digging up the roots of gender-based violence

Category Archives: Pop Culture


Tuesday, in the midst of seeing people I respect and love defend Woody Allen, or at the very least, asking for folks to consider that there might be other possibilities and we might not want to be so quick to believe Dylan Farrow, I asked a question.  I asked my friends on Facebook to share their stories of survival with me. And they did, which is remarkable. I was truly awed by their bravery and candor. After each one of them shared, I told them that I believed them. And so did other people. “I believe you” is a simple thing to say, and far too often, we don’t say it.

Yesterday, after seeking their consent, I made this:


click to see larger view (go on, it’s totally worth it).


I am truly awed by how beautiful believing can be.

The costs of not believing survivors are real.

Believing survivors costs us nothing. No one wants to believe that their hero, or their favorite actor or movie director is a rapist. But the truth is rapists aren’t mythological beasts. They are everyday people, like you and me. In order to be good allies to survivors, we have to be willing to believe that the very best person we know is capable of sexual abuse/assault if we are ever confronted with such information.

Believe survivors. Tell them that you believe them. If my little Facebook experiment is any indication, the results will be amazing.

Cristy Cardinal is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has worked in the field of ending gender-based violence since 1997. Cristy has three kids, all of whom she is happy to share (gross or funny or weird, whatever) stories about any time. She is an avid fabric artist in addition to being a loudmouth feminist. Cristy is the 2012 winner of the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence Wave of Change Award, honoring excellence in social change and prevention of gender-based violence.