Anne Ream, 40, who was raped 15 years ago, is trying to eradicate the sense of isolation felt by victims by documenting the lives of women who have survived rape–and thrived, the Chicago Tribune reports. Her effort, the Voices and Faces Project, tells the stories of women who have recovered their lives after rape and shows their faces in black-and-white portraits. It began as an idea for a book, which is expected to be published in 2006, and is a Web site (www.voicesandfaces.org). Starting in June, the Web site will add two new stories a month and will soon add a blog.
Victims of rape are often unseen; many never report the crime. The identities of those who report are kept private: Police don’t release names of rape victims; newspapers don’t print them; TV blurs their faces. The silence comes from fear of retaliation or of not being believed, said Polly Poskin of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. There’s also a risk that if victims speak out, they’ll be blamed for dressing a certain way, walking home at a certain time, or acting a certain way. The Voices and Faces Web site has received 3 million hits in its first three months. About 300 victims have responded, either telling their stories by e-mail or filling out a survey about sexual assault.