What survivors are saying


Changing attitudes, changing lives: What survivors are saying about our Voices and Faces Project writing workshop.

quote As an activist and a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, taking part in The Voices and Faces Project's "Stories We Tell" testimonial writing workshop helped me explore my love of writing in a different way. After years of grant and academic writing, I had lost the love of creative writing. After attending this writing workshop, I started journaling and "free flow" writing again. I was able to foster my ultimate goal: writing a book about my experiences in the sex trade and tools for social change. I would recommend this program to others who want to demand social change.”

- Autumn Burris, Founding Co-Chair, World Without Exploitation

quote As an Anishinabe elder coming from a family with generations of abuse in our history, my eyes are opened to a new way for healing to begin. For thousands of years we have had an oral tradition of telling stories. I'm hopeful that somehow we can communicate with writing as well."

- Roxanne Defoe, Milwaukee participant 2016

quote I was impressed to find the weekend as much about good writing as about processing experiences of violence and abuse. It seems to me that there is a very thin line between doing that badly and doing it well, between honoring the stories and perfecting the telling of the stories. Thank you for being brave enough to bear witness to all of our stories and for striving for acknowledgement, understanding and reform through the craft of writing".

- Carrie Anderson , Seattle, Washington USA

quoteRecently I presented a workshop at the Washington State Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. The title was “Breaking Down the Barriers: A Deaf Survivor’s Story”. The story was my own. I used writing from the workshop as my opening, along with visual imagery and storytelling. This was my first time publically sharing my story. A huge chunk of the credit I received goes to you all for the amazing work you continually do for survivors. I am committed to finding a way to bring this to our Deaf community here in Seattle”.

- Rhonda Cochran , Seattle, Washington USA

quoteThe Voices and Faces Project's 'Stories We Tell' testimonial writing workshop had a profound impact on my life. Other survivor stories became the inspiration for me to begin to explore the issues of violence of abuse that lay parallel to my own rape. The workshop creator (R. Clifton Spargo) and facilitator (Anne K. Ream) created a safe space where I could explore unresolved pieces of my past, and understand the value of testimony."

- Janet Goldblatt Holmes, Barrie, Ontario, Canada

quoteBeneath all of the rage and shame and generations of silencing, I am a star, bright and pure, solid, free, and eternal. This is my authentic self and my authentic voice. Thanks to Voices and Faces Project's writing workshop, I am getting to know this voice. I am humbled, empowered, and deeply grateful for being brought into the Voices and Faces process and community. "

- Paige Frank, Edmonton, AB Canada

quoteAs a male survivor of sexual violence, I can’t begin to describe the empowering synergy that resulted from the Voices and Faces Project writing workshop experience. The positive effects of that weekend still continue for me. "

- Garth Wadleigh, Cleveland, Ohio

quoteThe Voices and Faces Project's writing workshop was a communion of spirits and an ignition of my fire for a world remade by true witness. Hone your creative process (through this workshop) and in doing so, you will find the voice that will change everything."

- Rachel Monaco-Wilcox, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

quoteThere are no words that can justly describe the incredible experience I had at the The Voices and Faces Project’s testimonial writing workshop. All I can say is I only spent one short weekend with my fellow writers but I miss them everyday, I feel them out there in the world, and I take heart in knowing they are there. Thank you to everyone at Voices and Faces for bringing us together. "

- Clare Gagne, New York, New York

quoteHow can I tell what it’s like to be walking a path alone for so many years, and to then find that others have been walking a parallel path? I’m so glad all of our paths converged in this workshop, and we no longer feel alone. "The Stories We Tell" was a gift, and a godsend. "

- Therese Guise, Quad Cities, Iowa

quoteThe Voices and Faces Project writing workshop reconnected me to myself through writing, but in a process with others which I have never experienced before. Through the sharing, I became more whole than I thought possible. Perhaps it is that their scenery wasn't so different from mine. Although the faces varied, I heard my voice through theirs."

