Note: This is the first post in a new blog series by DASH called ‘Domestic Violence Matters’, which discusses current events and media coverage of domestic and sexual violence. We believe that empowering, provocative, and original media and storytelling must play a critical role in helping to overcome domestic violence in our society.
A new campaign, #SurvivorLoveLetter, displays love letters to survivors of sexual assault. The campaign was originally organized as an exercise of healing for survivors, it has spread quickly and widened in scope. Now, family members, friends and even strangers are contributing their love letters to show their support of survivors of sexual violence. In her recent Huffington Post piece, Tani Ikeda, the organizer of the campaign, described it as the start of movement, “Survivor Love Letter enables us to talk about what survivorship really looks like. Through this growing collection of love letters, maybe we can build strategies for the ways we heal ourselves and our communities. I hope sharing our real stories makes other people feel that there is no one right way to heal.”
“I hope sharing our real stories makes other people feel that there is no one right way to heal.” – Tani Ikeda
We love this campaign. The dialogue surrounding sexual and domestic violence is too often clouded by judgement and fear or controlled by outsiders. This campaign not only magnifies the voices of actual survivors, it also sends a message of hope, love and healing. Using Tumblr as the platform for the campaign allows survivors to speak out on their terms, preserving safety and anonymity. They get to control the narrative – with no journalists or marketing professionals inserting their own, however well intentioned, agendas.
Sexual assault is immensely sad, as well as mind numbing, infuriating and sickening. But there is hope for healing, healing that can only happen on the terms of the survivors.
Below some letters that spoke to us – but there are hundreds more at http://survivorloveletter.tumblr.com.
DASH is an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms.