Unspoken is a testimony in pictures and words of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Their abusers were family members, loved ones, clergy, and esteemed members of the community. Over the course of six years, I have built close relationships with the survivors in this book. I took a series of portraits of them, interviewed them and recorded their testimonies. They shared their private world and recalled the traumatic experiences that took place many years ago. I photographed the places and the triggers that the survivors relate to the traumatic event, capturing their memories. In some cases, survivors invited me to photograph the actual places where the abuse occurred; other times I photographed other elements that triggered their memories such as an object or a place that they relate to their childhood trauma. The circumstances and perpetrators of the abuse are all different. The survivors vary in age and come from different countries, including Spain, my homeland. Child sexual abuse is a crime that knows no borders. A child’s socioeconomic status or cultural background offers no protection. What bonded these survivors to each other was shame and a conviction instilled in them by the perpetrator that what happened to them should never be spoken of. Even though abuse is so prevalent and widespread, speaking out about child sexual abuse remains a taboo in Western societies. There is a great deal of shame surrounding child sexual abuse, such that victims are silenced and often re-traumatized.
Official statistics state that in Western countries, 25% of women and 13% of men have been victims of sexual abuse by adults before they reach the age of seventeen.
ACE Study - Prevalence - Adverse Childhood Experiences