Aishah on Outing CSA

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

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

Description: Black Femme woman with short dark curly hair. She is wearing a denim colored tank top, hanging round earrings and a neckless that says “No.” She is sitting in front of a white concrete wall speaking to audience/camera. 

—Transcription of video—

My name is Aishah Shahidah Simmons.

I’m a documentary filmmaker and a an AfroLez®femcentric cultural worker.

I am 47 years old.

I am black.

I am woman and a proud femme.

My pronouns are she and her.

My sexual orientation is dyke, lesbian, queer.

I live on the East Coast.

I’m a Vipassana meditator.

…and I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse and adult rape.  

 

–Join the movement!–

Support Pure Love— An honest, vulnerable and intimate talk show about creating sustainable relationships with our children, normalizing the sex talks and shifting the culture of sexual abuse.

 

#OutingCSA #HEAL2End #Survivor

 

10 ways you can support The HEAL Project

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The HEAL Project— is a project that aims to prevent and end CSA by making visible the hidden tools used to guilt, shame, coerce and inflict violence onto children. The primary strategies are: Building community, critical analysis, social media campaign, mobilization and education.

Will you support?

Here are 10 things you can do to support the work 

1. Repost Facebook page posts–

2. Subscribe to The HEAL blog and encourage others to do so (main page of website and to the right)

3. Be a guest blogger or pass on info about guest blogging to someone you know

4. Encourage parents/caregivers/guardians to take the parent poll

5. Repost information about our  social media campaigns

6. If you or anyone is an out survivor of CSA, consider submitting an OutingCSA video

7. Consider submitting a Sex(Ed) is video about your connection to sex ed

8. If you are a caregiver parent, guardian, grandparent, aunt/uncle, foster parent, etc consider submitting to the Toolkit

9. Support our new online talk show Pure Love by reposting, sending in your questions and hosting one of
our episodes on your site for a month

10. If you or anyone you know is Baltimore based, spread the word about or join” The Fall of The Secret Keepers”– a group of survivors of CSA, gathering for support, breaking bread and art healing.

Contact us 

#AnalTaughtMe: What Masturbation Means to Me as a Survivor of Sexual Abuse

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Welcome guest blogger Vita Eya Cleveland!

Vita Eya Cleveland is a phenomimal woman! She is a poet, a composer and musician. She is the founder of TWOC Poetry, a brand/YouTube channel she created to increase proper media representation and knowledge for marginalized groups, focusing primarily on experiences as a trans woman of color. Her series, “Tea (T)ime,” touches on subjects from racism to respectability politics, and everything between and outside.


Vita E’s talents have taken her across the country in a very short span of time, performing at Campus Pride in North Carolina, competing as a finalist in “Capturing Fire Queer Poetry Slam” in DC, and doing work with Black Lives Matter in the Midwest. She has recently formed a duo with J Mase III, known as #BlackTransMagick. When she is not performing, she spends a great deal of her time as the Social Media/Communications Coordinator for awQward Talent Agency, the first agency of its kind to specifically uplift the work of trans and queer artists of color.

 

Vita is one of The HEAL Project’s Advisory Board and created the opening music for the upcoming Heal Project’s Pure Love online talk show set to debut March 15, 2017.

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TW:  Sexual abuse/Sexual assault

You ever find the weirdest revelations in places that likely wouldn’t make sense? This is definitely one of them. For the record, this won’t necessarily be safe for work, and if you’re a family member reading this, I love you, and you’ve been warned.

 

I’ve been masturbating since I was about 11. By then I had already had some version of “the talk” with my mother, which was capped off with the threat of beating me within an inch of my life if I ever got anyone pregnant. So needless to say, until about 8th grade, I hadn’t learned much else about sex I was definitely not allowed to have. When I finally learned what masturbating was, I was literally the personification of, “if you shake it more than twice, you’re playing with yourself.” For a while, I never stopped shaking it.

 

I’d get myself off around 2-3 times a day, and it only left me wanting more. But as a young person, and even as an adult, there was one activity I could never manage to make work: I have never, and I mean never, been 110% comfortable with receiving anal sex, from anyone, or from myself. The part that bothers me the most about it, and the part that tells me the most about how I’ve managed to heal from prior abuse (or more accurately haven’t), is the realization that even when I’m alone, the idea of being inside myself always terrifies me before it pleases me.

 

There are a few reasons for this.

 

When I was a teenager, I came out to my loved ones as bisexual, and for some strange reason, the topic of me masturbating would involve itself in the conversations I had with others. People would ask me questions about if I did, how I did it, blah blah blah. When I answered the questions, the most grossed out faces would meet mine and I would hide in my own closet of shame –  I’d almost never have fulfilling orgasms. Fast forward a couple years to the more unfortunate reasons, and I’m being molested by a classmate and gangraped by an ex partner in the same year. I never tell anyone – why would I? Back then, I was a “man,” and men don’t get raped, right?

