Monday, April 30, 2012

Empowerment Project--A Call to Action

When I heard about the It Gets Better Project years ago, my first thought was: there should be something like this for rape survivors.  I even sent the group a message saying as much, but I imagine they have their hands very full doing the worthy work they're doing.

When I started my Empowerment Project I was hoping, in my own small way, to fill the void I'd noticed there. I wanted to provide a positive place to help survivors (of any sort of trauma) feel less alone, and a place for them to share their voices.  Still, in the back of my mind I thought there should be a project, with a specific, positive message like "It Gets Better" for rape and abuse survivors. And now, there is one. It's called the "Not At Fault Project".

They only started a few days ago and are trying their hardest to get it off the ground. But, friends, they have their work cut out for them. I know from personal experience that announcing you are a rape survivor holds the same sort of stigma and shame that announcing you're homosexual is known for. Maybe even more so, these days.

The tide, thankfully, is slowly turning for LGBT teens. The number of vocal supporters are growing, exactly as they should be. There are videos by the straightest of straight people on the "It Gets Better" youtube channel, offering support.  Most of us know what it feels like to be treated "less than" and we're capable of showing empathy even without firsthand experience.  THAT is the sort of support rape survivors need as well.

The following quote is from the brilliant TedTalk, "Listening to Shame"

Empathy is the key. Nothing more.

Please help promote this new project and do your part to douse the shame associated with being a rape-survivor. Survivors need champions too.

Submit a few words of support, a video, a kind note to the NAF project. If you're a survivor share a success story, a milestone, a happy moment you once thought would be impossible. I know I plan to. If you're not a survivor, reach out with empathy, anyway.  Take a video of yourself using some variation of this simple script if you'd like:

It was NOT your fault.  I won't judge you. I'm here to listen. I'm here to help. 

So simple. So powerful.

You guys, the statistics are staggering. 1  of every 4 girls will be raped in their lifetime and 1 of every 6 boys. Think about that for a moment, consider the magnitude

These survivors need you. They need kind words and support to come out of their own dark closets.  They need to realize, when they feel most alone, that there are people out there who care, and that they are capable and worthy of a bright and happy future.

Please don't wait to add your voice. This is way too important and entirely overdue.


  1. Thank you for making a difference, and for spreading the word about these topics. As a parent of older adopted kids and an author who will be working with homeless youth, and a survivor myself, I appreciate your efforts.

    1. Deb, you're amazing. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing and playing a part.

  2. This is wonderful, Alina! You do so much good for individuals who've suffered this trauma. This is a great update about "Not at Fault." I'll run over and check it out~ ((big hugs)) :o) <3


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