OVERCOMING THE STIGMA OF RAPE

MARGARET HIRSCH AND DARIAN. DSC01685

April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month. It ties in with Red My Lips  an international  nonprofit organization which runs an annual global awareness campaign where  supporters (which they call ‘Warriors’) wear red lipstick  throughout the month of April, to raise awareness and funds. They use red lipstick to create visibility, combat rape myths and victim-blaming, and demonstrate solidarity and support for survivors.
A victim of an horrendous gang rape attack that took place 20 years ago, and which she has only now come to terms with, is Darian Ryan.  It is only in the last four years that Darian has been able to speak to people about what happened to her. Darian told us that it was after listening to a motivational talk that Margaret Hirsch had given to a group of school girls about rising above situations that were holding them back from reaching their goals, and coming through difficult situations with their heads held high, and against all odds, that Darian realised that she needed to tell her story – to make girls who had suffered in similar  situations to understand that the fault was not theirs, and for them to make a stand against rape and rapists.

This is Darian’s story

“20 years ago I was taken by four men and then brutally raped at knife point. I reported the rape to the police, the only people I knew to turn to.  I put my trust in them, however, they treated me as if I was the criminal. It was the most traumatic time of my life but I received no support. I was made to feel so ashamed about what happened to me that I bottled up all my pain and never again spoke about what happened. It was eating away at me like a poison working it’s way through my blood stream. My life was a mess. I became emotionally detached. I did not know how to love or trust anyone.

A few years ago I started attending a church where I felt so much of love from the people there. They just accepted me, loved me and never judged me. This church became my safe place. I was then able to talk about the rape and work through all the hurt and pain.

Today, I am no longer a victim but a survivor and a warrior. My way of fighting back is to share my story with as many people as possible. I will no longer be silent!!! This April I am excited to support Red My Lips, which is an international nonprofit organization that uses red lipstick as a tool to combat rape myths and victim-blaming! Throughout the month, Warriors from across the globe will wear red lipstick to create visbility, demonstrate solidarity and support for survivors, and spark important conversations with people in their lives. Help me support Red My Lips by making a donation. The process is fast, easy, and secure. I truly appreciate any support you can provide. Let’s join together and let the world know that victims are NEVER responsible for sexual violence and we will not sit quietly while people we love are blamed, shamed, and silenced.  Click on to the site: : www.classy.org/darianryan. The money raised will be used to support organizations around the world that address the root cause of sexual violence.”

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