The Work: In the Trump Regime

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relationship-claustrophobiaFeeling stuck

My work to help end child sexual abuse (CSA) came to a screeching halt Tuesday November 8, 2016. It was the day a racist, white-supremacist, sexual predator, immigrant hating, people-with-disability bashing, LGBTQ hater and all around problematic human, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of these United States of America. What has helped me begin to move forward, engage with folks and jump back on the important work I’ve dedicated myself to is community support and collective healing. What has transpired has been amazing. Love has shot across the world wide web, phone lines and cellular devices, to hold me/us. We are supporting each other, as we do when tragedy strikes.

To witness the unfolding of the election was a shock. Simultaneously, it wasn’t. The people of the United States of America have shown their true colors and idiocy. This “win” was “payback” for Obama winning the presidency. Remember the videos of white-shock and fear after Obama won? We are there, tenfold! This is a political/societal “putting us in our place.” Basically, there was no way a woman was gonna win after a Black man took office for two terms and boy did they show us!!!! As a trans person of color who is a survivor, I’m overwhelmed by the overt hatred spewed by our next President. It’s been an absolute struggle to get out of bed since the election. How can I move forward when THIS, on top of everything else, is happening? We are witnessing major struggles in several movements– Black Lives Matters, Say Her Name, Standing Rock, immigration rights, Trans rights and (insert marginalized groups of people fighting for2016-10-15t14-15-19-5z-1280x720-nbcnews-ux-1080-600 their rights here). Why would CSA eradication be relevant when so many are struggling to survive and scrambling to figure out what will happen next with this new regime?

 

Triggered!

My inability to move forward has been in part due to extreme triggering. As a survivor of CSA and rape, I’m deeply disturbed by Trump’s response to sexual assault allegations and society’s acceptance of that behavior. It feels like the many people who’ve worked tirelessly to end violence against women, slut shaming, rape culture, victim blaming and violence against children were violated as bystanders watched and in some cases, approved of these violations, with their vote.

 

Are we on our own?

After this initial post-election shock, will we all dig deep into our own work, lose connections to our collective struggle and fall to pieces in the reactivity to survive this? There is a collective trauma felt ‘round the world and everyone is on edge. In addition to so many struggles happening in this country, this election casted a shadow on them, us and the future of our work.How do we focus on the work that has fuelled our spirits to struggle for a better tomorrow? How do we continue to talk, organize and make change around issues that affect the most marginalized of us in the midst of this atrocity?

 

What’s CSA got to do with it?

Doing the work to address and ultimately end CSA is a struggle to say the least. CSA is typecast as an issue affecting children and their families or as an invisibility to current movements. As an adult survivor of CSA, the threat isn’t  accepted as imminent. My pain is, at times, viewed as an event that happened long ago. An incident, however horrible, which I’ve had ample time to get over or heal from. Even 42millionwhen people accept that long term effects of CSA–like PTSD, anxiety, drug abuse, insomnia, depression and stress– it’s deemed a private matter. Thus and yet again, the issue of CSA is not associated with our struggles or movements. CSA prevention, organizing and advocacy is experienced in a narrow political framework. It is that thinking, that added to my reluctance to post news,  an Outing CSA or Sex (Ed) is video to The HEAL Project website. I’ve been dwelling on the ”What’s CSA got to do with our current movement struggles?”

 

All about Trump?

This stuck feeling is also due to the fear of refocusing. Now that Trump will enter office, will “the work” be about him? Will all our energies go to fighting Trump; taking our focus off of these struggles? What happens so often, especially with CSA, is the fight to end violence that we know will span generations gets discarded or put on the backburner when a more urgent catastrophe happens. Many are organizing on how to deal with the regime to come and how to stop it. The real work of preparing for this inevitability is daunting but it is not what should consume us. This is not the time to go to our respective corners and work by ourselves. We need to keep the momentum going in our movements as well as coordinate our efforts to keep Trump from destroying the progress we’ve worked so hard to attain. We don’t’ have to drop what we are doing to focus on Trump. We have to continue our work while simultaneously joining together.

 

Collective work

If you think that reproductive justice, economic justice, racial justice, children/youth rights, criminal justice /juvenile justice System, LGBTQI and Anti-violence movement are not connected to CSA, think again! CSA and generational traumas live in our cells and inform how we move in the world. The residual scars effects our LGBTQI relationships, how violence manifest in our relationship, and our understanding of children/youth rights and criminal justice /juvenile justice system. If we can not make these connections in our current work it becomes hard to create holistic sustainable solutions to the issues we are fighting against.

