The sensationalization of violence in popular media has perpetually narrowed our understanding of violence and the ways in which individuals are affected by it. We consume astonishing statistics, sound bites of voices in fury, images of bodies mangling other bodies, or  blasting weapons - all of which may incite emotion but tell incomplete and sometimes too easily deceiving stories. 

The manifestations of structural and symbolic violence are often overlooked in our definition of violence, as is their functional relationship to the physical violence of homicide, rape, domestic violence, and other forms of assault that are visually and auditorily present in popular and news media. The way interpersonal relationships and one’s personal development are affected by poverty, educational neglect, cultural repression, imposed sexual and gender identities, and other abstract forms of violence are seldomly narratives we imagine when we think of violence.  

The concrete stories about more complex forms of violence and their relationships to more sensationalized forms of violence are not given a platform for development and exchange in popular media. The neglect in validating the authentic voices of those who are deeply and substantially affected by violence, result in a superficial understanding of both the cause and effects of violence and depict violence as an inevitable occurrence, often overlooking many of its influential and accountable agents. Such an incomplete depiction of violence also misses the revealing notion that many perpetrators of violence have also been subjects of violence, that there are complex cycles of violence that affect the lives of real people. Violence itself is dangerously misunderstood.

InkRise is a response to the need for the development of and the creation of spaces for the original and authentic voices of survivors of violence. These are the voices that will most authentically, and with the most agency, expose the overlooked occurrences of, and effects of violence through personal narrative writing. InkRise creates a platform for survivors of violence to develop and address the questions that would:

1. Explore the nature of violence in its diverse manifestations,
2. Deconstruct how violence creates distortions in our perception of ourselves, our community members, and society,
3. Expose the ways in which surviving violence shapes the way we make sense of our past, our present choices, and the choices that others around us make.

This is all done through the practice of close reading, brave writing, and purpose driven revision. The development of these personal narratives are windows for readers being affected by violence to also engage in the questions being brought up by participant authors, inciting new perspectives on violence which would lead to a new or enriched sense of agency among readers. The workshop also potentially increases readership within educationally neglected communities and pushes toward a diversity in the literary canon, while accomplishing its goal of examining violence.