21 Men Holding Signs Quoting Their Rapists

Why don't men tell? The answer may lie in the things their rapists say to them.

Grace Brown began Project Unbreakable with people she knew who had been sexually assaulted. The project quickly escalated and now includes more than 2,000 survivors from all over the country holding signs with the quotes from their attackers written on them. Her mission is “healing through art.”

Brown, 21, is a photographer and public speaker from Massachusetts. Her first subject was a friend who confided in her. The story made her realize how common sexual assault is and she awoke the next day with the idea for Project Unbreakable.

One striking thing about these images is that they’ll remind people that sexual assault is not a new phenomenon. Some of these men are middle-aged and are just now telling their stories. Most didn’t share their stories until they were adults. The perpetrator isn’t always the lecherous step-father, creepy neighbor, or depraved priest, either. Sometimes they’re friends. Siblings. Grandparents. Neighbors. And, yes, sometimes their rapists are women.

One in three women have been or will be sexually assaulted at some time in their lifetime. One in five men have been or will be sexually assaulted at some time in their lifetime. The numbers aren’t much different, so why don’t we hear more about the men who are assaulted? Why don’t they tell? The answer to that question lies largely in the lies their rapists tell them. See for yourself. There is a video about Project Unbreakable at the end of this article.

UPDATE 11/19/13 We can not make gender assumptions. Some of the courageous people in these photos may be transgender, and therefore, I can not assume that they are male or female.


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You can support Project Unbreakable by direct donations or by purchasing t-shirts or wristbands from the store. Visit on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter. For information on submitting your own photo, visit the site. Watch a video about the project below.


Images from Project Unbreakable’s Tumblr

h/t Buzzfeed

About Tiffany Willis

Tiffany Willis is a fifth-generation Texan, a proponent of voluntary simplicity, a single mom, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she has spent most of her career actively working with “the least of these" -- disadvantaged and oppressed populations, the elderly, people living in poverty, at-risk youth, and unemployed people. She is a Certified Workforce Expert with the National Workforce Institute, a NAWDP Certified Workforce Development Professional, and a certified instructor for Franklin Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. She also has a grossly neglected personal blog, a  Time Travel blog, a site dedicated to encouraging people to  read classic literature 15 minutes a day, and a literary quotes blog that is a labor of love. Find her somewhere and join the discussion. Click here to buy Tiff a mojito.


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  1. […] Day #19 of Movember, Men’s Health Awareness […]

  2. […] to our lexicon: For men, the effects of sexual violence can be just as deep severe. Just check out these pictures, from Project Unbreakable, of male survivors sharing their […]

  3. Jeanette406 says:

    Rape is rape no matter who the victim is or who the perpetrator is.

  4. Athena Davenport says:

    This hurts my heart to read. Rape is rape, no matter who it comes from or who it is done to…Regardless of sex or gender.

  5. Frank Worley says:

    Thanks for posting this, please; keep up the fight.

  6. gwallan says:

    Why do we not report?

    Things I’ve been told or experienced when being overheard admitting to having been raped by a woman as a child…It’s nowhere near exhaustive.

    You must have wanted it.
    You’re lucky.
    You’re privileged by it.
    Women never do that sort of thing.
    It’s harmless.
    I’ve been hit.
    I’ve been threatened.
    I’ve been called a poofter, a fag, gay, a misogynist.
    I’ve been told it’s hateful to women.
    I’ve had feminists, who have also done all of the above, patiently explain how my male privilege prevented my aunt from NOT doing what she did.

    It was quite legal at the time because a woman did it.

    1. Yvonda J says:

      I’m so sorry for your pain I believe you.

    2. alex says:

      You know it was legal for men to rape women as well.. You obviously don’t know what feminism is about either. It doesn’t matter what gender, age, or racial background. No one deserves that sort of shit

      1. gwallan says:

        “You know it was legal for men to rape women as well”

        Incorrect. Furthermore, given that you don’t have any idea where I live, you are in no position to assert anything about prevailing laws in my part of the world. The shortcoming lay in the use of physiologically specific language which made it impossible to even charge a female perpetrator let alone convict. I would add that when my state government moved to fix that situation it was feminist politicians and community groups who tried to prevent it.

        ” You obviously don’t know what feminism is about either.”

        I’m merely reporting some things said to me by self proclaimed feminists among others. What I may or may not know about feminism is irrelevant. I didn’t attach the label to them. They did that themselves.

