A Voice For The Innocent is a community of support for victims of sex crimes.
HOW WE STARTED
My name is Jamie. I am a 30 year old male, and for about 3 years when I was a child, I was sexually abused by my father. Eventually,
the events that were taking place were made known, and I had to go through a very long process of courts, lawyers, counselors and police. The entire time I went through this, my mother never left my side. She never let me feel as if anything was my fault,
and she made extra efforts to make sure I knew my worth and how loved I was. As terrible of a situation as it was, I was one of the lucky ones.
Because of the amazing support I got from my mom and my family, I learned how to talk about my experiences. I never turned away from the ugly facts. As I got older, I learned that not everyone has the same support from their families
as I did from my mom. As a matter of fact, many people don't even know how to tell anyone at all about sexual abuse they've encountered or the rape they've endured. They feel shamed, dirty, and guilty. I met many people through my life that would listen to
my story, and then tell me a similar one. Then, they would tell me that I was the only person they'd ever told, and that they felt better just knowing their story was out there. The idea was born.
I gathered some of my closest friends and colleagues, and we created
a safe place where people can tell their story. We don't judge. We listen. We support. We love. We give an
outlet. People who have a story don't need to give a name or location to sign up, and they can gain anonymous support from a group of people who have similiar stories - who understand. Telling your story doesn't solve all the problems that sexual abuse
or rape can cause, but many times it is the first step to recovery.
OUR FIRST YEAR
2013 was our very first year, and it brought a lot of opportunity for us to reach victims of sex crimes. We were able to get some
press coverage, and ran a
very successful StartSomeGood campaign right off the bat. On top of having our completely
anonymous website where people can share their story and gain support from other victims, we quickly learned that a crucial part of our mission is to attend community events and let people know that we exist. We had some amazing opportunities to do that
this year, and here are just a few examples.
SPEAK UP CINCINNATI
Speak Up Cincinnati is a concert we held. 10 bands came together for a monumental night to stand against sex crimes. It has been a great opportunity for us to get bands on our side, helping us to promote our message and reach more people. It also was a kickoff
for our band endorsement program, where we team up with bands who help spread our message to people who may need to hear it. Many of the bands even wrote a song for a compilation we released, which was entitled
Voices. The songs were a collection of music written specifically about sex crimes and the fight against them.
CINCINNATI PRIDE PARADE AND FESTIVAL
AVFTI was proud to be
a part of the Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival, which had over 50,000 attendees. We spoke to people from all walks of life, many of which told us how relieved they were
that an organization like ours exists.
STAND UP OHIO
Stand Up Ohio was a free family festival intended
to bring the community together to stand against sex abuse and celebrate children. Entertainment was provided by several local talents, including a magician, a puppeteer, a juggler, a 1920's Vaudeville band, and much more. We were also fortunate enough to
have lunch donated to us, so we were able to grill out for the several hundred people who attended. It was covered by the news, and we even got proclamations from the city and state declaring it Stand Up Day - a day to stand up to sex crimes.
We decided to try a scene that we weren't too familiar
with, and try and spread our message there. The response we got from the folks attending
Cincy ComiCon was warm, inviting, and welcoming. So many people came by our table with stories to share or simply to offer support.
We want to expand our efforts in 2014. We plan on attending and hosting all of these events, as well as many more festivals and large events which will expose us to upward of 200,000 new people. Several of the events are paid for, but some are not.
We have already paid for many of our events from 2013 support. We have already paid to attend the
Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival,
Alive Festival in northern Ohio,
Indy PopCon, and
Cincy ComiCon. We are also planning on attending
Ichthus Festival in Lexington,
Bunbury Festival in Cincinnati, and we are going to need new
merchandise and literature to help spread our message and support us.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
This is where you come in. If every single person who reads this donates $5, we can reach our goal in no time. If you can't afford to donate, that's okay. Please let people know we exist. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men are affected by sex crimes...chances are
you know know someone with a story and you may not even be aware of it. Visit our
website. Like us on
Facebook. Follow us on
This is up to you...please help us help those who need it. People are living in silence. Join us and be a voice for them.