The Stories We Tell:
Writing our stories, creating a tribe.
"We went into the room very different individuals with very different stories. But we emerged after a weekend not just Voices, not just Faces, but a tribe," Jeanne and Larena say, reflecting on their participation in The Voices and Faces Project's testimonial writing workshop.
We met in a sunny conference room in San Diego one weekend in February 2016.
The participants were incredibly diverse: age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual identity. We went into the room very different individuals with very different stories. But we emerged after a weekend not just Voices, not just Faces, but a tribe. What we discussed in that room was not "what happened" to me, to her, to you, or to the person in the third chair from the door. What we created in that room under the skillful guidance of Anne Ream and Clifton Spargo was a chapter. We studied, participated with, and created a chapter in the bigger volume of human experience, a volume that is unique to the survivors of sexual or gender-based violence. And we found, as our stories were created, as our words came out, that we overlapped—in fact, we repeated each other. That my private writing and your private pain have much in common.
In our many differences, in our isolation, in our solitude and fear and shame, we came together as parts of a whole and found that the often irregular pieces of family and society and work and justice somehow fit together better when we were all in that room. That we must not keep our voices quiet. That there are safe places in the world. That testimony creates community. That Voices and Faces can change minds, hearts, and lives. — Jeanne and Larena