We are two people, brought together by circumstance and trauma, trying to create something meaningful from our journeys.
We built this site to be a safe space that will encourage people who have experienced sexual assault to create their own impact statements and share their own journeys. There are so many of us out there, yet much of the time we feel so alone. We would like this site to be a virtual hand to take, a collective voice that says to people: We hear you. We understand because we are or have been where you are. You are not alone.
Impact Project Creator
I am a woman, a mother, a wife. But most importantly, I am a person, struggling to find peace with myself.
I will never get to face the man who raped me, or all the people who participated, either actively or passively in what happened to me that night. But they are not my focus. I am my focus. How that night has affected my life and the person I have become is my focus. After reading Chanel Miller’s remarkable book, Know My Name, I was inspired to write my own Impact Statement. I wrote it for me, not for anyone else. But seeing my path written out, from where I started in a place of self-blame and denial, to where I am today, made me want to share my journey. And it made me want to encourage other people to share their journeys. Because I know that there are so many people struggling at every point on this path. I wish that when I was closer to its beginning, I would have known that I was not alone.
What I was struck by most while reading Chanel Miller’s book was not all the injustices she faced – unfortunately, those were no surprise. What struck me was how familiar all the ways her assault impacted her were. It was uniquely her story, and the details were uniquely hers, but the high-level impacts she describes are almost universal among people who have experienced this type of incident. I decided to turn the impact statements shared through this site into a word cloud, as a way to visually depict the commonalities of how sexual assault impacts people’s lives. I want to use survivor’s own words to show and educate people about the complex and long-term impacts of sexual assault. Each of our individual journeys will contribute to the collective narrative of our unique but shared experiences. My hope is that by contributing our voices to the image, we can together create something meaningful from the struggles that we have faced.
Emily Lapolice, LICSW, RYT, TCTSY-F
Trauma Therapist and Impact Project Contributor
I offer a personal and professional perspective on the impacts of sexual assault. I know that each and every traumatic experience leaves wounds. And that there is healing value in feeling seen and heard.
I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (TCTSY-F) working in private practice, who specializes in Complex Trauma and perinatal mental health. I have worked in day-treatment, inpatient, school-based, and outpatient mental health settings in both New York City and Boston for the past 14 years. I am also part of the Training and Supervisory Faculty at the Center for Trauma and Embodiment at the Justice Resource Center outside Boston, MA, offering training and education on trauma-sensitive practices across the country. I live with my husband and 2 young boys in Arlington, MA.
One of the things that inspired and motivated me most about being involved in this project is the idea that we could help sexual assault survivors feel that their stories and experiences matter, and have impact and significance, regardless of the perceived “severity” of the assault or how long ago it may have occurred. Experiences of trauma defy the passage of time have no bounds to age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity or cultural identity. The impacts of sexual assault and trauma ripple into nearly every aspect of an individual’s life, and healing from trauma must account for the multilayered complexities of those impacts. I have always considered it a privilege and honor to walk alongside trauma survivors, and to offer opportunities to honor our collective truths.
Your experience – no matter how “small” or how long ago – matters. You matter. And you are valued and validated here.
More information about me and my work can be found at www.iwtherapies.com