NLC Member Highlight: Laurie Halse Anderson

Each month, RAINN features a member of its National Leadership Council (NLC). The NLC is a group of dedicated individuals who have shown their commitment to RAINN’s mission of supporting survivors and ending sexual violence. This month we checked in with survivor and bestselling author of the novel Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson. 

Why are you passionate about ending sexual violence?

As a survivor and author of a book about rape, I’ve heard from thousands of survivors in the last twenty years. They’ve taught me about the generational impact of trauma, the devastation caused by shaming and blaming victims, and the damage that silence inflicts. I want to help change that.

How can we all be better supporters and advocates for survivors in our lives?

We need to examine what we are taught about sexual violence in today’s culture and replace it with facts, like those found at https://www.rainn.org/statistics. We must combat sexual violence by educating ourselves and our children about consent. We also need to require consistently high standards for how law enforcement and the judiciary handle these crimes. Finally, we must all learn to listen with compassion and love when a victim tells us what happened to them.

How has your passion for ending sexual violence influenced your art, advocacy, work, etc.?

My first novel Speak (published in 1999) was the story of a teenage rape survivor dealing with trauma and depression as she slowly develops the courage to speak up. We created a graphic novel version of the book with astounding art by Emily Carroll. In 2019, I’ll be publishing a memoir, SHOUT, that explores my experience of sexual assault and recovery from it, as well as what I’ve learned from other survivors.

What are the warning signs for child sexual abuse?

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Every 92 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

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