It has been written about and learned time and time again our movement work is incomplete if we do not make the needed connconnect-to-other-movementsections and alliances. Ask yourself how is CSA connected to reproductive, environmental, and health justice? Has your work taken into full account CSA and its lingering effects on your coalition partners? Is CSA silenced or ignored in your work and if so who does that serve?

As many oppressed people and movements struggle to clarify why their fight is relevant against the Trump backdrop, consider that this, more than ever, is the time to connect our hearts and our work. All of our work is relevant. All of our work is connected– if only by this declaration, “An oppression to one is an oppression to all.” My work to address and end CSA will continue. The importance of the work will not be diluted by Trump. It will thicken from dashes, pinches and splashes of brewing movements. Together we are stronger. We aren’t starting a revolution. The revolution has been happening. It just got kicked up a notch.

 

Special acknowledgement to the following people for supporting me/my work, lending ideas and words when I had none, editing help and all around love in creating this blog post. I appreciate you!!
Monique Meadows (jg)
Hyunhee Shin
Sheltreese McCoy
Luz Maria Marquez Benbow
Sujatha Baliga
J’aime Grant

 

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Mia on Outing CSA

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CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse, survivor 

(Go to http://heal2end.com/h2e/video/ to see this and other video(s))

Description: Korean woman with long dark hair and dark rimmed glasses, sitting in front of a white concrete wall with hanging x-mass lights above, speaking to audience/camera. 

Transcription of video–

My name is Mia

I am a writer and a community organizer

I am 35 years old

I am a Koren adoptee

My gender is queer and my pronouns are she and her

My sexuality is queer

and I live on the west coast

…and I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.

#OutingCSA #HEAL2End #Survivor

Outing CSA! Join the movement!

Repost: Accountability to Ourselves and Our Children

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img_2440-620x400

Content Notice: This article is part of the #LoveWITHAccountability forum on The Feminist Wire. The purpose of this forum and the #LoveWITHAccountability project is to prioritize child sexual abuse, healing, and justice in national dialogues and work on racial justice and gender-based violence. Several of the featured articles in this forum give an in-depth and, at times, graphic examination of rape, molestation, and other forms of sexual harm against diasporic Black children through the experiences and work of survivors and advocates. The articles also offer visions and strategies for how we can humanely move towards co-creating a world without violence. Please take care of yourself while reading.


By Ignacio Rivera
Love is overwhelming. I’m not referring to the act or ability to, but the very idea of it. It holds many meanings—interpretations. Love is subjective but love should be good—right? In that good love, how does accountability show up? What does love with accountability look like? Specifically, what does it look like in the context of survivorship? The practice of accountability has gained more attention in the last several years. We sometimes revel in the philosophy of accountability but the lived experience of what that looks likes varies. I guess you can say that love and accountability are subjective. Dually, we may have universal guidelines that aid in our interpretation of what these things mean separately and united. Aishah Shahidah Simmons, a long-time comrade and a fellow recipient of the Just Beginning Collaborative Fellowship for child sexual abuse survivors of color, asked me to contribute to her project and ponder this quandary.

Louie on Outing CSA

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Louie on Outing CSA

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse, survivor, rape 

(Go to http://heal2end.com/h2e/video/ to see this and other video(s))

{Description}: Afro-Latino Cis man, with short dark curly hair, full beard and mustache, wearing a floral tank top with white and black stripe trim. He is sitting in front of a white wall/backdrop, speaking to audience/camera. 

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse, survivor, rape

 

My name is Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca and I’m an afro-boricua artist and activist.

I’m almost turning 40 and I’m a father of a 13 year old son.

I identify as cisgender male.

My pronouns are he, him, his.

And my sexual orientation is gay, sometimes I identify as queer.

I live in DC by way of Philly.

I gotta say that because I’m Philly born and raised.

And I’m father of a 13 year old beautiful son.

…and I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse. When I was thirteen, I was sexually molested, raped, and sexually abused by a close family member. And I was afraid to tell anyone for many many years. And when I did finally tell someone, it was on a meme that I posted on facebook. And the response that I got was overwhelming. But the one response that made me cry, that made me fall apart, but allowed me to put myself back together, was when someone, a stranger, commented and said, “I believe you.”

