Project Unbreakable

Photo Gallery

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TRIGGER WARNING: This series of photos contains references to sexual violence and assault which may be triggering to some people.

In October of last year, Grace Brown began a photography project called Project Unbreakable. Grace uses photography to help heal sexual abuse survivors by photographing them with posters that hold quotes from their attackers. Rape survivor and advocate for victims of sexual abuse, Yvonne Moss, describes the project as a way for victims to take the power back of the words that were once used against them.

If you are interested in participating by either being photographed or sending in your own image, you may send her an email at with the subject line “Photograph Me” or “Submission”, depending on the circumstance.

Note: Grace, or anyone else associated with this project, is not qualified to give certified advice on this subject. If you are struggling, RAINN has a free, confidential, 24/7 sexual assault hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE(4673). RAINN also has an online hotline.

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  1. I cannot praise Project Unbreakable highly enough. I myself suffered four years of sexual bullying, harassment, and low level sexual assault, from both male and female students in high school, followed by the mental and emotional burden for nine years afterwards. Now the healing process is well underway, and project unbreakable have made a huge difference to me. My only question, how to reach out to other survivors?

  2. Rob Novotny says:

    Great photo essay. The worst UX for a photo gallery EVER … really did a disservice to the subject.

  3. Do you have to have your face in the picture?

  4. This collection is important. What I find troubling is that the collector is getting notoriety and charges speaking fees; she is benefiting from the suffering and pain of others. Of course the others have consented to this, but I can’t help but wonder if the project could not have been set up in a manner that feels less exploitative, such as a website where people submit photographs (seen this done well with other projects). Is Grace a survivor herself, or just a voyeur? Is she using the money she makes for the cause, or just to sustain herself? I have a lot of questions about the integrity of this endeavor. FWIW I am a survivor.

    • Joey Joe Joe says:

      I’m not concerned about her profiting. She is investing time and money into her project, and she is giving people a voice. She then goes on to use her voice to tell their stories. I also applaud her for having encouraged men to step up and take part in the project.

      As a social worker, I know that many “profit” off the suffering of others. I work in an emergency homeless shelter where I get paid for my work. I also work in an AIDS Service Organization (ASO). I am also going to be taking part in a group for men who are survivors of childhood sexual violence and trauma (being paid by the ASO I work with to co-facilitate with another group).

      One could make the argument that I am profiting off homelessness, HIV, food-insecurity, and sexual abuse of boys/men (boys grow into men). However, if I wasn’t being paid for the work I do, I wouldn’t be eating, and I wouldn’t have a roof over my head. I would then either be a client of someone else doing what I do, or I would be doing something else and the same people in need would not be getting help.

      I have also been a recipient of female-to-male partner violence, including rape.

      • I hope you can be emotionally separate from this work. I had a girlfriend that had problems with burnout because of childhood trama and then working in an education center to teach kids about child abuse and also she worked with the Spouce Abuse Shelter that I did.

        Good luck with things and Don’t let’em get to You’uns!!

  5. Anthony Zarat says:

    I have been considering posting a picture for some time. There would be two messages:

    “What is wrong, are you afraid of the dark?”
    — The adult woman who assaulted me, after I said “I think this is a bad idea.”

    “It makes you hungry, doesn’t it?”
    — My mother, who arranged the assault

    Sadly, when I ask friends what they think, most are negative and critical. This may explain the large number of face-omit pictures. The negativity is puzzling because the purpose is not punishment or criminal charges. The purpose is healing and support. Why the hostility?

    • mbcowan says:

      Anthony, in the field of psychology we call this negativity and hostility “noise.” You will find the noise has nothing to offer- if is just anger, and hate, the need to hurt and demean without offering anything except criticism. It is done to boost one’s ego, give one a false sense of purpose and often to derail what is being said. It may be done to distract from the real issue; and do not forget that offenders access this site and may be terrified of getting seen, found out or discovered. There are also a large number of men who still deny they were raped and molested as boys and this open admission triggers them into rage. It brings to mind that famous quote “Methinks the lady doth protest too much!”
      Just know you are helping many of us heal and those who wish to condemn it are still lost and unhealed.

      • Anthony Zarat says:

        I observe a gender dependent response when I tell people that my mother offered her male children for sexual exploitation by adult women:

        1)Heterosexual men run away in fear
        2)Women offer false sympathy and then use it against me
        3)Gay men feel genuine sympathy and compassion

        I discussed this on a men’s rights forum here:

        I cannot explain it.

