Taylor Rippy Monson and Taylor Jarman are fed-up with the silence around sexual assault, and their organization Honey is working to change it one story at a time. Their site explains that, “Honey is an organization dedicated to stopping the silence on the subject of sexual assault. We seek to change the public attitude through victim advocacy, education, media campaigns, community activism and truth telling.”
The ladies are hosting a launch event on August 28th at Studio Elvn as a part of Salt Lake City’s Gallery Stroll, and I was fortunate enough to interview them to get some details on how it all started, plans for the future, and what to expect at Studio Elvn.
What’s the story behind Honey?
We’ve been friends for years, and a while back had briefly disclosed to one another that we were survivors of assault. It wasn’t until earlier this year that things really started to come to the surface, for both of us. There’s something about hearing the experience, the heartache, the despair, confusion, shame, come out of the mouth of somebody that you love. I think we heard one another and thought, “We can’t do nothing. We’re not the only ones.”
We created Honey so that survivors and their loved ones could recognize that there is a safe place for them to be heard, loved, believed and supported. To be believed and received with love and open arms means everything, especially in a society rampant with victim-blaming. We’re not clinical professionals (though we hope to expand our team to include therapists and trauma responders in the future), but we know how much courage it takes to just say something. If we can be the website, the email address, the Skype account, the phone number somebody reaches to just say it out loud—to ask for help, to share their story—we’re happy.
We support and encourage survivors of sexual violence to share their stories in whatever medium they choose, with the goal of shedding light on a dark and disregarded reality that pervades societies worldwide. There is something about learning of an individual’s personal and unique experience—whether being able to relate to them, or just recognizing that it’s happened to this individual, and that they’re one of millions of survivors of assault. That should be enough to get anyone fired up. Seeing a face with those words (the way we’ve set it up on our site) has a way of humanizing survivors of such a horrific and prevalent crime. Audre Lorde hit it on the head when she said that “We’ve been taught that silence will save us, but it won’t.” We’re all about making noise.
What’s your vision for Honey in the future? Do you see any community partnerships on the horizon?
Absolutely! We hope to develop community partnerships and have several in the works right now. Salt Lake and the surrounding areas are such a powerful community—we’ve been blown away by how much love and support we’ve received locally. And many of our followers are outside of the state, even outside of the US, so we hope to develop partnerships in all different regions. We’re dreaming big!
Tell me about the upcoming event with gallery stroll.
On August 28th, we’re holding a launch event for Honey at Studio Elevn in downtown Salt Lake City from 6:00-10:00 pm. It will be a powerful evening, bringing more local awareness to the pervasiveness of sexual assault worldwide and sharing more about Honey’s future endeavors. We’ll also be launching a crowdfunding campaign, holding a silent auction, and premiering a video that we’ve been working on with some amazing humans at Ori Media. We seriously can’t wait.