By: Rich Meyer ~Staff Writer~
An event the called “Break the Silence by Collecting the Stories: A Dialogue about Sexual Violence and Rape Culture” was held in the Center for Faith and Justice (CFJ).
The CFJ, along with the Title IX Office, Center for International Education, Multicultural Gender and Women’s Center, Students for Women’s Progress and Xavier Students Against Sexual Assault came together to host Lisa Factora-Borchers, a sexual violence and rape activist. The event was held on March 24 in a discussion format, where Factora-Borchers opened with a monologue of her experiences and discussed the book. This was followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
Factora-Borchers, a Xavier graduate, is the editor of a new anthology entitled Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence. The anthology is a collection of works from contributors of diverse backgrounds, both survivors and counselors, designed to help those affected by sexual violence and rape.
“The contributors are from all over the world, but are primarily domestic,” Factora-Borchers said. “There are fifty contributors from diverse backgrounds. There are all these people in all different kinds of professions. They primarily are people who had a level of readiness in terms of their healing and writing that they were able to write not about trauma but about hope, and resilience, and positivity after their assault.”
She also discussed how silence in the community surrounding those affected by rape and sexual violence can be one of the greatest detriments in the healing process for a survivor.
“What I tried to do with the book was to come up with a resource that wasn’t just for survivors but for the communities that would help survivors know that they are not alone, that they are safe, and that they are believed,” Factora-Borchers said.
Factora-Borchers also offered some advice in the opening chapter of the book, though she notes that there is no universal path, as each person’s healing process is different.
“I would suggest for survivors that the first chapter is critical before the rest of the book unfolds. There are simple messages that, if they have not been told, they need to be told: that they’re not alone, that they are believed, that they’re supported, and it wasn’t their fault. I think that if they can get through that first chapter and believe that about their own healing, that’s probably the best way to begin.”