Jacksonville-based nonprofits are empowering survivors of sexual assault

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Survivors of sexual assault and leaders in our community gathered today at City Hall to recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and shed a spotlight on the network that’s available for other survivors to get help and support.

“Let’s get rid of shame. Let’s get rid of fear,” said Adiya Barlow, who was there to share how the Women’s Center of Jacksonville made a difference in her life.

“Any resources that I needed would be free,” she explained. “Support groups, one-on-one counseling.”

Barlow says at the Women’s Center, she found, “a loving and supporting environment to be able to heal myself.”

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“These are things that can’t be dismissed anymore,” pointed out Samantha Dallett, a model and activist who has co-founded the “Every 68 Seconds” portrait project with photographer Brian Fry behind the lens.

That’s how often an American is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

“My platform was growing,” Dallett said. “I had to utilize that.”

With her own photo, she decided to lead the effort.

“The quotes were from my rapist,” she said, referring to the words written across the top of her chest and down her arm.

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“The quote across my abdomen is what my roommate had said to me the next morning as I was kinda like, ‘I don’t know what just happened to me,’ and I was explaining and so [she responded] ‘that’s Sam rape, you were raped.’ That was kind of that aha moment.”

Dallett’s black and white portrait will be displayed next to 36 others at the studio

BABS’ LAB, CoRK Arts District North in Riverside on Friday, April 29th.

The project is aiming to display 53 portraits, representing the number of people victimized in an hour.

“Your participation and how much you show is completely and 100 percent up to you,” Dallett emphasized. “If you want to show up in a turtleneck and write something on your cheek, you may do that. It is how you are regaining the power to show how your body is going to be used and viewed from now on. So, we are regiving that power to survivors because they are not victims any longer.”

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Through these outlets, these women want other survivors to know,

“They’re not alone,” Barlow stressed. “Support and resources are always available to them whenever they want it.”

You can reach out to the Every 68 Seconds Project on Instagram @Every68Seconds or email them here: Every68Seconds@gmail.com.

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