Creator / “Executive Director”
As a sexual assault survivor, I know all too well what it’s like to feel guilty, ashamed, dirty, violated, irreparable, lost, and less than after being assaulted. It is the harsh emotional reality for approximately 720 people who are sexually assaulted every day¹, and that doesn’t take into account the potential millions of people who have already experienced sexual assault². That’s why when former Lindenwood University professor Jennifer Lorentz approached me about a project for sexual assault survivors, I dove in head first.
As Still Standing was forming, my story was the example for the “format”. I knew little, then, about the prevalence of sexual assault, so I was shocked how many friends came out of the proverbial woodwork once my story was public. I was alarmed, saddened, and hurt that so many of my friends – male and female alike – were hurt in such a way and then mistreated afterwards.
It culminated into a passionate anger. To me, violating, stealing, and utterly ignoring the autonomy of the physical vessel that contains one’s entire being is the most base and vile crime a person could commit. The propensity of our society to disregard that violation and instead blame, shame, and stigmatize its victimized people instead of supporting and helping them to heal is the next.
It takes guts, grit, determination, perseverance, courage, mental fortitude, and so much more every day to survive after sexual assault. Trust, faith, and sense of safety – to name just a very few – have been lost. To regain them while often reliving the trauma, experiencing society’s malintent, and still functioning at all is a feat that deserves to be celebrated. For a survivor to share their story in any way at all – whether anonymous or by name and under those circumstances is an act so entrenched in courage it is awe-inspiring.
That is why Still Standing exists. We want sexual assault survivors to know that their fortitude is not going unnoticed; that their very lives are testament to how powerful they are, and just how much they are moving toward healing every day. We want survivors to know that we truly see them, and that we want to both celebrate and empower them in their healing.
I could not be more proud of where Still Standing started, where it is now, and where we are going. I am also incredibly grateful and wholly humbled to both have started and still be on this journey.
To all sexual assault survivors: we honor and we celebrate you. Thank you for your courage, tenacity, fortitude, perseverance, and grit. We will always fight for you.
To all our supporters and supporters/survivors: Thank you for being on this roller coaster with us. You are, without a doubt, changing the world one person at a time and your support means so much more than you will ever know.
In love, thanks, empowerment, and celebration,