This weekend I read an article in Bitch magazine about Project Unbreakable. Last fall, then 19-year-old Grace Brown began photographing survivors of sexual assault holding posters with quotes from their attackers (or, in some cases, the police or others they told about the attack). It’s a powerful art project that highlights the emotional manipulation (“I love you,” or “If you tell your mom she’ll hate you for causing us to break up”) that often accompanies rape and sexual abuse. Collectively they illustrate many of the justifications perpetrators give. The quotes chosen by the survivors also make clear that the demands to keep the incident secret and the efforts of abusers to justify their behavior are as much a part of the attack as the physical element.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.