Painful experience turned into healing opportunity

SJCC alumna to promote sexual assault awareness on stage.

Janis Hillard, Guest Writer

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From ages 7 to 16, I was raped by a relative. It wasn’t until he moved on with his life and stopped tormenting me that I was able to move on with mine. And by “moving on” I mean burying the pain and pretending as if it had never happened.

Two thousand and five was a big year for me. Not only did I start an academic journey but a personal one as well. Three months before walking on SJCC’s campus, I confronted the man who had fundamentally changed my life, the man who raped me.

The day I confronted him to make him aware I was no longer willing to deny or pretend it ever happened was the day I truly started to live again. Ten years of abuse makes you feel as if you’ve been living in a fog, when that fog is lifted everything seems more clear and bright.

The road to recovery and self-acceptance was not an easy one. It was laden with a host of scary memories that I couldn’t control and depreciating verbiage I heaped upon myself because I thought it was well deserved. It wasn’t, of course. It was never my fault and it took me years to fully understand that.

I’ve always wanted to help those who may still be suffering in silence from the aftermath of sexual violence. It’s important that they know they are not alone and is never their fault. Hence, my creation called Edipus Concert.

Edipus is a concert that I am bringing to the Bay Area in the spirit of sexual violence awareness and compassion. The goal is to have men only perform at this concert because in my opinion there isn’t enough male support with this subject and if we want to eradicate rape we need both sexes to fight.

With public support, Edipus will be a success.

It’s been years since I walked onto SJCC’s campus feeling clear and fog-free. My dream now – through Edipus – is that every survivor of rape and sexual violence who are still suffering in silence will someday breathe the fresh air of peace.


With publics support, Hillard is planning on opening Edipus in the summer of 2017.


Janis Hillard is a former SJCC student. She transferred to East Bay where she earned her BA in Psychology.