Our Stories Matter was created to unite assault survivors and spread awareness.

Victims of sexual and domestic abuse deserve to be heard and should be supported after experiencing traumatic events. Society certainly has shown us that shaming women and stating their claims as false is a reality. A sad reality that has to stop. And many children, both boys and girls, experience the turmoil of abuse and either are afraid to speak up or are so ashamed they keep it to themselves. We as humans need to help and support each other and this project is a step toward sharing that message. You are not alone and you matter.

Having our voices heard not only initiates healing but enables people to understand what others go through. There is a deep concern for the lack of empathy in the world today. There is no better time than now to come together and rise above the ignorance. As a united front, we can defeat the immoral behavior and backward thinking we see too much of.

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All of our stories matter. And they deserve to be heard. WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED.

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This project will result in a free digital PDF journal full of stories from women around the world. You will be able to download and view the journal on your own time. There will also be an option to get access to bonus resources and helpful material.

We are currently accepting submissions for the project and we would be honored to have you join us on this journey. Please contact Melissa to learn more and if you are interested in sharing your story. Support materials and guidance will be included for all who take part, as well as get access to a private Facebook group to connect with other survivors that are part of the project.


If you have any questions regarding the project, please contact Melissa below. If you are an expert in the field or a professional that can offer helpful materials, reach out below. We would love to include your support in our project.

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Assault survivor Melissa O’Connor-Arena felt a calling to help change how people view this issue, as well as give victims the platform to speak up and share their story. She teamed up with a licensed psychotherapist, Christine Gutierrez, to provide a safe place for people to come forward, open up, and let go of the secrets that have held them hostage, for too long. 



Born in Brooklyn and raised in Jersey, Melissa carries a BFA in Graphic Design and is a self-employed designer in New York. She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs and does her best to practice the most natural, organic life she can as a proud vegetarian and eco-conscious artist.

Having experienced assault a few times at a young age, she wanted to help other victims with their healing and show them they are not alone. Even when you move on, you never forget. And sadly, there will always be reminders as you go along your journey. Victims aren’t just traumatized, they carry these scars along with them for life. Talking and sharing your story is not only helpful in healing, but can inspire others to do the same and offer guidance to those who desperately need it. This project is close to her heart and believes it will truly make a difference in peoples lives. You can read her story here and learn more about Melissa at graystardesign.com.

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Christine is a leading Latina licensed psychotherapist with a Masters in Human Behavior and Development from City College of New York, focusing on prevention and community. In addition, she is an advice columnist, speaker, author, and poet. She has been featured in many media outlets and also co-authored a book, The Care of Wounded Wings: A Guide to Soar Through Life’s Tough Times. Known for breaking stigmas, Christine is taking therapy to the next level, fusing ancient wisdom with modern psychology. Her approach is real, honest, and gets to the heart of the matter in a straight up, fierce, raw, and loving voice.

She is also a survivor of mental, emotional, and physical abuse and has chosen to help others with the same experiences. She spreads hope and positivity toward healing in all her work and is making a difference one person at a time. Christine lives in New York with her dog Bodhi. You can learn more about her journey and services at christineg.tv.


© 2018 Our Stories Matter

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