My wife and I were at a dinner in Washington DC earlier this year - it was a cancer event - and this woman sat down and said ‘Nice to meet you I’m so and so, and I’m a 30 year cancer survivor’. That wasn’t all that she was, but that was simply part of what she had gone through and that’s why she was there. Our vision is that is that someday someone will be able to sit down at a table and say ‘I’m a survivor of sexual abuse; I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse; I’m a survivor of rape’, and not have the needle skip off the record and have the person sitting across from them not know what to say. Because it’s not what defines them, it’s simply something that happened to them and it’s not their fault and they don’t need to carry the shame. It’s an unjust stigma in the sense that the shame belongs to the perpetrator and not the victim.
Peter Hermann, husband to Mariska Hargitay & co-founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation (via afterthelight)