I was searching the web when I came across an extremely powerful blog. It was an art project created to expose the tragedy of sexual abuse, and what began as a photography experiment has turned into an avenue of healing, support and community for other victims . . . or, more appropriately, other survivors.

The idea behind the project was that the person who had been abused would hold a sign (either covering his or her face, or exposing it) with words on the sign that had been said by the perpetrator during the abuse. By writing those very words and holding them on the sign, with the abuse survivor standing tall and strong, it would be a way to take those very destructive words and prove that they did not destroy.

Standing behind those words today is one who is no longer afraid, no longer being quietedThis project is so powerful and heart­wrenching, as you read these words of manipulation, control, abuse and evil. And yet, standing behind those words today is one who is no longer afraid, no longer being quieted, and who is finally able to tell the world that this is what happened, in an attempt to make sure it never happens again.

Just a week ago we read in the synagogue the Torah portion called Parshat Zachor, the portion of remembrance. It is always read on the Shabbat before the holiday of Purim, the greatest day of joy and celebration in the Jewish calendar. The entire month of Adar, in which Purim falls, we are told to be marbim besimchah, to increase in our joy. So then, why, on the very Shabbat preceding Purim, would we want to read about those who seek to destroy us? How can we be happy, be joyous, when we are focused on something so negative?

But that is the point.

In order to experience true joy, we must be willing to look at the evil that was part of our past. In order to move forward in a healthy way, we must acknowledge, understand and remember.

There is a lot of pain in our collective history. For many of us, there is a lot of pain in our individual histories as well. But no matter how deeply we bury it, how much we would like to pretend it didn’t happen, that will not make it go away. What happened will never disappear, but we are capable of moving away from it. But only when we face it long enough to tell it that it no longer has a hold over us, and that we are ready to move forward. Like a great quote I read, “Running away from any problem only increases the distance from the solution . . .”

What happened will never disappear, but we are capable of moving away from itOn Purim we celebrate more than any time of year. But we celebrate only after we have remembered the pain that our enemy, Amalek, has caused us. We remember Amalek, not to dwell on what they did, but to consciously acknowledge how far we have come, and how, despite their attempts, they did not succeed. We survived, we thrived and we won.

Regarding the photography project, I am so proud of all those men and women who were strong enough and courageous enough to remember and transform the most painful words they ever heard into a statement of their victory. May we all be blessed to take the pain in our pasts and, rather than bury it, use it as a stepping stone for all the great things in our present and future that we can accomplish.

For only once we remember can we truly move forward and celebrate.