Project with survivors of rape and sexual violence

SIFH+ has been working on a new project with survivors of rape and sexual violence. We have now completed the workshops and individual photography projects are being developed this month. The work will be shown on The Big Screen in Millennium Square as well as at The Bristol Zero-Tolerance Film Festival. There was some really exciting work we can’t wait to share the final projects.

Here is a short interview with one of the women who took part in the project: Ruth O'Leary

What made you want to do this project?

It seems idealistic but simply I want to end the male violence women and girls face.

As a women I am tired – tired of reading about another women killed by her partner, tired of hearing about another friend who has been assaulted, tired of reading about a girl who’s childhood has been taken away. Male violence needs to be taken seriously.

We seem to blame everything …….blame a religion, blame a ‘different’ culture, even blame the victim rather than utter the words male violence.

What do you hope the impact of your project is?

I just want people to know the extent rape and sexual assault effects the survivor’s life. I want someone to say ‘shit I never knew the trauma afterwards effected a person’s dreams!’

What did you enjoy most about the project?

Hearing the other women’s stories. This was both challenging and rewarding. Challenging because you start to see the true extent of sexual violence and how it has just become a normal part of life for so many women. The empowerment comes from seeing how bloody strong these women are to survive!

What message would you give to other survivors wanting to speak out about their experience or story?

Be kind to yourself every step of the way. This can be a very tough thing to do, especially when things get on top of you, but I promise you have the strength and right to share.

What are you most proud of about yourself?

My ability to survive. This is something we should all be proud of, especially as women.

What is you final thought?

A quote I saw on Twitter, 'When women like us rise above certain incidents and decide to heal ourselves, our insistence on joy is a threat to those who devalued us.'

Watch this space for more interviews with women from the project and for information on where to see their work.

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