Adversity: Sexual assault victim
Advocacy: Co-founder and director of The Powerful Voices Project
“Talking about my sexual assault with others, and hearing about theirs, has allowed us to create strength out of an experience that had been deeply disempowering. Through this work, I have come further in my healing and recovery process than I ever thought possible.”
Becky Fein was 20 years old when she was raped by a hostel worker while traveling alone in Europe. The man used a key to get into her room uninvited, and as a self-protection instinct, she asked that a condom be used. The request complicated the way she processed the assault. Even though she logically knew the attack was a total violation of her personal space, she experienced a flood of self-blame. Returning to the United States, she battled depression and withdrew from her friends. To this day, she experiences anxiety and sometimes guilt.
Fortunately, two years after the assault, Becky confided in a friend and the realization that others had experienced what she had was life-changing. She researched rape crisis centers and went through training to be a crisis line counselor. She earned a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University and co-founded The Powerful Voices Project, supported by CalWellness.org. The Powerful Voices Project creates a series of short films showcasing the strength and resiliency of sexual assault survivors, offering a message to survivors that “your story matters and you are not alone.” In turn, the project has become part of Becky’s healing, surviving and thriving. “Creating a community around sexual assault survivor empowerment has helped me understand that I am not alone and that others have been through similar challenges – that others understand the impact that sexual assault can have on an individual. As a community, we will develop resilience.”