The Voices and Faces Project speaks truth to the often outdated, damaging and limiting notions society has of the sexually violated by giving voice and face to rape survivors. Here are their stories.
Photography by Patricia Evans & Text by Anne Ream, The Voices and Faces Project.
Gabe Wright, Illinois
Like most men, Gabe never thought of rape as something that could happen to him. He didn’t think much about rape at all. He was 22 years old when that changed. “I was at my favorite fishing spot fishing when three men approached me. We struck up a typical ‘guy-type’ conversation. These were just guys on a fishing trip, like me, and I didn’t think anything was unusual about them until one of them pointed a gun at me. They beat me and raped me, and after that my whole life was different.”
After his rape, Gabe was left with bruises and broken ribs – but his greatest burden was his memory of the rape, which he carried in silence. “I just never talked about it. For six years I did not tell anyone what had happened to me. No one. I struggled mentally for a long time and I let my friends and family think that I was ‘just a messed up guy’,” says Gabe. “I had never heard a man talk about rape, and I just felt I was completely alone. But once I spoke up, I finally felt understood, and I also learned that I am not as alone as I thought I was. This happens to so many more men and boys than people see. When I started to speak out, I was amazed at how other men would then speak out, too. It reminded me this is an epidemic – a silent epidemic.”
I know that experts estimate that one in six men have lived through some form of sexual violence. The more I learn, the more I believe it may happen even more than that. It is a an issue that we are only starting to talk about.”