The following blog post was written by Virginia, a female inmate, for Volume Seven of the I Am Beautiful book series.

The writings throughout this book series are the original work of the brave women inmates who courageously submitted their stories and art. Our goal is to present their work in their voice.


What is a survivor?
Look around, each and every one of us are.
Some may say we are victims,
we are that too, it’s our past.
Who wants to always be known as a victim,
or would you rather be known as a survivor?
Yes we are both a victim and a survivor,
but more of a survivor every day.

As a victim we had our dignity stolen,
as a living survivor we’re taking it back.

How many of us can remember,
the day we first became a victim?
Now think hard really hard,
when was the day we became a survivor?
Some of us have been survivors,
our whole lives and kept quiet about it.
Let’s stop hiding behind our low self-worth,
and start to help and empower others.
Who knows now maybe just maybe,
our courage to speak could save 1,000’s.
Even if we can only save just one,
that one girl/guy is way better than none.
So let’s stop hiding behind “I’m the victim,”
and start standing up as “I’m the survivor.”
Today is the day,
no more victim only survivor!!

A Survival Resource – Created by and for Women

It is our hope that everyone who reads this book will be encouraged and strengthened to stand up, count themselves worthy of dignity, and see themselves as beautiful within and without.

The I Am Beautiful project represents the personal contributions of women inmates across the country who sent us their writings and art regarding their experiences of abuse.  This work is their personal writing and art.

The project encourages them to express their past experiences, their road to survival over abuse, and their opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other women in prison who have experienced indignity and violence at the hands of others, often from those who were supposed to love them.