        1. Darknut says:

          “Incorrect. Furthermore, given that you don’t have any idea where I live, you are in no position to assert anything about prevailing laws in my part of the world. ”

          Yes we’re very ignorant about the laws in BULLSHIT LAND. Here in reality there was no legal recourse at all on any books for raping your wife until the 30s in the US and the 40s in Britain. Those laws were not enforced until the 70s in the US so I’m not sure what your attempt to change the subject and sound pedantic is trying to accomplish.

          “The shortcoming lay in the use of physiologically specific language which made it impossible to even charge a female perpetrator let alone convict. I would add that when my state government moved to fix that situation it was feminist politicians and community groups who tried to prevent it.”

          Except the state you live in is Denial. Which “feminist politicians and community groups” exactly? I call bullshit on your vague and slippery accusations. It’s been called.

    3. LMD18 says:

      All of those things you were told – and they are horrible and should never have been said to you – are a result of the patriarchy, though. Men telling men that they must always want sex, calling them “gay” if they don’t, asking why they didn’t fight back against a girl…victim shaming. These things are said to female victims for the same reasons. Dismantling patriarchy helps women AND men.

      1. gwallan says:

        It must be really convenient to have a universal scapegoat to blame for everything. Interestingly when my state moved – late nineties – to rectify shortcomings in our laws which previously allowed women to rape little boys with impunity there was opposition from some quarters. That opposition came from folk well known for alluding to that same universal scapegoat. Are you, perhaps, related to them in some way?

        1. LMD18 says:

          It must be really convenient for you to have a universal scapegoat like feminism to blame for everything. Interesting that when the FBI moved to change the definition of rape, it was feminist groups who fought for it and testified in Congressional panels, while MRA groups sat on their hands, doing nothing but sitting at their computers complaining about that same universal scapegoat of yours, while the MRA group leaders collected donations they admitted would never be used to build DV shelters for men, or to help counsel men who have been raped, but, rather, would be used to line their own pockets. Are you, perhaps, related to them in some way?

          1. gwallan says:

            Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

        2. Darknut says:

          No laws “allowed women to rape little boys with immunity.” And feminists didn’t “oppose laws protecting male victims.” I always hear these dumb accusations from Misogynist Rights Advocates, but never any specifics. A tiny amount of research and their bullshit anti-feminist claims fall apart.

          1. gwallan says:

            “A tiny amount of research and their bullshit anti-feminist claims fall apart.”

            Cool. Show us.

            I’m a long term board member with the local rape crisis service in a role representing victims and the broader community. There is absolutely no chance that I would give YOU the slightest hint as to where I live because you couldn’t possibly be trusted with that information. I have no doubt that you would happily cause trouble for both myself and the organisation of which I’m a part.

            Whilst we are waiting upon your evidence some light reading for the sensible folk. Given that hyperlinks don’t seem to be allowed I can only provide article titles…

            “Activists join chorus against gender neutral rape laws” – The Times of India, Mar 7, 2013

            “Women’s groups: Cancel law charging women with rape!” – The Jerusalem Post, Feb 24, 2010

            So what was that you were saying about feminists?

      2. Kepora says:

        …I have nothing to say other then you’re a downright, disgusting bigot, piggybacking off of this man’s suffering to try and further your own personal agenda. It’s people like you that make so many people utterly -DESPISE- third-wave “Feminism”. You’re a disgusting, ugly-hearted individual.

        if, some day, you come to your senses and apologize to this man – then I will retract my words and offer my own apology. Until that day, though, you now know how I – and countless others – feel about you and your ilk.

    4. PooLover says:


    5. Silke says:

      As a feminist, I’m sorry that some who call themselves feminists – but obviously aren’t – didn’t believe you. I believe you and I believe injustices towards men are as bad as injustices towards women, and that includes rape.

      1. Kepora says:

        Please, DON’T call yourself a feminist. Feminism isn’t about women’s rights anymore; it’s been hijacked by cruel, heartless people who either want personal glory or who’ve been suckered by these individuals. Be a humanist – someone who cares about people regardless of gender, race, creed, etc.

