A Visual Reminder That Sexual Abuse Survivors Took Their Power Back In 2017

It's easy to mark 2017 as a dumpster fire of a year. After all, some experts are saying that this year was even worse for public well-being (which includes emotional health) than the disaster that was 2016.
And with all of the people who have come forward with stories of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault within the last few months, it's completely understandable that we in the U.S. might be feeling down. We're constantly reminded of the awful things people (mostly cisgender men) do to each other and the ways in which society has allowed survivors to be silenced.
Yet, an organization called The Representation Project — which releases a retrospective on gender in media every year — points out that there's also an upside to all of the sexual abuse allegations that were made this year: Survivors are taking their power back.
The organization compiled news reports of the allegations, interviews with survivors like Ashley Judd, and the real consequences abusers were finally forced to face in a powerful video for their 2017 retrospective.
"For too long, victims like myself have been forced to stay silent, swallowing our trauma in shame or fear of retaliation," Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of The Representation Project, said in a statement to Refinery29. "Thanks to everyday people speaking out en masse, high-profile survivors like Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan leading the way, and courageous reporting bringing truth to light, 2017 was the year we finally changed this equation."
After an October New York Times report detailed decades of sexual abuse allegations Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had gotten away with for years, more and more people began speaking about abuse they'd experienced from other men in Hollywood, in politics, in sports, and in religion.
"Open secrets came out. We flocked to support survivors. And untouchable, serial predators like Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Louis C.K., Bryan Singer, Kevin Spacey, and more finally faced consequences for their actions," Siebel Newsom said.
This video (and more that they'll continue to make every year), as well as other projects calling out sexism in the media, is The Representations Project's way of fighting back. Siebel Newsom made the promise that her organization will continue to hold abusers like Weinstein accountable. Because survivors won't be silent anymore.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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