NAPIESV Listening Session Report:
No One Can Tell Our Stories But Us: A Dialogue on Sexual Violence in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities
This project emerged from a profound need for Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) to be able to tell our own stories of sexual assault and violence, and on our own terms.
Time and time again, we found there was a lack of representation of API voices and testimonies when it came to work around sexual violence. Our stories about sexual violence went unheard, unacknowledged or at times got subsumed into other forms of violence and were never explicitly addressed on their own.
We envisioned our work and this project as a place to focus on sexual violence in our communities and an opportunity to collectively define and redefine it. To even name sexual violence as an issue within API communities is, in and of itself, work, as many in our communities deny its very existence and different communities have -different ways of identifying, defining and naming sexual violence, if at all. What does sexual violence in API communities look like? How can we both consistently identify sexual violence and collectively redefine what it means for our communities?
While this report may be new information for broader API communities, many API women, particularly and other women of color have been speaking out, writing and organizing against sexual violence and leaving a legacy of work for us to learn from. We want to honor their work and the work of so many other APIs whose names we may not know, who have been tirelessly doing work around sexual violence in our communities.
We in no way want to pretend as if this is the first naming of sexual violence in our communities or in this way, or as if this is the first time sexual violence is being connected politically to other forms of violence or oppression. We want to acknowledge the many API survivors who have taken the enormous risks of coming out in their communities as survivors of sexual violence and who have endured tremendous backlash for doing so. We hope this paper will add to and amplify the work that has come before us and is currently being done. We hope to add another voice to the chorus of voices calling for an end to sexual violence in all of our communities