“What happened to us is not our fault and we feel that by coming together, speaking out and putting voices and faces to our cause, we can do a great deal to someday abolish this violence.”

“Be the change you wish to see in the world…”


SAAV is the first and only organization in Los Angeles that uses the arts and all forms of creative expression as means to communicate complicated feelings and experiences in the healing process following rape or sexual assault.

There is a great need among women to communicate feelings and express those emotions connected to a traumatic experience. Even women who find it difficult to talk of their violent experience, have a need to share and open up about what they are feeling inside. Often feelings of shame are projected onto those who have been raped when they do not even feel shame themselves.

Society’s refusal to have open dialogue about rape perpetuates the shame and secrecy that generally surrounds the experience. Not only are women often afraid to talk about what happened to them but most people do not want to talk about it with them. There is a level of discomfort, horror and shame that makes it very difficult for a person who has not been raped: man or woman, to speak openly with a survivor about her experience. Society must work to change this so that women who have survived such brutality may integrate their experience of violence into their lives instead of disassociating from the experience and ignoring its after-effects.

Silence can be very dangerous to a rape survivor. Hiding from one’s experience instead of facing it can cause a great deal of long term psychological injury and the survivor misses a valuable opportunity to grow.

A negative experience when acknowledged and processed can provide strength, courage, empowerment and healing. And when this experience is shared with others who are on similar journeys of recovery, the healing potential becomes that much greater.

There are thousands of women in our communities who have been raped or sexually assaulted and never told anyone. As years go by, these women make up a large percentage of society. We are unknowingly creating a victimized society: filled with both women who have been victimized and those who fear victimization. It is possible to empower ourselves to take back our strength and courage. We do this by confronting the victim within us. We encourage ourselves to view our experience as something we have survived and can gain strength from, instead of something that destroyed us.

In talking about the experience of rape and sexual assault, we bring the topic out of the shame-filled darkness and improve our chances of ending this kind of violence in society.