PTSP: Post Traumatic Super Powers

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Welcome guest blogger and one of The HEAL Project’s Advisory Board Members, Hyunhee Shin

Hyunhee is a queer survivor of child sexual abuse, family violence, and sexual assault. As a person with psychiatric disabilities and the child of working class, Korean immigrant parents in rural Pennsylvania, Hyunhee brings to this work her personal experiences of violence in the context of intersecting issues of race, class, immigration, gender, sexual identity, and disability.


TW/CW: child sexual, physical, emotional Abuse/ PTSD


When I started learning about child sexual abuse four years ago, I was working at a feminist foundation fresh out of college. I didn’t realize I was a survivor of CSA at the time, but I did hold onto other childhood traumas — physical and emotional abuse from my father, the pain of growing up poor immigrants in rural Pennsylvania, navigating mental illness.


I didn’t know at first, but as I delved deeper into the subject matter, I was being triggered just by doing my job. I knew I was a survivor of abuse and that I identified on a deep level with the survivors I was reading about. It wasn’t until half a year in, my memory as a child of being sexually assaulted by a group of neighborhood teens surfaced and I realized that what happened to me was child sexual abuse.


One of the fascinating things I learned about the brain is that one of the ways it protects you from trauma is to hide those memories away. That sometimes, despite your brain’s best efforts to keep them concealed, a steady hammer of triggers can break the walls down and reveal your past trauma to your conscious mind for the first time.


Reeling from this repositioning of memory in this new context, I waded through the mud and haze of PTSD in the months that followed. I navigated coming out as a survivor to my employer while struggling to focus on a project that had me immersed in readings and research looking for practical tips on preventing CSA. My supervisor was warm and supportive and patient. I couldn’t have asked for a better support while working full time on an issue area I didn’t realize would trigger me.


I went back to therapy and worked hard to get a baseline handle on my wellness. I sought support from a tiny handful of friends I trusted — it felt too soon to talk about the abuse in more than a whisper to many others. Once I felt confident that I wouldn’t stomp all over professional boundaries, I slowly started reaching out to survivors I knew in the field. Learning with them and diving deep into the ways trauma impacted my life was incredibly transformative.


In the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about trauma and how it affects my life. There were the obvious things, like classic PTSD symptoms — avoidance, hyperarousal, anger, guilt, insomnia. There were the ways in which my PTSD made best friends with my bipolar disorder and sought to pull the rug out from under me whenever possible. There were the myriad distortions I believed about myself and how I related to other people that I could now trace back to childhood trauma. One of the many things I’m grateful for is the realization that I was not an inherently shitty, mean, and unfeeling person.


Trauma threw my heart in a thick glass box and gave me a toothpick to chisel it out. It’s not that I lacked empathy because I was some sort of sociopath. I just had a harder time accessing those feelings largely because of what happened to me. Once I cracked the code of my emotional inner life, I started working hard to chisel out of the glass trauma box. I explored vulnerability with my therapist and tried connecting with emotions beyond rage and despair. I started dismantling bolt by bolt the iron fortress around me that I deluded myself into thinking protected me. I stopped seeing myself as an island, an independent person who could help and support others with their needs, but never needed help myself. I started to understand that acknowledging that I needed help and reaching out for support from loved ones isn’t a sign of weakness, but is a source of strength.


Over time and with the help of survivors in solidarity and loved ones, I developed my emotional intelligence and empathy. In holding space for myself, I learned how to hold space for others who were navigating similar journeys. I tapped into those particular feelings in my body and heart that helped me build trust and hold space with other survivors. I realized how powerful deep empathy can be in helping ourselves and each other heal. I took stock of all the times someone has said to me that they felt safe and deeply understood when we talked, or when complete strangers have opened up to me, or anytime someone shares something with me they’ve never shared with anyone else. It’s a power I’m learning to tap into and harness to help pay my healing forward.


Survivors of child sexual abuse are forced to bear the burden of violent experiences early in life. Post traumatic stress is well documented and researched. How might we build power together if we spent just as much time understanding post traumatic growth? And not in a way that undermines or diminishes the pain we suffer in the aftermath of violence. Just in a way that also uplifts those survival strategies that become great gifts. Survivors have a remarkable ability to take the pain that we’ve been forced to hold and forge it into an inner light that heals ourselves and those around us.


When I think of my favorite fictional characters, like Harry Potter or Avatar Korra, they were all kids who harnessed great power from the pain and violence they suffered. Our superhero origin stories stem from a root trauma. They grapple with the relationship they have with their power and the origin of it. These stories sound not so different from ours. We are the heroes we’ve been waiting for.


What’s your post traumatic super power?


Thanks so much Hyunhee for your bravery and superpowers!

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


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Sex (ED) IS: Episode 6

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Check out our latest edition of Sex (Ed) Is where people respond to the prompt, “The Impact of Sex Ed…”

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

Find more videos at:



Description: Mid/late twenties, Femme POC trans person wearing a button-down long sleeve blue and burgundy floral shirt. He has a thin hoop septum and nose ring/piercing. He also has a small stud lip piercing. He has a beard and mustache and tied-up wavey hair up-top and is shaved on the sides. Wearing dark rimmed glasses, he is sitting in front of grey curtains and wood panel wall, speaking to audience/camera.


The impact of my sex education, or really lack thereof because I didn’t have any. It furthered my curiosity but it also meant that I was doing things that were, could have been dangerous to my health or somebody else’s health. And really putting, and not just my physical health, but my emotional and psychological health, and the same for the people that I was interacting with. It meant that I had to find all the answers on my own and sometimes, that meant asking people who weren’t safe people to be asking. And it meant that I really had an incomplete picture of where my body and my gender and myself and my sexuality actually fit in my tiny world but also in the world out at large. It also meant that when people who shouldn’t be accepting consent from me chose to I wasn’t even in a position to understand why that could have been a problem.



