Southeast University sexual assault survivors find their voice through writing project


It can be difficult for victims of sexual assault to come forward, but survivors at Southeast Missouri State University are sharing their experiences on March 23.

Not only are they talking about it, but they are writing it down.

It’s called Project Unbreakable.

Survivors are shedding light on what they call the positive and negative words that will stay with them forever.

“It’s something that I’ve never told anyone before, even though, I have been talking about it for years now,” said survivor and Southeast student Jessica Strunk.

Words that normally don’t leave a journal.

Survivors at Southeast Missouri State University share the words of their attackers.

“We’ve had a few people come by that have never told anyone, and writing it down was the very first time they’ve actually had to look at it,” said Lynsea Casey, a graduate assistant for Campus Violence Prevention.

Strunk says her rapist was a friend.

“I’d known him for years. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who to tell.”

But it was the words of her mother that meant the most.

“She understood that she didn’t know what I was going through, and she just wanted me to tell her what can she do, and it meant so much. That really helps more than anything,” Strunk said.

“This is a good way for other people to see what survivors go through, and to see the pain and the experience, and recognize the trauma that they’ve endured,” said Casey.

“It’s quite emotional. I literally almost felt like crying when I saw some of the statements. . Doing this kind of project is a way is to communicate to people – first, that it’s wrong, second, that this happens, and we need to work together,” said University President Carlos Vargas said.

Strunk says sharing can be difficult, but writing it out helps to let it go.

“It’s not a secret. It’s not something I’m ashamed of, and being able to help other people using my own experiences has meant everything to me,” Strunk said.

The women say they hope this will help others understand what survivors go through, and how others can help.

“A lot of people don’t know what to say because it’s such a harsh issue, and just asking how you can help makes so much of a difference,” Strunk.

The group got the idea through a blog on Tumblr.

If you’d like to participate click here.

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