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Writing to Create Change:
“The Stories We Tell” debuts at the Chicago Cultural Center.

We believe that every woman's story has power and purpose, which is why The Voices and Faces Project recently launched "The Stories We Tell," the country's first testimonial writing workshop for survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence and trafficking. The workshop was co-created by R. Clifton Spargo, an award-winning fiction writer and Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and our Voices and Faces Project creative initiatives team.

Over the course of our two-day workshop, which debuted at the Chicago Cultural Center in March, workshop participants considered testimonial writing by Sandra Cisneros, Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Primo Levi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Adrienne Rich, among others, and took part in a series of innovative writing exercises. "I am still reeling from what an incredible experience this workshop was for me," noted one of our participants in the post-workshop evaluation. "The instructors created an atmosphere of intellectual challenge and engaged and inspired learning, and a connection to a greater purpose. Most striking was how balanced the educational component was with the emotionally supportive environment."

Why testimonial writing matters.

According to the World Health Organization, over one billion women worldwide have been victims of some form of gender-based violence. Language too often becomes a tool for avoiding this painful truth. So the devastation that is childhood sexual abuse becomes simply "a family affair," the international trafficking of women and girls merely "the world's oldest profession," and rape and torture during armed conflict part of the inevitable, regrettable "messiness of war." The stories that come out of our Voices and Faces Project testimonial writing workshop do something very different with language. They take us close — at times, painfully close — to the experiences of women who have lived through violence. They show us that behind every social injustice there is a deeply personal story.

Read work created during our two-day writing workshop.

We are grateful to Verizon Wireless, Art Works for Change and Joyful Heart Foundation for their support of the pilot run of our two-day workshop.

To find out more about bringing “The Stories We Tell” to your city or region, or to support this first-of-its-kind program, email us.

The Voices and Faces Project, recently named one of "America's Best Charities" by the board of directors of Independent Charities of America, has been recognized by the United States Department of Justice as part of the "new generation" of anti-violence leaders. We're working to change minds, hearts and social policy by helping survivors to tell their stories and by introducing those stories into the public square. We need your support to continue our work.

Project Founder Anne Ream on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, for the Chicago Tribune.
What do Rosa Parks, the mother of the civil rights movement, and Nafissatou Diallo, the woman who has charged former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn with rape, have in common? Perhaps more than we think. Voices and Faces Project founder Anne Ream explores that question for the Chicago Tribune, and considers how race, class and the marginalization of those working in low status and low wage jobs has left generations of women of color vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment. Was Rosa Parks one such woman? Ream's piece considers that possibility, and its implications. Read the story here.

Angels among us.
The team behind our second Voices and Faces Project benefit CD, the Angel Band Project, continues to amaze. In June, Norbert Butz, Jr. — one of the visionaries behind the record — won the Best Actor Tony for his leading role in "Catch Me If You Can" (congrats, Norb!). More recently, Rachel Ebeling and Jean Fox Robertson — the CD's inspired and inspiring co-producers — sat down to talk about the genesis of the Angel Band Project, and the courageous woman it honors, Teresa Butz.

The Voices and Faces Project featured in Time Magazine.
Women are taking to the streets in record numbers to raise awareness of sexual violence through "SlutWalks," which have been called "the new bra burning." But are SlutWalks sending the right message, or setting women back? And what do they mean for the broader movement to end sexual violence against women? Time Magazine's Megan Gibson explores the pros, the cons and the potential of this new movement, and The Voices and Faces Project is featured in her smart and timely piece.

Sharing our “vision” at the invitation of the United States Department of Justice.
On September 15th and 16th, Voices and Faces Project founder Anne Ream will travel to Charlestown, SC to attend "Vision 21" a meeting of 40 national leaders doing innovative work on victims' rights and public health issues. Created and organized through a collaboration between the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center and the U.S. Department of Justice, "Vison 21" will be a unique opportunity for Anne to share insights gleaned from our award-winning documentary project and online survivor survey, which was created by Voices and Faces Project Research Director Katie Feifer. Be a part of our survey.

Make a Vocal Impact. Join us on September 23rd!
What: Vocal Impact, a concert to end trafficking and sexual violence
When: Friday, September 23rd, 8 PM
Where: Platform Studios, 1821 West Hubbard Street, Chicago
The Voices and Faces Project and our allies at Art Works Projects will host Vocal Impact, a benefit concert featuring The Screamin' End and Miriam Clancy. Our first concert of the year also happens to be a surprisingly good value: the cover charge includes unlimited cocktails, organic appetizers, and music that moves, in every sense of the word.

Hey, volunteers: Now is the “perfect” time to get involved.
Planning has begun for "A Perfect Holiday," our third-annual year-end benefit, co-hosted by The Voices and Faces Project and our allies at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. We have a great event in store — but we can't make it a true success without supporters like you. To join our planning committee and help shape and create the event, please contact Kristin Claes.
If you'd like to sponsor the event, or join our host committee, please email

Healing, one pose at a time: "Yoga for a Cause" benefits The Voices and Faces Project.
On Saturday, July 16, YogaSource (voted the  best yoga studio in St. Louis, MO) held a mini yoga retreat featuring music from both our first Voices and Faces Project benefit CD, The Voices and Faces Project,Volume One, and our second benefit CD, “Take you with me,” the recently released Angel Band Project album. Offering two simultaneous classes — one a power vinyasa class and the other a yin/restorative class - YogaSource created an inclusive program set to music that carries a powerful anti-violence message.  Special thanks to Rachel and Jean, the heart and soul behind this unique Angel Band Project program. And check out the moving video of this powerful, restorative day.

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