Story Of A Rape Survivor


Healing Together

Twenty years before #MeToo, photographer Scheherazade Tillet asked her older sister and writer, Salamishah, if she could document Salamishah’s healing from being raped, not just once, but twice in college. In turn, Salamishah opened a window onto her sites of trauma and her newfound safe spaces. While grappling with her sexuality, eating disorders, and the reclaiming of her spirituality and body, she and her sister found healing pathways for herself and others. 


Together, the Tillet sisters invited a cast of black women artists to bring those images to stage in the 90-minute performance, STORY OF A RAPE SURVIVOR (SOARS), a collective portrait of one black woman’s surviving sexual assault.  SOARS was an early trailblazer in its elevation of the voices of rape survivors of color, its education of the public about the epidemic of sexual violence, and its in-depth focus on healing and recovery in the aftermath of trauma.


SOARS has performed at over 300 schools, universities, community centers, rape crisis centers, and cultural institutes across the United States. The performance has been awarded the United Nations Gender Equality Award and the Moxie Award from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.


Hettie Barnhill
Regine Jean Charles
Patrese McClain
Ugochi Nwaogwugwu
Montana Ross


“Mirror, Mirror”

from the Story Of A Rape Survivor (SOARS) series, 1998. Scheherazade Tillet


from the Story Of A Rape Survivor (SOARS) series, 2009. Scheherazade Tillet.