 

A few years of repress, repress, repress, quite a bit of drinking, a lil’ bit of therapy, and a few heteronormative relationships later, and I’ve had no one push my buttons. Now I exist as a Trans Woman with an overwhelming desire to feel a partner love me in one of the most vulnerable ways I could imagine, with way too much baggage to allow it to happen. I want to feel that softness, that full relinquishing of my guard, falling into the safety and pleasure of my lover. I get close sometimes, and with the right partner in bed with me, I’ve even managed to like it. It usually took a massive panic attack and a lot of crying, which only a couple of lovers would entertain. The rest would mostly be as repulsed as the people who asked me about it when I was a kid, or impatient enough with what it took to make my dream real and stillit hasn’t really happened.

 

I figured my answer was simple. I’d do it myself! I’d make this an investment in my ability to love ALL of my body, so I could eventually share that part of myself with someone on a regular basis. So I bought toys, bought the special lube that makes it easier, bought a dildo that I realize in retrospect was waaaaaaay too ambitious, lit the candles, played the music, and had a go at it! Except, it’d never go anywhere…..until recently.

 

The right glass piece, the right music, and a night of patience gave way to tears. Inch after inch, a dream came true, and I came so hard on my own, I literally cried. As my body shook, I felt myself being forgiven, for all the times I wasn’t strong enough to stop the pain caused to me by others. As I screamed, I felt tears of thanks from the flow of the night, and the full feeling of wholeness inside my body. I remembered what it meant to breathe through the motion of loving myself, slowly with intention, no pressure or shame, no more hating how long it takes, but embracing the victory of an orgasm that feels like therapy.

 

I told myself that night, that I would always take note of how understanding and self compassion played a role in what I could easily call one of the most important pieces of my sexual liberation. When I share my body with a partner, I know to expect no less than the love I gave myself that night, or any of the other nights I’ve gotten up the courage to love myself in this way.

 

I still have a ways to go before I can share that part of me with someone I have feelings for, but I guess that’s the whole point of this. Remembering that I have time -and that my body is mine to please before it is anyone else’s- gave me something back that was stolen from me long before I could love it, long before I could love me. In a lot of ways I still don’t, but in this way, I’m learning, slowly and steadily, inch by inch, tear by tear, smile by smile. I am learning, and I am healing, and I’m doing it by myself, at least for now. 😉

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Thank you Vita for your words, bravery and for your existence.

If you are interested in being a guest blogger, check out our guidelines here

Amber the Activist on Outing CSA

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—CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: child sexual abuse, survivor, rape— 

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

Description: Genderfluid woman of color, with locs pulled up in a high loose bun, wearing a light blue button down long sleeve shirt, yellow vest, blue and dark grey stripped tie, sitting in front of grey curtains and wood panel wall, speaking to audience/camera.

—Transcription of video—

My name is Amber Amour and I’m also known as Amber the activist.
I am a sexual educator and the CEO and founder of Creating Consent Culture.
I am 27 years old.
I was born in Ohio but I am a citizen of the world, I’ve lived all over.
I am a queer woman of color…genderfluid.
And, I am fluid in three languages. I’m not too bad in ASL and five or six other languages. I can’t wait to perfect them all.
And, I play the ukulele.
I’ve been to 20 or 30 countries around the world. I love to travel.
Um…what else.
I’m a feminist. And an artist, a painter.
And, I’m a huge lover. I’m a healer.
And I was raped, I’ve been raped, maybe ten times by different people.
And I’m also a survivor of child sexual abuse and domestic violence.
The last time I was raped was less than a year ago. And, I was in South Africa educating the public about consent. And was suddenly, violently attacked by a man there. And I did not let him take power over me longer than the experience lasted. Because as soon as it was over, I shared my story on instagram to the 20,000 followers I had at the time and my story went viral.
And, I am not afraid. I don’t regret anything I did, even though I faced victim-blaming from thousands of people around the world.
I am stronger because I told my story.

#OutingCSA #HEAL2End #Survivor

–Join the movement!–

Support Pure Love— An honest, vulnerable and intimate talk show about creating sustainable relationships with our children, normalizing the sex talks and shifting the culture of sexual abuse (coming end of February 2017)

Sex (Ed) is: Episode 4

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Check out our latest edition of Sex (Ed) Is…see who is answering the questions – “When did you learn about sex?” Subscribe to our website to get updates on The HEAL Project. www.heal2end.com

[Content Warning- sexuality, sexual violence, child sexual abuse]


Ignacio –

(description) Black/Brown/Red tattooed genderqueer person wearing glasses, off-the shoulder wine colored knitted top and long silver neckless. Sitting in front of a brown and silver lamp, grey curtains and wood panel wall, speaking to audience/camera.

When I learned about sex, umm, I actually didn’t learn about sex. I think the kind of sexual misinformation that I got was through my sexual abuse as a child around the ages above 7, 8, 9. SO I didn’t have any kind of concrete real information about sex or sexuality or any of it. This came later on in life when I was, um, through trial and error, experimentation, doing a lot of wrong things, and then educating myself later on, because it was necessary for my survival and my mental health.

 

Maisha-

 (description) Black femme woman with up-do-wrapped locs, wearing a silver heart neckless, multi-colored top and long earnings. Sitting in front of a brown and silver lamp, grey curtains and wood panel wall, speaking to audience/camera.

