Survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence raise awareness at ‘Written on the Body’ event

Photo and story by Rachael Anne Keisling / Contributing Writer 

MTSU’s English Department hosted a “Written on the Body” event for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors on Wednesday in the Sam H. Ingram Building. The event’s main purpose was to bring awareness about sexual assault and what can be done about it.

Lexie Bean is a writer and performer from Queens, New York, and Alex Valdes is a musical artist from Brooklyn. Together, they wrote and published the book “Written on the Body” to share their experiences of enduring sexual abuse and domestic assault from the partners they have had throughout their lives. Bean discussed her sexual assault experience that she had to endure as a child at the age of nine, and Valdes explained that she was sexually assaulted by her partners during her college years.

Lexie Bean explained the inspiration behind the book at the event.

“You write a letter to one of your body parts,” Bean said. “Declare statements such as ‘Dear lips’. I have written to those parts that do not belong to me anymore. I remember writing a letter while I was in the hospital about my baby teeth.”

In other words, Bean said that you should write a letter to the body parts you are most uncomfortable with and declare that they do not define you and who you are meant to be.

“Recognize what you want to say,” Valdes said. “Give your body space for yourself and others.”

To help the victims in need, Valdes pointed out that people should listen to what sexual assault victims have to say.

“Understand that we might not be able to understand everything, because questions or comments such as ‘Is it believed?’’ (and) ‘I am afraid’ will pop up,” Valdes said. “People quickly assume that transgenders and non-binary transgenders who report sexual assaults are dishonest.”

When asked what could be done to help the sexual assault victims, Bean replied, “Give me the details of what happened that night. Follow up with people, and know that one’s journey is not linear. Let that person know that you will remember them, and do some prevention work.”

For more information about the panelists, please visit Lexie Bean’s website here.

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    April 30, 2018

    MTSU’S English Department hosted a “Written on the Body” event which is for sexual assault victims. This is a very unique way in which a person can try to heal themselves from the torture they were put through. Writing letters to the body parts that you are most uncomfortable with is something that I have never heard of before however, it sounds like a very unique way for someone to cope with their pain and their self image.

    It is good to see people stepping up to try to help their fellow victims of sexual and domestic assault. All to often people are dismissed when they come forward with the awful truth that they had been abused by their partner, a trusted family member, or a stranger and more often then not we question their motives, is he or she telling the truth? What will they get out of if its true. The are barbaric things we do to the brave people that come forward. Everyone’s experience is different but we must come together to help these victims. Written on the Body is a beautiful way for these innocent victims to reclaim the pieces of themselves that were taken from them.

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