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Letter: Unedited Voices of Assault Survivors

To the Editor:

Survivors of domestic and sexual violence seldom have the opportunity to tell their stories absent some lens or filters that distort and even deny their truth, while myths and misperceptions abound about the realities of sexual and domestic violence. The Reality of Sexual Assault in New Hampshire, a 2011 report of the Research Committee of the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, examined criminal justice response to adult female sexual assault. The report’s findings reveal what advocates and survivors have always known: that public misperceptions about the reality of adult female sexual assault make it difficult, if not impossible, to prosecute cases. If we want justice to prevail, we must be open to listening to the unedited voices of survivors. WISE invites you to the Lebanon Opera House on April 3 at 7:30 p.m. for “Unedited Voices of the Upper Valley.” This special evening is a celebration of women and men sharing their stories through monologues, poems, dance, artwork and song. Directed by Kathe Mull, the evening features the Hanover High School a capella group, DaChords, and the Raqs Salaam Dance Theatre. “Unedited Voices of the Upper Valley” provides space for survivors to publically or anonymously share their story in exactly the way they want — no questions, no prompts, no censoring and no clarifying.

We invite you to come to the Opera House to listen, honor and celebrate the strength of our community. When we listen to survivors, we collectively move toward a more peaceful Upper Valley. There is no charge for this event, and it is open to everyone. Please join us Thursday. For additional event information, please visit www.wiseoftheuppervalley.org/events or www.facebook.com/wiseuv.

Peggy O’Neil

Executive Director WISE

Lebanon