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Artistic Advocate for Sexual Assault Victims to Speak at Penn State Monday Night

by on March 31, 2014 1:51 PM

It's a black and white photograph. She holds a piece of paper in front of her face that reads, "You never said anything."

In another image, a woman holds a sign that says, "I'm just trying to show you how much I love you."

In another, a woman holds a sign in front of her, "Shh, sweetie, it'll be over soon."

These are just some of thousands of images that have become part of Project Unbreakable – an artistic online initiative to create awareness of sexual assaults and support victims.

The people featured in the images, women and men, are victims. The signs feature words their attackers said to them.

Grace Brown started Project Unbreakable in 2011 after her friend told her she'd been sexually assaulted. At the time, Brown was a 19-year-old photography student in New York City.

"The main goal is to bring awareness to the issue and bring a discussion about it, get people talking about it," Brown says. "Another goal is for people who are affected by sexual assault to hopefully view the images and hopefully feel a little bit less isolated."

Victims are able to submit photos through the Project Unbreakable blog. Since 2011, more than 3,000 images have been featured. Submissions are so popular, there is a three to five month period before a submission is featured.

"I think it's important that people see the images and recognize that it's not a sad project. There is an intense amount of hope behind the project," Brown says.

Brown will be speaking Monday night at Penn State through the Center for Women Students and College of Business Sapphire Leadership Program to honor women and raise awareness about sexual violence. The event will be at 6:30 p.m. at Heritage Hall at the HUB-Robeson Center.

Brown says the friend who inspired the project is supportive of the effort. In fact, her friend is the first victim Brown photographed for the initiative.

"She's still in my life. She's extremely proud of what the project has become," Brown says. "She's good. She's doing really well."

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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