‘Stop struggling.  You’re only hurting yourself’.

‘You wanted it, though’.

‘This is a test. If you tell Mom we will both know you cannot be trusted’.

‘I love you’.

‘Good girl’.

‘If you tell anyone, I’ll kill myself’.

‘Close your eyes.  This might hurt a bit’.

‘Prove it’.


These are the words that were said to victims of sexual assault by their abusers.

They’ve been highlighted as part of a campaign called Project Unbreakable, whose images have made headlines across the world.

The photos show those individuals holding  placards with handwritten notes: the words they were told as they were abused. It’s the brainchild of a nineteen year-old photography student in New York called Grace Brown.  Brown was inspired to start the campaign after a friend confided that she had been abused and that her attacker said she had ‘wanted it’.

For more information, visit: http://projectunbreakable.tumblr.com/
















10 thoughts on “Unspeakable

  1. Strikingly immediate and powerful. I recall hearing about a New York photographer a few years ago who was working with young girls who suffered from anorexia, using body images to give them a new confidence about themselves.

    “Dignity is something you should never take away. Abuse is when that dignity is completely forfeit. The dignity of the person is immensely important – it’s how we rightly define ourselves. The proper affirmation of the person, including the body, removes shame,and gives the body back to the individual. That is the kind of confidence we most certainly need to know”. Jock Sturges, Photographer.

  2. Yes – the words/images are devastating. Thanks for your comments and Red for the new link – I’ve updated it, so hopefully it’ll work now.

  3. Emma you are like a best friend. When I told my own mother about terrible things from my childhood her first words to me were “why did you let it happen?” Thank you for sharing this project.

  4. Caroline – it’s a privilege to be your friend.

    I’m so sorry that’s been your experience: I’m praying that you will know freedom from those desperate words and the events that preceded them. Thank-you for being so open xx

  5. Emma, Yes words hold great power. For me 20 years had passed between the events and the comment and it was oddly a comfort because it confirmed that my assessment as a child was correct: I really did have no one to turn to for help. That truth, even though it was very painful, has encouraged me to look honestly at the disassociation and other self-protection strategies (good girl, tough girl, party girl) that I embraced for survival. I was able to see them as emergency measures that were now soiling my current relationships and had to be taken on and confronted as the sinful choices they had become. I know I make it sound simple like “1.2.3” but it really is the work of a lifetime all this exposure and growth, exposure and growth. But for the grace of God I guess no one could manage it. Thank you for you sweet support and willingness to talk about this messy stuff on your blog.

  6. Caroline

    It doesn’t sound simple at all – but what a testimony to the power of God at work in you. Praying you will continue to know freedom from the shackles of the past x

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