Philadelphia, PA – The message is clear. “It’s not okay – and it has to stop”
During the 57th annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2015, through a recorded message, President Obama addressed the nation about the issue of violence against women. “It’s on us – all of us – to create a culture where violence isn’t tolerated, where survivors are supported, and where all our young people – men and women – can go as far as their talents and dreams will take them,” he added.
Laquisha Anthony, a 32 year-old woman from inner city Philadelphia, is using personal experiences to make a positive difference. “The experience of being sexually abused as a young child and as a teen my freshman year of college changed my life and not for the better.” V.O.I.C.E: Victory Over Inconceivable Cowardly Experiences. It is a network whose mission is to eliminate the silence surrounding sexual violence through uniting survivors, empowering and educating those who are affected by sexual violence.
V.O.I.C.E began as an idea on a homework assignment for English class. What would you want to be written in your obituary? What will you be remembered for? Although a younger Laquisha was not aware of her future endeavors, she wrote, “running an organization to help women surrounding a cause.” She was writing her future; V.O.I.C.E was born on paper. Fast forward several years and Laquisha entered therapy for her rape experience in college. “I was tired of living in pain with depression and not being able to live the life I know I was created to live. I needed more than my journal and a prayer to get me to a place of healing. Through therapy I learned that there was power in my voice and that very thing created a way for me to be free from the pain.”
However, starting an organization from scratch, based on the idea of a socially silent topic, can be a difficult scenario. The idea of pouring finances into a dark topic frightens many, but with the support of the President and media attention across the nation, it is starting to come to light. She asserts, “Even if organizations are not quick to financially support the efforts to end sexual violence, the price of having more people talk is worth all the dollars in the world.”
In addition to financial support, Laquisha struggled with the idea of so many close ones approaching her with the very same hurt. She struggled with separating her personal feelings from the mission of V.O.I.C.E. Many of these close ones didn’t want to go anywhere else for help and this led the way for a unique experience. This allowed for a personal touch between V.O.I.C.E and their clients. “The personal feel most clients have had with us is what makes us different than any other place they have encountered for help. To have someone they can call when they are having a break down in the midnight hour or merely having a moment where they need to talk to someone who can identify is unique.”
On a daily basis V.O.I.C.E offers a variety of services including, support groups, client motivation calls, anger management classes, empowerment events, new victim services, voice coaching, motivational speaking, educational seminars and workshops, and connecting survivors with opportunities to connect with each other.
V.O.I.C.E is a “community that speaks out, encourages, and fellowship together with a goal to end the violence and restore the voice of each and every survivor.” Every April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). V.O.I.C.E encourages everyone to be on the lookout for a variety of ways to get involved and help spread awareness.
Support their cause and visit findyourvoiceinc.com and on Instagram at ASurvivorsVoice