        • Sometimes undertanding isn’t needed. Just affirming my own abuse and rape was enough for me. Although I knew that my abuser was badly abused by her father who was insane.

          Often parents continue in patterns that they were raised in, It could be a culture of prostitution that was just continued with you. I’ve seen a website of porn pictures about mothers intoducing their daughters to whoring.

          Even though you experienced a lot of trama; in a twisted way your mother could have thought she was “making a man”.

          Its sad, like my one and only hunting trip.

  6. natureartist says:

    Is there evidence that male sex victims are on the rise? If this is so, is there a theory as to why this is taking place? It is very sad that there are so many female victims, and it is a sad trend to see a whole new class of victims added to such a terrible fate.

    • I would say that there are rising numbers of male victims like myself because more victims are coming forward. Before victims thought they were the only ones and that helped silence them. Now because of sites like this people are realizing that they are not alone and that helps them to talk about the tramas and that helps them heal.

      • mbcowan says:

        The more people speak up, the easier it is for others to follow, especially males who often feel deep shame at being molested, as if somehow this lessens their manhood. Rape is rape and the shame always goes to the one who did the rape and not to the victim.

        • Eagle34 says:

          mbcowan: “The more people speak up, the easier it is for others to follow, especially males who often feel deep shame at being molested, as if somehow this lessens their manhood.”

          Once again, I take serious issue with the implication that when a man is sexually abused or hurt by women they think it lessens their manhood.

          I certainly didn’t feel like my manhood was lessened when I was hurt. I was hurt, period, and felt ostracized. (not sexually abused, by the way. Just really hurt and traumatized)

          It’s not about pride or machismo. It’s about the fear of being ignored and shunted to the side.

    • Mark Neil says:

      The CDC report for intimate partner and sexual violence (not sure if that’s the proper name, but generally close to it) had equal levels in a 12 month period, when forced envelopment was accounted for. Both genders experienced approximately 1.1% of their population being raped or forced to envelope (or attempts made to do ether). The lifetime numbers weren’t quite so close, so it could suggest it is on the rise, or that some men are not willing to bring it back up once the wounds are scabbed over, or perhaps some other explanation, I don’t know.

  7. These people are incredibly brave. They are speaking out and now it is the community’s turn to respond by confronting their fears and, yes, talking to their kids about ‘body safety’. For the next generation we must teach preventative education. Forewarned is forearmed!

    • I agree with you Jay.

      I think the phrases are eye openning about the tools of manipulation that are used. Such as the “I love you” poster. It gives president to the manipulation that is used to discourage victims from getting help in such situations. What a great project and a great way to encourage a discussion and healing.

      • Rabbi Tworski wrote a dialogue between him and a young man eating eating fish. He saw the young man eating fish and asked him why he ate fish. The young man replied, “I love fish!” to which rabbi Tworski replied, “You love fish so much you pull them out of the water, kill them and devour them. You do not love fish. You love self-gratification!”
        The same is to be said of those who have sex with children. They may believe they “love” children, but it is all about the abuser’s twisted beliefs, distorted thoughts and cravings; self-gratification!
        Much healing must be done for all.

        • Thank you, this tale is the best explication I’ve ever read about the abuser ‘s point of view.
          I work for children exposed to domestic violence, in Spain. It’s stunning that “domestic” refers only to violence against women, by men. This denies violence from females to men, but also same sex marriage’s maltreatment. Therapists and researchers alike should chose our words in a more realistic way, in my opinion.
          This is my first time visit to your web. Be sure I’ll be back.

  8. Eagle, publish here as a beginning. The word will get out. Start a website for male victims, keep the word going and even attend conferences. (I am attending one in Alabama in April). Bringing awareness to people is important. The more we share our story and the more information and truth that comes forth, the better. This all must come out of the darkness and into the light so we can heal and put a stop to abuse.

    To No More Victims!

  9. Excellent, James. Be careful in graduate school. They may not be tickled with this subject. Was it Freud who discovered resistance was a defense?

    • I am very aware of people’s ability to be multifaceted. Being a Unitarian I have met people that on some issues were very forward tinking and progressive and on other issues very regressive. I know I’ll have to be somewhat tentive.

      One of the things I’m trying to do now is network with some of the Lifestyle groups in TN to find a mentor outside of the school. I appreciate your comments.

      After I got through the inital decompression from the relationship I really felt a deep sadness for my ex because I could now see how she was being so self-destructive because she had a hole in her soul. As far as I know she is still in total denial.

