Avon woman paints a picture of what its like surviving sexual assault

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AVON – In the wake of the sexual assault incident at Stanford, a young Avon woman is speaking out about her own experience, hoping it will help other victims suffering in silence.

Lindsay Silverman, 22, said she recently came across the letter the victim from Stanford wrote to her attacker, and she was flooded with her own terrible memories. Reading so many similarities, she was compelled to finally speak out about the horror that happened to her a year ago.

On June 13, ten days after her 21st birthday, Silverman went to West Hartford Center with her friends to celebrate. While outside waiting for an Uber, she was approached by a man who she described as young, good-looking and articulate. She said he walked her down an alleyway next to a dumpster, the next thing she knew, she woke up, lying next to it.

“One of my best friends told me that she found me. I was laying on my back, and she said what’s going on and the man ran away,” Silverman said.

For the first time, in a Facebook post, Silverman provided the scary details of how she was punched in the face and sexually assaulted.

“It was real and I was in the hospital and it was so traumatizing,” she said. “I was so sick. I was concussed. I was throwing up. I was miserable.”

For nearly a year, she couldn’t explain to people what happened, so she channeled her pain through her artwork. Each piece of art became part of a series she called, “Surviving in Stages.”

“I wanted people to see it and feel the pain that I felt looking in the mirror after that experience, I looked at myself and it was horrifying,” she said.

The artwork starts with pictures of a victim, but ends with a survivor.

“All the stages in between, they've been hard and scary and a million other things but they’re colorful and expressive and they lead me to something really beautiful and powerful in the end,” Silverman said.

A year later, she's not just using her artwork, but her voice, “The Lindsay Project,” to empower more women to do the same.

“Everything will be okay,” she said. “Life goes on and you will be stronger from it, you will heal, you just need to take some steps to healing and I think the first step is talking about it.”

Silverman wants to send the message that sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere. She never thought she would be a victim, in a place she considered to be safe. She urges you always be aware of your surroundings.

She is studying art therapy Endicott College and will be a senior in the fall.