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.
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