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"Speak up. Speak out." Campaign Expands
TAASA hosts digital storytelling weekend
By Chris Lippincott, TAASA Public Affairs Director

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault’s award-winning "Speak up. Speak out." public awareness campaign is expanding its reach into the digital world. This fall, TAASA hosted six survivors for a weekend with the Digital Storytelling Project.

Since the early 1990s, the Center for Digital Storytelling has been integrating aspects of creative writing, oral history, and digital media manipulation to assist people with little to no prior media-making experience in creating short digital videos, or "digital stories." These digital stories are a continuation of the concept behind TAASA’s "Speak up. Speak out." campaign. The power of survivors telling their own stories is unmatched, and the longer format of the digital stories will help TAASA expand the discussion of sexual violence across Texas and across the internet.

Six survivors from across the state came to Austin to share their stories for TAASA’s training and public awareness activities. All of them had volunteered to participate in the "Speak up. Speak out." campaign.

Over the course of the weekend, the survivors crafted and recorded personal narratives, while blending still images and music. They were guided through computer tutorials which enabled them, with teacher support, to edit their own stories.

The Center for Digital Storytelling has worked with a broad spectrum of individuals and groups, ranging from artists and historians, to college and university faculty and students; from nonprofit organizations, to social activists and spiritual communities. Their work has been showcased on cable television, in higher education classrooms, at film festivals, on the web, and as part of community-based trainings, screenings, and activist events.

The core element of the Center for Digital Storytelling teaching philosophy is the popular education technique of starting from where participants are. In a story circle, the survivors delved deeply into their own stories from their assaults to their ongoing recovery.

Following an introductory presentation on the fundamentals of storytelling, the participants received a crash course PhotoShop tutorial. For the weekend, TAASA’s conference room was transformed into a high-tech computer lab. Each survivor had her own laptop to edit her story with the assistance of Center for Digital Storytelling and TAASA staff. The survivors combined background music with photographs, letter and other images to create their story.

After several hours of hard work and sweat (and a few tears), the finished products were screened for the group. The verdict: Success. Everyone was very pleased with how their stories were presented, and TAASA is excited about sharing them.

Speak Up. Speak Out.: Digital Storytelling Videos

The power of survivors telling their own stories is unmatched. The following videos were entirely written, directed and produced by seven courageous survivors and detail their stories of trauma and recovery.


These are large files and can take while to download and require a player capable of playing .mov files such as Apple Quicktime.

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