#OutingCSA #HEAL2End #Survivor

 

Join the movement. Submit a video.

 

Repost: FIGHTING A CULTURE OF SILENCE AROUND SEXUALITY THAT BREEDS CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE: INTERVIEW WITH THE HEAL PROJECT FOUNDER IGNACIO RIVERA

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“Our society’s view on sex is important to understanding, preventing and dealing with child sexual abuse. We live in a hyper-sexual society that exposes sexual imagery but does not talk about it. Sex education in public schools has almost been erased. In the midst of this silence, we are left to form our sexuality in secret. This culture of silence and shame around sex and sexuality creates a breeding ground for child sexual abuse.”

– From The HEAL Project’s website.


Hari: Ignacio, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today and for all the work you do. Can you start by just giving a brief background on yourself and how you got involved with work around childhood sexual assault (CSA)?

Ignacio: Thank you for talking with me. Well, I’m a New Yorker currently living in Baltimore. I’m a long-time activists with roots in grassroots organizing. I’ve worked across many movements and continue to work in trans, POC and sexual liberation movements. I’m also a performer and that is where my work around CSA pretty much began.

Click Here for Full Story

Repost–Personal Healing as a Public Project: Ignacio Rivera’s Story

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ignacio-2

by Darkness to Light on
September 22, 2016

As child sexual abuse survivors begin to stand up and speak out about their own experiences, they are filling the world with their perspectives. One of those survivors, Ignacio Rivera, hopes to not only share a personal experience with abuse, but amplify the voices of others. Through The HEAL Project, Rivera is giving survivors a platform and encouraging healing. The HEAL Project aims to prevent and end CSA by making visible the hidden tools used to guilt, shame, coerce and inflict violence onto children. The project’s primary strategies are: building community, critical analysis, social media campaign, mobilization and education. We asked Rivera about The HEAL Project and about giving survivors a voice to share their story and heal themselves and others.

D2L: Tell us a little bit about The HEAL Project.
Rivera: The HEAL Project is a project I began 14 years ago. In 1999, after having done years of one-on-one therapy and group therapy, I began the process of reconstructing a poem I wrote to my perpetrator into a larger body of work. In 2002, I performed Lágrimas de Cocodrilo /Crocodile Tears— a personal account of my childhood sexual abuse and incest survivorship. I toured with the show in the U.S. and abroad for four years. I wanted the show to be more than a show. I wanted audience members to interact with me, give me feedback and participate in the newly developed HEAL Project—Hidden Encounters Altered Lives. The project’s goal was to connect people, specifically cisgender females who were sexually abused by other cisgender females. Although I currently identify as transgender, I endured my abuse as a young girl and teenager. When I was coming to terms with what had happened to me…

Click here for full story

Sex (Ed) is Episode 3

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[Content Warning- sexuality, sexual violence]

Sex (ED) Is Episode is ready! Thank you to our participants who openly shared with The HEAL Project,  their thoughts and fears about sex eduction with their children–

(Go to http://heal2end.com/h2e/video/ to see this and other video(s))

Markie–

So as a parent, I will continue to practice comprehensive sex education with my child. I have already been doing that, in a way that’s incremental and appropriate for my child’s age.

When my child has questions, I answer them in a way that’s educational as well as positive, and I take any questions that my child has.

My biggest fear is that my child might ask something that might feel it’s beyond the age that my child is and then struggling to make decisions about how to talk about things that might not be something that my child’s ready to hear.

The other fear I have is that my child will go to school in a place where they might not be as accepting of comprehensive sex education and then of course want to share the knowledge that they’ve learned and then that might make teachers and other people uncomfortable.

And so my fear is how will we address that. One thing I have done already is told his teachers about what I do for a living. And so just making them aware that, hey, this is a child that’s going to be talking about sex most likely, and in a way that might be different than how other people talk about it.

Louie–

As a parent, I will just try to continue to be courageous and have conversations about sex ed with my son.

When he was five he asked me where babies come from and I was so polarized, I didn’t know what to say. And then he followed up and said, “does doctor put it in her?”, and I said “if she’s lucky”. Cuz I had to make it a joke and then I sent him out the room.

But now that he’s thirteen, I plan on continuing to be more courageous in that conversation, because he was courageous enough to ask me.

Chiara–

As a parent, I have talked to my twin daughters about their bodies, boundaries, and sexuality since they were very young.