When I learned about sex, it was actually kind of hard to pinpoint. Um, I do remember my mother giving me a book to read that had different people’s different body parts, and different thing around sexuality and your period and things like that. I think it was called “What is Happening to Me.” But other than that, my first experience was with my incest abuser and perpetrator.

 

Mia-

(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. 

Um, I can’t pinpoint the first time, the first exact time, I learned about sex. I think for a lot of my childhood I was very disassociated from things because of so much trauma, so it’s hard to even remember what were some of the first times. I know that my friends introduced me to like ideas and concepts around sex. And that was like, you know, they would show me things or tell me things but I never remember being as present really, to like take it in like that. It just seemed like something that they were talking about, it didn’t seem like, I don’t remember connecting like “that is sex and sex is this thing.” Yeah, so, and then you know all the, like people would be talking about “good touch, bad touch”, people would be talking about “safe sex” things, but I don’t remember it really sinking in. Yeah.

 

Lady D-

(description) Black woman with long wine-colord nails, salt and pepper locs, wearing a sleeveless blue/grey/white top with yellow trimming. Wearing a silver ring, silver bracelets, one silver neckless and one black neckless sitting in front of a brown and silver lamp, grey curtains and wood panel wall, speaking to audience/camera.

I learned about sex when I was probably around 9 or 10. Um, there is a large difference between myself and my sisters. My mom was about 50 years old when I was about 10, so she pretty much did the “don’t be kissing on boy or you’ll get pregnant.” That’s the way she introduced that with my brothers and sisters. But she spoke about it with me at length and that helped me to understand what I had gone through my sexual abuse at age 5.

–Join the movement!–

Support Pure Love— An honest, vulnerable and intimate talk show about creating sustainable relationships with our children, normalizing the sex talks and shifting the culture of sexual abuse (coming end of February 2017)

Lady D 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: Black woman with long wine-colord nails, salt and pepper locs, wearing a sleeveless blue/grey/white top with yellow trimming. Wearing a silver ring, silver bracelets, one silver neckless and one black neckless sitting in front of a brown and silver lamp, grey curtains and wood panel wall, speaking to audience/camera.

—Transcription of video—

My name is Debra Lady D Harrison.

I am 63 years of age.

I’m a hypnotherapist.

I also am a lifestyle Domina. I’ve been in a the BDSM lifestyle for almost 30 years.

I’m African American.

Um, I am genderfluid.

And my sexual orientation is sexual. Because if I say anything else it will bring too many things. Sexual is what it is.

I’m originally from New York and I live in Atlanta now.

I’m a grandmother. I’m a mother.

I have hobbies. I enjoy plants. Love flowers.

When I was 5 years old, I was sexually molested by my godmother’s brother. And, I didn’t tell anyone about it until I was probably about 10 or 11. I’m grateful that they believed me. Um, I say when I hear other people’s stories that I don’t think mine was that traumatic. However, sexual abuse is always traumatic no matter how slight it may seem.

But the blessing is, I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.

 

#OutingCSA #HEAL2End #Survivor

–Join the movement!–

Support Pure Love— An honest, vulnerable and intimate talk show about creating sustainable relationships with our children, normalizing the sex talks and shifting the culture of sexual abuse (coming end of February 2017)

Pure Love: a mother-daughter online talk show about…

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From the creator of The HEAL Project comes a ground-breaking, heartfelt and witty online talk show,  Pure Love. Pure Love  high

Pure Love Logo blacklights the voices of Ignacio Rivera, a Black Boricua Taíno, transgender, healer, artist, activist, mother and self-identified magical Unicorn. Along with their daughter, Amanda Rivera, toddler-whisperer, assistant teacher, diva, bruja and self identified mermaid. Together,they keep it real.

The duo tackle difficult conversations candidly and with humor— critical issues such as sex and sexuality, transformative parenting, homelessness and poverty, sobriety, mental illness, and polyamory—all from a first-person, survivor-centered, anti-racist, and feminist perspective. This rare portrait offers viewers a glimpse into 26 years (and counting) of queer and sex positive parenting. It offers practical ideas for how to have conversations with your children (and your parents!) about sex(uality).

Pure Love will be taped live and will air on different media hosts each month beginning in February 2017, as well as on Youtube and the Pure Love website.

If you have questions, want to suggest a topic or give some feedback, check out our new website here

If you would like to host Pure Love on your site for a month, please contact us here

 

Alexis 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: Black woman with short curly hair, wearing a black and white stripped shirt, large silver hoop earrings, black framed glasses and a Yin and Yang necklace. Sitting in front of a wood panel wall backdrop speaking to audience/camera.

—Transcription of video—

My name is Alexis

I’m an artist/activist working at the intersection of racial and gender justice

I’m 42 years old

I’m a Black cisgender woman

I’m Queer

I’m from Washington, DC

…and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

#OutingCSA #HEAL2End #Survivor

 

–Join the movement!–

 

 

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

 

Here is how you can support:
Take the Parent/Guardian Poll

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!