SPOTLIGHT: Unsilenced - Voices of Survivors

The Survivor Zine launch brought communities together with an inspiring evening of music and arts.

Words and images: Libby Smith, @myfavouritedays

Representing Freestyle last weekend, I ventured to the PRSC to capture the beautiful event, “Unsilenced: Voices of Survivors” run by The Survivor Zine UK.

Throughout the evening, it was hard not to feel every emotion possible, as I watched people come together to reclaim themselves after sexual violence, or stand by those who were victims of SA. The raw strength and sense of community in the room was overwhelming, showing that events like Unsilenced are vital for those who need a safe space to express things such as trauma.

The night included an exhibition from various artists, singers, poets, comedians and even a burlesque performance; showing the true inclusively of the night and how welcoming it was. I hope that my gallery encapsulates how incredible the event was, and how such an upsetting subject had been reclaimed in multiple amazing ways.

Spoken word by zine contributors.

Survivor artwork displayed in PRSC gallery.

Spoken word by zine contributors.

Sanctioned, a short film by Dominique Murphy – de Neef.

Freestyle Bristol  Contributor Lauren Louisha was kind enough to tell us about her journey with The Survivor Zine:

“During lockdown, everything was awful for everyone, and social media use was on a high, so I ended up coming across a ‘poet, artist, and photographer’ call-out to be featured in a zine for survivors. I never share my poetry let alone share what I’ve been through, but I felt this pull and applied to be involved.

Holly got back to me with all the details, and I couldn’t for the life of me write anything without getting low. I told Holly this and apologized for taking so long about it and, of course, she was comforting, sweet, and supportive – I think this helped me understand that it was ok to be scared, to be vulnerable, but that the zine was a safe place.

One day without any thoughts I woke up, sat at my desk, and something just came over me – I ended up writing about my deepest trauma and it only took me a few minutes. I genuinely felt a release after it, the shame I had been carrying for years lifted a bit and I felt lighter. Seeing it published along with so many other strong people is incredibly humbling. The zine has allowed me to delve into something I thought I was going to ignore forever; it’s healing.

Art is the perfect way to turn pain into power, and everyone involved understands that – it really is a beautiful community that Holly has built. When I saw her call-out post for someone to come on board and help out, I immediately messaged her. I haven’t felt that excited about something in ages, I just wanted to do what I could and do it to the best of my ability.

Lauren and Holly introduce the zine.

Stand-up comedy by theatre maker, artist, and writer Raina Greifer.

Music by Lady Rae and Olivia Rose.

Burlesque performance by Antonia Purdie.


If you or someone you know needs help or support, here are a few resources you can check out:

Sarsas – adults and young people 13+

Kinergy – for all genders, in the South West

Survivors UK – for male and male-identifying survivors

Survivor Pathway – local resources across the South West



Check out The Survivor Zine UK for more information, and keep up to date via their Instagram.

Find out more about Raina Greifer, Antonia Purdie, Lady Rae, and Olivia Rose.