Domestic Violence and Rape: Dark Photograph of the Past

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This photo is the most recent in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center "Hands Project." The goal is to show the wicked face of domestic violence without actually showing the face of those who suffered.

by Scott Walker

If you saw her today, you would never know of her past that holds a brutal memory.

"He was a body builder," she told me in describing her college sweetheart. Little did she know there was a monster behind his eyes.

After a few months of dating, she noticed John's temper would easily flair. Sometimes he would jerk her around by her hair or grab her arm. Needless to say, it didn't take long for Anne Henslee to decide that she needed to end the relationship.

After the breakup and fresh out of college, she returned to her apartment one night to find that John was waiting for her. Henslee stated, "He was hiding in the bushes and jumped out of the bushes and grabbed my key's out of my hand - - he took me into my apartment and beat me up all night long... raped me."

The attack occurred in Knoxville, Tennessee where she attended college in the 1970's. Back then, such incidents were not taken as serious as they are today. Too many times the victim would be blamed by police for playing a role in the rape or domestic violence case. Therefore, Henslee never filed charges against John. However, a woman involved in a later relationship with the man did file charges after she was raped. John was eventually found guilty in that case and was sentenced to prison.

Today, Henslee shares her story with middle school and high school students in an effort to educate children before such relationships can lead to abuse or sexual assault.

This is Anne Henslee's story:

To get help in the Murfreesboro area:


Domestic Violence Hands Project:

Rutherford County, Tenn. Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center was awarded a grant from Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities (ABC) for "These Hands - Hope and Healing," a photographic journal project that showcases domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

The Tennessee Arts Commission's mission is to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities. They invest in over 600 nonprofits and schools impacting communities in many positive ways including quality of life, economic development, and tourism.

These Hands photographic project gives a confidential voice to the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through their hands and their story. With domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, it is so often the hands that inflict the most hurt, violence, and trauma. We are conveying strength, hope, and recovery through our photographic story.

"The harrowing, real-life stories of domestic violence and sexual assault can be difficult to share with our community because the protection of these people is critical, to say the least," said Kara Mischke, Community Relations Manager with Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center. "This photographic journal project is truly going to allow others to connect with these real stories on a whole new level. Art is powerful. Art is healing."

Participating survivor's stories and hands will be unveiled in partnership with the talented photographer, blogger, and radio personality, Scott Walker - Our story is that hands are for so much more that is positive and good. Hands are for healing, helping, loving, holding, and most of all caring and empowering those around us to make our world a better place.

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Anne Henslee, domestic violence, hands, Murfreesboro
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