTLY what I am supposed to be doing. This is my purpose. To be that voice for someone who is afraid to speak up.

There were people who were walking by and would stop out of curiousity and ask "What is this for?" And to my surprise, they had grabbed a shirt and fallen in line. I would look behind me to find the crowd growing larger by the minute. You see, to go through something and feel like you are completely by yourself and no one really cares about rape, then to stumble upon what I did last Friday was BIG for me and I am sure it was for the other individuals that were standing out there. Once the hour or my 30 minutes was up, Sarah, who is a legal advocate from RVA began shouting the following phrases and we would repeat after her:


Breaking the silence of sexual violence!

Rape Victim Advocates!

Then the crowd cheered and they continued the celebration back at RVA with pizza pop and continual empowerment.

I don't know about anyone else that day but for that 30 minutes so many emotions ran through me. I felt empowered, inspired, free and motivated because I stood up for something that SO MANY are embarrassed, ashamed and afraid to break the silence about.

This week I encourage, motivate and hopefully inspire you to stand up for something. Maybe you  or someone you know was molested or raped as a child.....

Perhaps you know someone who is still struggling today with healing...

Volunteer at a rape crisis center in your neighborhood.

Speak with the Pastor at your church and offer to start a support group for the members of the church and community.

Talk with your school administrators/staff about starting support groups for the students
Write an encouraging note or letter to a survivor letting them know that you DO CARE and they are NOT ALONE.

If you see someone, man or woman of any age group being disrespected physically or sexually, DO SOMETHING to help.

Stop making a mockery of rape. Understand that it is not a joke and should not be taken lightly.

Stop making comments:"Man, they raped my check this week." When you make comments like that, it is offensive to people. It also reveals you dont know what THAT feels like in the physical, mental or emotional because if you did I highly doubt you would passively and jokingly make an unfunny remark such as that.

Support a family member or friend who you know is a survivor. Either go with them to counseling or encourage them to talk to someone who can be of positive assistance to them.

I think that if we all take out the time to stop caring about just ourselves, our problems and genuinely begin to care about what is going on in our homes, churches, schools and communities, we could help change and save a lot of lives.

Lastly, I encourage all of you to continue to BREAK THE SILENCE

Be amazing, Be a LIGHT....Have a BEAUTIFUL DAY :-)

Tori Amos (singer/song writer) is a survivor of sexual assault who sings about her experiences and healing with sexual assault in alot of her songs. Enjoy.


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