As you know, ‘breaking the silence’ means someone has spoken or created a noise to sound through a patch of silence. Normally it’s said in context of a conversation pausing for a few moments, minutes, and then someone speaks.
To me, breaking the silence is a simple phrase, but the more I thought about it, the more violent it sounded.
Breaking… snapping… cracking…smashing…
Bored, I Googled the origins of this phrase. I learned this phrase is widely used as organisation and campaign names. It’s one of my favourite phrases, and I have seen it printed on many occasions, but little did I know the full impact and use of these three words. Here are a few of the results I found. Some strong messages…
BREAKING THE SILENCE
A Guatemalan organisation which promotes social, political and economic justice. Find them on Twitter here.
A UNICEF campaign against child abuse.
A programme created by the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association for enhancing the relationship between doctors and their deaf/hard of hearing patients.
A controversial political group.
A website which encourages learning about the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
A website with lesson plans for teachers trying to help kids understand mental illness. These guys are also on Facebook, if you want to know more.
A film called ‘Lima: Breaking The Silence', a drama based on the true story of Peruvian rebels who in kidnapped hundreds of high-ranking diplomats and government officials in an attempt to force the release of 400 political prisoners.
A sexual abuse support group for male Asians living in Yorkshire (supported by Comic Relief).
There are also several books with this title (mainly about suppressed personalities, hidden sexual preferences, sexual abuse or 'taboo' illnesses).
It’s a prolific phrase – one I hadn’t considered the full impact and emotion of before. This simple phrase has been hijacked by evil causes, and been made more important by its use by causes good. Terrorist group aside, 'breaking the silence' has give words and a voice to those who have previously kept their stories of struggle and abuse hidden.
What a powerful phrase.
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Born To be A Tourist