  10. CC: “And when I tried to discuss the subject with my professor, he shot me down, refused to address my objections, and made me an object of ridicule in front of the entire class.

    And when I tried to complain to my professor’s supervisor, I discovered she was a proponent of “critical pedagogy”, i.e., using the classroom to promote radical left-wing/Marxist ideology that defines men as aggressors and women as victims.”


    Sadly, it’s pretty common to find extreme ideologues of every type and gender in academic settings that would rather justify their covert bigotry than educate and encourage debate.

    You’re not alone CC. There have been many men like you, not even in college, who have been hurt or slandered by people hiding behind their movement or ideology.

    CC: “No mention of female-on-male rape, despite Shanta Dube’s study which found that women commit 40% of sex crimes against boys. ”

    I know how you feel with this. I wasn’t sexually abused, but hurt regardless by females in addition to males in my youth. You know how many articles there are on the subject of female-to-male bullying? Nothing. Just two, and one of them is an article I wrote for this very site. The other is an article that’s sorely in need of an update because the references are outdated. Yeah, that’s pretty much the extent of resources available out there.

    And society calls it an “Unfamiliar Issue” while, according to many who have commented with their stories, it’s been happening for a long time right in their face.

    So I share in your frustration of written media refusing to acknowledge female-to-male sexual abuse. Thought that is changing.

    • The really sad part about the whole denial of reality is that the people that are presenting themselves as being against child abuse are actually supporting its continuation and growth.

      Eagle34 I think that you should do like I did over thirty years ago. I was in a blind rehabilitation program, we had to “specialize” in a client population; children; adults; or geriatrics. Well, I like to go my own way so I took a class in geriatrics (that fulfilled the requirement) Later when it came time to write my paper of the program (we didn’t acually do a formal masters thesis) I was informed that I had to do it on my specialty!

      Like you I went running to the library and researched the geriatric blind. It wasn’t quite nonexistant but it was all tiny casestudies. What someone is doing with ten or twelve old isn’t a big enough casestudy. I went screaming to my advisor. Well after I point out all the problems he laughed and said; “Do It”. Gee, I had an international journal to DEMAND that I publish.

      So why not use this as a research project; God Forbid you might have people demanding that you publish in international journals.

      One way to sneek it in would be; How does Denial of Female on Male rape propetuate child abuse because of women victimizing boys. (read my other posts!)

      • Thanks for the idea, James.

        But I’m not in any course or education program. I wonder if there are any international journals that would publish regardless?

      • John Anderson says:

        @James Love

        “The really sad part about the whole denial of reality is that the people that are presenting themselves as being against child abuse are actually supporting its continuation and growth. ”

        That makes me think of the women and children’s activists, who advance the position of in general pf bad moms and hurt children by taking anti-father oppositions. By bad mom I don’t necessarily mean abusive to the child except in the sense that she is actively sabotaging the child’s relationship with their father. One example was the fight against criminalizing visitation interference.

        • James, many victims still rail at their abuser and often displace that rightful anger by globalizing it to all males or females, as the case may be. This is understandable, yet, damaging to everyone. Once I passed the initial years of healing as a victim, I had to forgive- for my own sake- lest the hatred and bitterness I held destroy me (forgiveness is not permission or approval), and then have compassion and see my abusers as tragically ill, which they were.

        • In my case I had social workers that were denighing me any contact with my son because of my insane wife’s lies. They were seeing no problem with my son having to be in the same room with my ex and her lovers. She was dating men that lived in lofts and she lived in a studio apartment. I haven’t seen my son in eighteen years.

      • Mike Russo says:

        My roommate is a Gender Studies master’s candidate. He specializes in, and will be defending his thesis in rape culture, of all types. I look forward to reading his thesis. I’ll try to post it on TGMP if I can…if he ever finishes it.

  11. “Why do let us keep doing this to you?” Lead perpetrator to 10-yo me.

  12. Here’s a trigger warning: I’m male and was sexually abused by men AND by women.

    And in my early 30s, I finally started getting my life together. I went back to college. And I read in Lois Tyson’s “Critical Theory Today” (a widely-used English textbook) that rape is a hate crime that The Patriarchy uses to keep women oppressed.

    No mention of male-on-male rape, which, when it happens in prison, many authorities agree outnumbers male-on-female rapes in civilian life by a wide margin.

    No mention of female-on-female rape, which are rare but do happen.

    No mention of female-on-male rape, despite Shanta Dube’s study which found that women commit 40% of sex crimes against boys.

