Childhood sexual abuse is all around us, but most coverage of the issue looks past the fact that the majority of survivors don’t tell.  One out of every ten people in the US will become a survivor of sexual violence before they reach eighteen. But just 10% of those survivors – one in sixty – ever disclose to parents or the criminal justice system.

As a result, the headlines about politician Dennis Hastert and retired football coach Jerry Sandusky, and even powerful movies like Spotlight, miss the most prevalent story in childhood sexual abuse: The survivors’ long, agonizing and mostly silent struggles to go public, and how that often leaves abusers unchecked.

Silent Evidence breaks through that barrier with a story focused on the ramifications of sexual violence, as they are lived by one woman and the people closest to her, over the course of a 28-year journey to go public.

Silent Evidence is on a quest to understand the silence surrounding child sexual abuse.

What’s at risk in speaking out? What’s at risk in staying silent?

According to the Center for Disease Control, “sexual violence against children erodes the strong foundation that children require for leading healthy and productive lives” and survivors face “a broad range of mental and physical health problems, ranging from depression and unwanted pregnancy to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases.”

How do we break that silence?  

Silent Evidence attempts a more holistic approach to that question. It’s not as simple as saying, ‘this shouldn’t happen.’ It’s not just the fault of perpetrator. There’s a role for the survivor, the adults in the survivor’s life, the media, and the public institutions she moves through. Intimate audio recordings of the process bring the listener inside the story and drive the discussion.

Subscribe to The Heart podcast to hear the first four episodes. Then follow the story to Reveal for the final episode. 

Thank You 

Silent Evidence is supported in part by a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation - Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.

Kate Ryan, Sam Malone, Yeshe Parks, Bill Watson, Rebekah Miel, nuri nusrat, Sharon Mashihi, Alana Rose, Beth Russet, Mitra Kaboli, Emily Posner, David Deal, Jones Franzel, Leah Stern, Martyna Starosta, Ashley Cortez, Laura Hadden, Shannon Nacey, Sabra Jafarzadeh, Matt Raibert, Ida Benedetto, lolo haha, Pejk Malinovski, RJ Maccani, sujatha baliga, Karol Ilagan, Iva Radivojevic, Jonny Farrow, Marty Lucas, Henry Harris, Rachel Stevens, Ross Petchesky, Kelly Spivey, Christian Pardo Herrera, Swoon, Alex Mallis, Harriett, Murray, Nancy Woodhull. 


Tennessee Watson is an award-winning artist, independent journalist and educator. She uses sound, story and popular education to draw solutions from lived experience. You can hear her on The Heart, America Abroad Media, LatinoUSA and Reveal. She co-produces Wage/Working with Laura Hadden, an interactive oral history project about how we value work. She’s taught documentary arts and facilitated community media projects at The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, The Latin American Youth Center in DC and The Educational Video Center in NYC. She has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from CUNY Hunter College. Tennessee Watson is transient, but calls Vermont home.

Kaitlin Prest is an audio artist working in radio, performance, and installation and the host of Radiotopia's The Heart Podcast. She works creatively directing independent podcast projects and does public speaking and private consulting about storytelling with sound. Her documentary work was awarded the Hearsay Festival’s Overall Prize 2014, National Community Radio Award’s Outstanding Achievement in Documentary 2011 and Prix Italia Golden Award for New Radio Formats 2015. Kaitlin also has a short history in puppetry. Working with Toronto’s Quality Slippers Productions and the Bread and Puppet theatre company has imbued her with an intrigue in documentary theatre.