- Joua Yang, Milwaukee, WI

quoteI have had a propensity to 'go it alone' in the trials and tribulations of my life. This, compounded with the isolation that is often inherent in the experience of sexual violence, has been a problem for me. But through The Voices and Faces Project's writing workshop I found my voice—and I found the joy that comes with realizing that I don't have to go it alone. Thank you for affording me the opportunity to be heard, to hear others, and to experience immeasurable healing."

- Elaina Meier, Wauwatosa, WI

quoteThe Faces and Voices Project writing workshop was a life changing experience that launched me into a new appreciation for the value of my voice, my truth, and my ability to serve through using both without hesitation or fear."

- Imani Capri, Cleveland, Ohio

quoteWhat I witnessed during the Voices and Faces Project's 'Stories We Tell' writing workshop was palpable, raw courage and strength. From the moment I walked into the room and met those with whom I would spend the next two days, a shift began to occur within me, as my feelings of fear and shame evolved to hope and possibility. Together, we not only shared the weight of each other's pain, but also drew on each other's strength—collectively saying 'NO' to the stigma that society tries to place on us as victims of sexual violence."

- Laura Swift, Davenport, IA

quoteThe Voices and Faces Project's "Stories We Tell" Writing Workshop provided a safe and comfortable environment for survivors and their allies to share our collective experience. It was an extraordinary and transformational process. To this day I still feel inspired by the courage of the other workshop participants."

- Serena Curr, Chicago, IL

quoteThe Voices and Faces Project writing workshop went beyond anything I expected it could be. I learned so much about myself as a writer, and interacted with other survivors in a way I hadn't done before. Through the exercises and the amazing workshop reading package, I was able to find my voice and tell a story I didn't think I ever could."

- Christa Desir, Oak Park, IL

  • 2018

  • 2017

    October 28-29

    Milwaukee, WI

    October 21-22

    Chicago, IL

    July 23-25

    Chicago, IL

    May 20-21

    New York, NY

    January 14 - 15 2017

    Chicago, IL

  • 2016

    February 6-7, 2016

    San Diego, CA

    September 10-11, 2016

    Seattle, WA
    In partnership Shepherd's Counseling Services

    October 22-23, 2016

    Milwaukee, WI
    In partnership with Mount Mary University Justice Program

    October 29-30, 2016

    Skokie, IL
    In partnership with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Centre
    This program is supported by the Ellie Fund at the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
  • 2015

    November 7-8, 2015

    Toronto Canada

    October 24-25, 2015

    Evanston, IL

    October 17-18, 2015

    Milwaukee, WI

    July 25-26, 2015

    Skokie IL

    April, 11-12, 2015 

    Prince Edward Island Canada
  • 2014

    November 8-9, 2014  

    Chicago, IL, USA

    October 18-19, 2014

    Milwaukee, WI
    Mount Mary University USA

    June 21-22, 2014  

    Watson Hall, Columbia University
    612 W. 115th st. , USA

    April 5-6, 2014

    Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) 300 Memorial Boulevard Winnipeg, MB, Canada

    January 18-19, 2014

    Davenport, IA, USA
  • 2013

    November 30—December 1, 2013 

    Calgary, Alberta,
    Canada (WordFest Literary Festival)

    October 5—6, 2013 

    WI (Mt. Mary College)
  • 2012

    November 10—11, 2012 

    Rape Victim Advocates
    Chicago, IL USA

    June 1—2, 2012 

    Sexual Assault Center of Edmonton
    Edmonton, BC, Canada

    April 12, 2012 

    Chicago Cultural Center
    Chicago, IL USA
    in partnership with the Neighborhood Writing Alliance and CAASE

    March 10—11, 2012 

    Mt. Mary College
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    in partnership with the Mt. Mary Justice Department
  • 2011

    April 14—15, 2011 

    Cleveland Rape Crisis Center
    Cleveland, Ohio, USA

    March 26—27, 2011: 

    Chicago Cultural Center
    Chicago, IL USA
    in partnership with Art Works for Change

Select Workshop Writing

Here is a selection of some of this writing, from our Workshop.


Read Workshop Writing

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