Wear Your Voice Magazine announces the launch of #KillTheSilence2015, a yearlong campaign to end the stigma sexual assault and domestic violence survivors face when going forward with their story.

Victim blaming, also called secondary victimization, exposes survivors to additional trauma after their initial assault, making survivors less likely to come forward with their story out of fear of perceptions or repercussions they may face from their community and those around them. In fact, rapes and sexual assaults are rarely reported to law enforcement. A 2014 report by the Department of Justice showed that only 34.8% cases of sexual assaults are reported to the authorities, while a staggering 70 percent of domestic violence cases go unreported each year.

#KillTheSilence was conceptualized by Monica Cadena and Ravneet Vohra, both, sexual assault survivors. Three weeks before her 21st birthday, Monica was drugged and raped by three acquaintances. Ravneet’s abuse started at the age of 4, at the hands of a trusted family friend.

In Monica’s case, she immediately went forward to family and local authorities. After coming forward, she was shamed by family, then partner, as well as staff at the hospital that performed her rape kit. For Ravneet, she remained silent for years, internalizing her trauma as something she did wrong. When she did tell those close to her years later, it was brushed aside. In her first marriage, she was plagued with mental abuse, the abuse that leaves no physical scars. She watched as her society turned her back on her as she turned from victim to villain. Years later she would break her silence around her abuse both in childhood and adulthood in order to make impact with a mission that no one should suffer in silence again.

 By speaking our truth and telling our story, it is our hope that others will follow suit, continuing the dialogue on how we can best support those in our lives who has been affected by such acts of violence.

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We encourage everyone to participate by spreading the word on social media using the hashtag #KillTheSilence. Share your story. Speak out #KillTheSilence.