Sexual Assault Survivors Tell Stories of Resiliency

The mission of the Powerful Voices Project is to educate, empower, and enhance the conversation around sexual assault and its survivors. We create short films illuminating the strength and resiliency that of sexual assault survivors.

The Project is about…

  • Empowering survivors who focus on their personal stories.
  • Preventing sexual abuse by raising awareness and for the first time, revealing the steps to recovery and resiliency.
  • Being grounded in principles of public health and best practices.
  • Our dedication to diversity and inclusiveness regarding gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, age, ethnicity, religion, geography, and class.

Watch our most recently released video:

steph

Stephanie Hamilton-Oravetz experienced very long-term abuse as a child at the hands of her psychiatrist father. As an adult, she has devoted her career to psychology and supporting vulnerable populations through their own trauma, all the while, keeping her own story deeply buried.

In 2014, realizing that she had a lifetime of emotional distance between herself and those she loves most, Stephanie has set out to release her story and express herself as a means to recovery, and her own resiliency. Stephanie is an accomplished photographer and a powerful voice in this movement.

Watch how photography, community, and her ability to speak out has impacted Stephanie’s journey.

Your story matters & you are not alone.

Contact us to explore telling your story and/or supporting our work.

End CSA NOW! EVENT – Save the Date

Join us in bringing awareness, prevention, and dialogue
to end child sexual abuse.

End Child Sexual Abuse NOW!
>>>EVENT<<<

Saturday, April 19, 1:30 – 4:30pm
Oakland Asian Cultural Center
388 9th Street, Oakland

As many of you know myself and 8 community members have been working to create an event that emphasizes the importance of community involvement to end child sexual abuse (CSA) and increase visibility of those impacted by it.

Please SAVE THE DATE. This event will include:

  • Discussions about current efforts being made to address CSA;
  • Community forum to bring voice to those impacted by CSA;
  • Special film screening of preliminary footage from You Me and the Fruit Trees;
  • Resources and information sharing;
  • Healing arts activity;
  • Most importantly, we want to bring visibility to this largely shrouded issue by leading a community march to the local city hall as a call to action!

Parts of the event will be filmed for the documentary my team and I are currently producing. It’s a character driven film that follows several survivors of CSA and includes leaders in the movement to end child sexual abuse as well as other community members impacted by CSA. For more information on this documentary please visit: Trailer

We are also thrilled and honored to share that the City of Berkeley unanimously passed our proclamation to recognize “End Child Sexual Abuse NOW!” as a day in Berkeley. We have a whole lot to celebrate and hope you can be there April 19th to celebrate with us!

Please share this invitation with your networks through social media, tweet it, post it and forward this post to your friends, co-workers and family.  Invite your friends on Facebook here:  End CSA EVENT

Stay tune for a list of speakers and more details.

Together we can end CSA!

Tracey Quezada –info@traceyquezadaproductions.com
&
Danielle Castro – Danielle.castro@ucsf.edu

Patrick Stewart Addresses Violence Against Women: The Internet Applauds

In March of 2013 I was able to briefly meet Sir Patrick Stewart at the Orlando Megacon, a comic/fantasy festival where the cast of Star Trek the Next Generation was reuniting for a panel discussion.  As we stood for a picture I looked at him and said “I just want to say thank you for all the work you do to raise awareness about violence against women.”  Mr. Stewart paused, grabbed my arm and said “Thank you.  I do that for my mother.”

This past week, at Comicpalooza in Texas, Heather Skye, a Trekkie, was lucky enough to get to ask Mr. Stewart a question at his panel discussion, a question that was recorded by an audience member and put on YouTube.  During her time she thanked him for his work with Amnesty International, for which Mr. Stewart did a photo and video campaign aimed at ending violence against women.  Ms. Skye also mentioned that she was going through a similar situation to Mr. Stewart’s mother who had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband.  At the time Alfred Stewart (a returning WWI soldier) probably suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, or ‘”shell shock,” but lack of treatment resulted in violent behavior.  For her question, Ms. Skye asked Mr. Stewart if he could talk about what work (aside from acting) he is the most proud of. patrickstewartsign

Mr. Stewart then delivered an impassioned speech, mentioning that his work with an English organization called Refuge, which focuses on helping women and children who are victims of domestic violence, is the work he is most proud of.  He explained that no woman deserves to be abused and no man should believe that a woman is ever deserving of abuse.   Raising his arms above his head, Mr. Steward shouted that, even if a woman does something to provoke a man, he should never act violently toward her because “violence is never the answer.”

As this video went viral, more people started to comment on and address another significant part of his answer.  Mr. Stewart made sure to point out that the lack of treatment his father received for PTSD was what contributed to his violence and that what is often forgotten in cases of domestic violence are the ways to treat people who batter and abuse.  Mr. Stewart also mentioned that it is men who need to take responsibility for violence against women, that men will be the ones to stop abuse.  This is also often looked over when violence against women is addressed.  Even though there are national programs like Men can Stop Rape, one area that activists will say continues to need work is the outreach with men.

As someone who has studied violence against women, wrote about healing after violence and worked with survivors of sexual and physical violence I know that is (unfortunately) very rare for a man to address this as a problem for men to solve.  Grasping this concept requires a cultural shift, a change in how we think about violence against women and a movement away from victim blaming.  By acknowledging that violence against women affects everyone, Mr. Stewart pushed open a door to lead a call for dialogue on what everyone should be doing to bring about change.

So, thank you Patrick Stewart.  Thank you for this message, thank you for using your celebrity in this way.  And thank you Heather Skye for asking the question that brought about this amazing response.  I imagine it helped change a few minds and will bring much needed attention to this issue.

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Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, PhD is a sociology professor at Valencia College in Orlando.  She has written about healing from violence for various websites as well as in her book “Sing Us a Song, Piano Woman: Female Fans and the Music of Tori Amos.” www.adriennetrier-bieniek.com