a work in Ping Chong's Undesirable Elements series
Secret Survivors is an interview-based theater project by NYC-based theater company, Ping Chong & Company, featuring adult survivors of child sexual abuse telling their personal stories on stage.
Secret Survivors was conceived for Ping Chong & Company by survivor and activist Amita Swadhin, and is part of an ongoing series of community-specific oral history theater works known as the Undesirable Elements series. Each production is made in a specific community, with local participants. The script is based on interviews with the participants who then share their stories in the final production. Since 1992, Ping Chong & Company has created over 40 productions across the U.S. and abroad. Recent productions have explored issues of disability, Native American identity, Asian American identity, and the experiences of refugees in the U.S.
Child sexual abuse affects about 1 in 4 female-bodied people and 1 in 6 male-bodied people*. However, due to social taboos, very few survivors are able to share their stories publicly. The majority of survivors never report their abuse to state authorities, and many never tell anyone at all. Secret Survivors seeks to use direct personal narrative to show that this violence is epidemic, to represent the diverse ways this violence occurs, and grapple with the many reasons that most survivors remain silent.
Secret Survivors was presented in March 2011 at El Museo del Barrio in NYC.
Ping Chong & Company has been awarded a grant from the Ms. Foundation for Women to develop an educational DVD and toolkit to accompany the live performance of Secret Survivors, as part of a new initiative to end child sexual abuse in the United States. Grant Announcement.
You can support Secret Survivors with a tax-deductible contribution to Ping Chong & Company.
Click here to donate on-line through Justgive - you can designate your contribution for Secret Survivors
Send a check payable to Ping Chong & Company: 47 Great Jones Street, NY, NY 10012
indicate Secret Survivors in the memo
Click here to become a fan of Secret Survivors on Facebook and receive updates on this project.
Contact: Please contact Sara Zatz, sara[at]pingchong.org for more information.
“Thank you for sharing your lives. You may never know the level of inspiration and hope you give to survivors who hear your story.”
“This play and process is so valuable for healing.”
“This was so powerful-can’t thank you all enough for being so courageous-this will change lives (including mine), I’m sure!”
“I really loved this piece. I was surprised, encouraged by the multitude of perspectives. Loved the music. I feel that I understand so much more. The world feels so much more complex and whole. Really, really loved it.”
“I would encourage anyone to see this…this show debunks a lot of the myths that surround those that have been abused. I hope it reaches as many audiences as possible.”
“This is so important. The power of sharing stories cannot be underestimated. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
“I think this was my favorite piece of theater I’ve ever seen. It was certainly the one with the most power to heal and transform.”
Listen to cast member/ project coordinator Amita Swadhin talk about Secret Survivors and issues relating to child sexual abuse on KPFK Radio/Flip the Script. Click here to listen (1 hour program).
Listen to cast member Gabriella Callender's song Slow Goodbyes, featured in Secret Survivors.
Read stories of survivors who have written in to share their own experiences. See below on how to share your own experience.
"I take a great deal of pride in having survived my journey through hell and coming out the other side as a confident, capable and strong woman able to give back to the community and help others survive, too. " - Dreamer
If you would like to share your story as a survivor of child sexual abuse or be considered for a future production in the project, please fill out the Secret Survivors survey. Selected responses will be posted. You may contribute anonymously. Not all responses submitted will be used.
Send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional ResourcesCreative Interventions (CA)
Generation Five (CA)
RAINN - Rape Abuse and Incest National Network - National Sexual Assault Hotline 1.800.656.HOPE
A short film by Project Coordinator Amita Swadhin about societal perceptions of child sexual abuse
*Citation - Patrick Langan and Caroline Wolf Harlow, "Child Rape Victims, 1992," Crime Data Brief, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1994.
The National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse, "Fact Sheet on Child Sexual Abuse," Huntsville: NRCCSA, 1994.