Home > About Us > History

History of Pandora's Project


In 1999, Shannon, a rape survivor herself, founded a website called Welcome to Barbados for rape and sexual abuse victims. At age 19, she and her story were featured on ABC’s 20/20. Anticipating that survivors needing help would visit her website, she started a small message board where survivors could support each other. Her vision has developed exponentially since then.

The first online support community for sexual assault victims of its kind, Pandora’s Aquarium has also grown to become the largest. It is staffed by more than 50 survivors, all of whom are unpaid volunteers. The organization’s website receives more than 30,000 unique visitors and 5 million hits a month, serving thousands of people daily.  What started as one woman’s way of helping sexual violence victims connect has become a cost-effective organization with the potential to reach countless individuals.

In 2007, a Board of Directors was formed and Pandora's Aquarium incorporated as a nonprofit organization, receiving 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the IRS in 2008. Because of a mission to expand and reach rape and sexual abuse survivors online and offline, the organization changed its name to Pandora's Project in 2009. The associated message board and chat room continues to be known as Pandora's Aquarium. To learn about this name, and the role songwriter Tori Amos played in inspiring this organization, click here.

 

Healing takes courage - and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.
- Tori Amos