And they are now 16 years old and we had discussions about sex, about consent, about what feels good about what doesn’t, about what they’re scare of.

And as a survivor of sexual assault as a child, I remember when I was seventeen and I held them for the first time that, the first thought I had when I held them was that I was terrified that they were gonna go through what I had gone through, and I was gonna do whatever was in my power to prevent that.

And I think the whole experience of being a mother to them has been to realize that I can’t, you know, protect completely, and that the only thing I can do is to have an open conversation with them, and also that if they do experience sexual assault or violation that it’s not the end of their life.

And I think when they were born and when they were small children it felt that way. It felt that if it happened to them, you know, I didn’t know how I was gonna go on or, hmm, yeah.

And I think that’s been the learning curve and the learning process. And what’s been amazing is just to see that, you know, we do have an open conversation about it and that they are joyous and comfortable in their bodies and love to talk to me about, you know, making out, and how happy they are and how good it feels.

So that’s been really great.

Watch.Share.Join. – join us in lifting up Comprehensive Sex Education as a strategy against child sexual abuse. Submit a video TODAY! 

Kai on Outing CSA

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Kai on Outing CSA

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse, survivor 

(Go to http://heal2end.com/h2e/video/ to see this and other video(s))

Black trans man, brown skinned, with a dark Cesar haircut, wearing a black t-shirt, sitting in front of a white wall/backdrop, speaking to audience/camera.

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse, survivor

Hello, my name is Kai.

I’m a business intelligence software engineer.

I am 42 years old.

I am black.

I am a transgender man.

My pronouns are he, him, and his.

I identify as panexual.

…and I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.

#OutingCSA #HEAL2End #Survivor

 

Join the movement. Submit a video.

OUTING CSA

 

 

Danielle On Outing CSA

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CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse, survivor

(Go to http://heal2end.com/h2e/video/ to see this and other video(s))

Black woman with short dark hair, sitting on square-patterned sofa, wearing long ankh symbol earnings, silver necklace, pink sweatshirt and a red hanging lament around her neck, talking  into the camera/to audience

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse, survivor

My name is Danielle Gilmore

I am a program coordinator by profession but a student of life— forever

I am 32 year old

I’m Black

My gender pronouns are her, she and hers

I am bisexual

I currently live in the South but I am from the Midwest

I pray

I meditate

I ride a bike pretty regularly

I run a tad bit

and I am also a survivor of child sexual abuse

#OutingCSA #HEAL2End #Survivor

Join the movement. Submit a video

OUTING CSA

Sex (Ed) is Episode 2

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Click here to see this and other video(s)

Content/Trigger Warning: Sex, Sexuality 

Sex (ED) Is Episode is ready! Thank you to our participants who openly answer the question–

“What is COMPREHENSIVE sex education?’
Ruth: Caucasian with glasses, a black shirt and necklace on. 
Comprehensive sexuality education, for me, is learning about yes’s and learning about no’s. It’s learning about a full range of what’s out there and what’s possible for humans in a way that isn’t judgemental but let’s us decide who we want to be.

And that includes, of course, not engaging in any sexual activity or partners, if we don’t want to. Because that’s one of the options that’s out there as well. It’s about understanding our bodies
and recognizing that nothing about sex, or about STI’s, or about not having sex, or not having STI’s is a punishment or getting what you deserve or not getting what you deserve. But rather it’s a lifelong process. It’s a part of who we are. It’s part of the interactions we have with people.

And it removes a great deal of stigma and it kind of let’s us be, and decide who we are and let that change all the time.

Brooke: African American with natural hair, read lipstick and a nose ring. 
Comprehensive sex ed is compassionate. It’s facts. It’s open. It’s fluid. It is an ongoing conversation. It is inquisitive. I don’t think we should assume that kids don’t know and aren’t capable of having complex conversations around the issues of life. They’re much wiser and intuitive than we give them credit for.

Chiara: Caucasian, with pink hair, a black baseball hat and large hoop earrings.
Comprehensive sex ed is learning about sex, not just as a physical experience but as an emotional and spiritual experience. And learning about sex as a whole host of behaviors that happens within oneself and with other people; with a center on pleasure and on sex feeling good physically, mentally, spiritually.

Video Created by CARE Strategies

Watch.Share.Join. – join us in lifting up Comprehensive Sex Education as a strategy against child sexual abuse. Submit a video TODAY!