        1. Blossom says:

          Just because you don’t believe in feminism/haven’t been treated fairly/have a chip on your shoulder does not mean there are no good feminists. I am a feminist. My husband is one. Most of my friends are one and we firmly believe that feminism is about EQUALITY, not just women’s rights, it’s about both genders being treated as equal. People like me are still a majority, we are still strong and we still fight against injustice. If you have ran into some a*holes calling themselves feminists, please, please don’t start hating a whole bunch of people just because of a few bad experiences. It makes you just as bad as them.

    6. Blossom says:

      I am terribly sorry for what has happened to you. Rape should not be taken lightly because a woman does it. I hope you grow stronger every day and I know how much it hurts. My heart goes out to you. What happened to you is not okay and everyone who says that it is, is stupid. *HUGS*

  7. Ron Schreiber says:

    I got “Did you like it” from well intentioned friends and family

    1. PooLover says:

      Did you like it?

  8. name says:

    if a girl tries to rape you..knock her out

    1. colbey says:

      you are victim blaming. what you wrote is the same as saying, “you should have fought back” or “why didn’t you fight” or “why didn’t you leave” or…so many ridiculous, callous, and harmful things. they are all disgusting. your comment is disgusting.

    2. Colleen Gomez says:

      Shame on you for making a man feel like it was his fault because he didn’t fight her.
      No means no even if you are a man telling no to a woman

      1. Kepora says:

        Not to mention that, in the VAST majority of cases, the woman would win that case in court because of the public perception of abuse and the likes. Could easily been raped, AND punished (or even jailed, depending on age) for trying to fend off an aggressor, simply because their female.

    3. Stacy says:

      No means no regardless of gender. Most boys are taught not to hit girls so they won’t fight back anyway. Then they are doing something wrong. This victim blaming breaks my heart.

    4. zendaddy621 says:

      You apparently don’t understand that not all men are hulking behemoths just as not all women are dainty, fragile little flowers. Also many boys are taught growing up that you don’t hit girls no matter what; I continued to believe that myself until I suffered a crippling injury because of an angry drunken bitch in her POS car…

    5. Katie Holmgren Hanson says:

      U will never understand the confusion and shock people u trust hurting u telling u its good.

      Mine said want me to pull ur panties down n shove this in u? I will if tell and I’ll have to kill ur mom and dad.

      I told anyway guess what my parents said? Don’t go over there anymore. That was it. I was 8. It was my best friends dad. Should I have punched him?

  9. Me says:

    “Told you it would feel good”.

    That’s what it was said to me when I was 7.

    1. colbey says:

      i’m sorry. what a horrible thing to have heard, after a horrifying experience.

      just so you know / just so you hear it again — you did NOTHING wrong. what happened to you was WRONG.

  10. Teddy Schneider says:

    they left out the one that said welcome to the democratic party

    1. Johnny 5 says:

      This had nothing to do with politics, but if you are going there, the republicans have a stronger track record of this kind of behavior. Behind every “family values” conservative hides a deviant.

      1. Kepora says:

        Very well-put, good sir.

    2. juanjo54 says:

      We all owe Teddy Schneider a vote of thanks for demonstrating the common tactic of the internet troll who is obsessed with a particular subject and thus changes or at lease attempts to change the subject of any post to the subject he is obsessed with, in this case Teddy is obsessed with political parties. He just does this to compensate for his small sized genitalia and his chronic body odor, both of which cause him great mental anguish. This is why he sits in his parents’ basement posting this nonsense on the internet.

  11. frances says:

    Along with the victim blaming, which women experience far more than our share of after being raped, there is a truly dangerous assumption that men and boys always want sex no matter what the circumstances are. One of the most dangerously unrealistic roles society imposes on males is the idea of having as much sex as possible, and another even more dangerous one is having one’s masculinity questioned upon being outed as a rape victim. It’s a horrible crime, and no matter what the victim’s gender is, or the perpetrator’s for that matter, it’s dehumanizing and humiliating. Too often, rape victims blame themselves and others contribute to their pain by blaming them while giving the perpetrators a pass.

  12. PooLover says:

    Where do I sign up for the rape?

  13. Kathy Jobcreator Thomas-Massey says:

    I believe you.

  14. kissyface says:

    it is really brave to speak out. no one should be sexually assaulted

  15. Dan Patterson says:

    I sure hope there is very hot place in hell for all victim blamers.

  16. Karin says:

    ADMIN you may want to contact the ad company. “69 Best sex tips” is a highly inappropriate and insensitive ad for this post.

  17. NBA says:


    Sustain the good work and generating the crowd!