The Voices and Faces Project speaks truth to the often outdated, damaging and limiting notions society has of the sexually violated by giving voice and face to rape survivors.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.
Sasha Walters, Wisconsin
On a family vacation near the Wisconsin Dells, Sasha Walters was raped by a 16-year-old boy staying with his family at a nearby cabin. She was 13. “I lost forever the person I was before that day. I learned that rapists take what they want, even if they look like – or literally are – the boy next door. They take your childhood, your innocence, and your spirit. I am so grateful that somehow I was able to hold on so tight to my own spirit. But it was very hard.”
“My biggest breakthrough in healing came years later, when I became involved in a local sexual assault program. It was awesome to learn that I had not been to blame because I had not explicitly said no, and to be reassured that crying and saying ‘Stop’ are forms of resistance, too. I remember when this happened to me I said that I was going to work to create a world where this could never happen to my little sister, Kim. That is why I became a social worker and became involved in the rape crisis movement. Reaching out to other survivors has been so important to my healing.”