    And when I tried to discuss the subject with my professor, he shot me down, refused to address my objections, and made me an object of ridicule in front of the entire class.

    And when I tried to complain to my professor’s supervisor, I discovered she was a proponent of “critical pedagogy”, i.e., using the classroom to promote radical left-wing/Marxist ideology that defines men as aggressors and women as victims.

    So I dropped out of that college rather than give another dime to anyone promoting an ideology that denies the reality of my experience.

    And, as usual, the Good Men Project continues this leftwing whitewash by neglecting the subject of female perpetrators.

  13. I have never gone through anything like that but I just wanted to say all the people who participated should be proud of themselves whether they were comfortable showing their faces or not. What originally drew me to comment was picture number nine of nine. The woman in the picture looks like the actress Toni Collette. If it actually is her, then kudos to her as well for putting a famous face to the project and perhaps assuring it more publicity.

  14. I agree with Artemis that it is devastating. It is a valuable project IMHO. I also thing that it is extremely valuable that there are pictures of men who have been sexually assaulted. This is something that is all too often not spoken of, but all too real. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  15. This project is devastating.

  16. PursuitAce says:

    What I’d like to see more of is an ongoing discussion of who are these people, the rapists. I can’t begin to get inside their head. And how can we identify them in advance and do some preemptive action/counseling? This shotgun approach might be working, but I don’t know.

    • I’m not really sure that you want to go there; fools march on where angels fear to tread.

      In my wife’s case it was and is a terrible existance. She was sexually abused on a regular basis by an insane father . There is a cluster of insanity and drug abuse, and all sorts of mental problems in her family tree. Several times just after we got married we talked about that.

      But all of this abuse made her totally incapable of empathy, so she had no qulams about raping me or sexually abusing our son. I would be totally unsurprised if she used him as a sex toy once he began to sexually mature. While I was completely forbidden to be around him I know that in middle school hw threatened to burn the house down with her in it. He was diagnosed as ODD when he was about twelve and finished school as an emotionally disturbed student. In the last few years I found out that she remarried, may God have mercy on his soul. I really feel sorry for him.

      • Mike Russo says:

        How did you lose the ability to protect your child? I can’t imagine how that must have hurt you. It’s not ODD if he’s forced to live with a monster.

        Hey, maybe the man she married is a man like her father, and maybe he’ll keep her hogtied to the bathroom and use her as a urinal slave. It’s obvious she was the queen of daddy issues, so maybe she was seeking someone to abuse her. Didn’t have to ruin lives though. I think we can find more than a few sex traffickers that would have work for her, should she reconsider her current predicament. Sorry, crude joke, but since most women are largely unwilling victims in the abuse of sex trafficking, it would be nice to see a willing participant in it, so one of the unwilling victims could go free.

        • Josh K. says:

          Disgusting, man. Whatever abuse could happen to her, that is still not right. That is not right to make fun of people’s past sufferings, even when they became monsters as well. And no, any abuse they might face after that also is disgusting, and their abuser should face the consequences as much as them. Let’s laugh about rapists getting systematically raped in prisons as well? Let’s call all girls and women that have been sexually abused by their own dads “queens of daddy issues”? What is wrong with this world.
          And remember, PLEASE, that you are talking/replying to a rape survivor here! He was being positive even after all of that. He seems like a good, serene and compassionate man. Please, consider not joking about abuse to victim of abuse without knowing they are okay with that. Please remember that can be hurtful (he is being open about his life, listen and support without being aggressive, crude or ignorant) and even triggering.

  17. Great to see some men in the project. I was sexually abused by two male family members as a child and raped by two strangers as an adult. I reported one of the family members but he got away with it. As for the rapists, my sister was raped on three separate occasions. The second and third times they never found the guy. They found the first guy but not only was he not arrested, my sister was put through a humiliating interrogation. I figured as a guy it would be much worse so I didn’t tell anybody. Until I tweeted about it a few days ago I only told a couple of people. More people should speak up. Maybe we’ll finally see some changes.

    • Kirsten (in MT) says:

      Thank you for your courage.

    • David Washington says:

      This is my first time at this site. I was told about it at a meeting in Annapolis Md were a group of men from across the country are looking at ways to reach out to other males (boys and men). We do recover! My heart is so full of ________, that men seem to be talking more than ever in my lifetime about trauma and recovery in a public forum.

  18. I really like this collection of photos because it shows the diversity of the population of rape victims. If I were in the project the sign would be, “See your hard so you really want this.”

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