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.


The impact of learning about sex ed has been really powerful, was powerful. Before I had sex ed in school, I knew about, I knew what heterosexual sex was. I knew about what sexual intercourse was, I knew about penises and vaginas, I knew about menstruation, fallopian tubes, I knew all of that. So I remember like by the time I think we were taught health which was in high school, which was crazy, I was already well aware. What I didn’t know was about queer sexuality and so that was I think, kind of very detrimental, because I am queer. So but in terms of heterosexual sex ed, I knew, I was very informed and I think that, I felt empowered knowing that. But when I started struggling and coming out, struggling with coming out and understanding my sexuality to not be heterosexual, I didn’t have any information.


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How ending childhood sexual abuse is a cornerstone to Black liberation

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Welcome guest blogger and one of The HEAL Project’s Advisory Board Members, Hari Ziyad 

Hari Ziyad is a New York based storyteller and the editor-in-chief of RaceBaitR, deputy editor of Black Youth Project, assistant editor of Vinyl Poetry & Prose, and writer for AFROPUNK. You can follow them on Twitter @hariziyad.


TW/CW: Child Sexual Abuse, Survivor, Racism

As a writer who constantly deals with the question of Black liberation in my work, I’m often asked, “What does a free future for Black people look like?” I never quite know how to answer. Any response would posit to be the solution to a problem over 400 years old, and any answer less than a book’s length couldn’t possibly address all of the complexities that have festered in the bloody cracks of those broken centuries.


I usually reframe it as a question of what liberation would feel like, and somehow words are able to come to me a little more quickly then. Perhaps it’s that I am so used to my eyes playing tricks on me–claiming there is so much color in a world that feels more Black and white (violence) by the day–that I trust them much less than the rest of my body. My body has always seemed to know when things weren’t right, even when I hadn’t the sense or maturity to listen.


The way I think about the sexual violence that happened to me as a child has had many iterations over time. When I was younger, I convinced myself that my body was wrong, and that what had happened to me wasn’t that big of a deal. At the time, I thought I was only convincing myself that I was misreading the way my body collapsed into its center at every sight of him, or the way my memory began to fog the nights in question over until the details suffocated underneath the clouds. I was creating a new truth–it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.


But I think now I was also convincing myself that I was misreading how my body gave itself to him. I was telling myself that my erection, probably one of the first I’d ever had, asked for what the rest of me soon after received. And that was what I meant by “It wasn’t as bad as it seemed.” If I were old enough to want it, at the cusp of my first decade, I was old enough to get it.


The thing about bodies is that they won’t let you stick with a lie for too long. They will slowly unravel, and I eventually came undone. My body both craved unsolicited touch from strangers and would react with extreme violence to the same, with no understanding of the line separating the two responses. The longer I stuck with the story that my body was malfunctioning, the more and more violent error messages it gave to me and the rest of the world also lying to it about what it experienced as Black, nonbinary, and queer, too.


My harm-doer is dead now, and, after lots of work, so are many of the things keeping me from listening to my body today. With him, however, I lost something that I still cannot see or name, much like that free future people keep asking me about. A free past, maybe. But I did not lose this feeling, of being forever altered before I even had an original self to be. Of knowing something was mine before the world that sold my ancestors into slavery took it from me. Again.


I think Black liberation feels like that thing lost–like having a self, an innocence that is undamaged. Of not always being wrong before you even open your mouth. Of not always being criminalized before the crime. Of not always having your body turn into a cage, or a cage surrounding your body. Of having pathways to redress. Of mattering.


It feels like the joys of childhood, before that is taken away from you. And it starts with children, Black children, the world having not yet been able to completely take them from themselves, even though it has always already began hunting them. This is why I center Black children and ending childhood sexual violence in everything that I do. If we could protect this thing I cannot name, but that Black children feel–unbridled Black joys and rages and everything that comes with being fully alive–then perhaps we will finally see what that future might look like.


Thank you Hari for your time, energy and forethought.

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


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Digging for Truth

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Welcome guest blogger J’aime Grant 

Dr. Jaime M. Grant, author of Great Sex: Mapping Your Desire, is a sex coach, researcher and writer who has been active in LGBTQ, women’s and racial justice movements since the late 80s.

Recently, she has served as principal investigator for the National LGTQ Task Force’s ground-breaking reports on aging, Outing Age 2010 and transgender discrimination, Injustice at Every Turn (2011). A recent Huffington Post editorial on college policy and rape on campus, “Sexual Assault on Campus:  College Policies Support Rape Cultures,” appeared in May 2015.  Her forthcoming anthology, Friendship as Social Justice Activism (University of Chicago Press), is co-edited with Rohit Dasgupta, Niharika Banerjee, and Debanuj DasGupta.

A feminist, sex activist and a clean and sober mother of two, Jaime lives and practices in Washington, DC.


TW/CW: sexual assault, addiction, depression, emotional and physical abuse

I am not a survivor of child sexual abuse.  No one in my family ever touched me inappropriately.  No one used me to gratify themselves sexually – not even once.  However, and unfortunately, I am a survivor of sexual assault. In my journey to heal from the trauma, I found myself in a treatment setting for addiction, food issues or depression.  All of the helping professionals – from the therapists to the psychiatrists to the medical doctors – all of them suggested that I dig deeper into my history of sexual violence


I spent a good part of my twenties and thirties in weekly therapy trying to address the outcomes of emotional and physical abuse as a child.  My compulsions had compulsions.  When I wasn’t drinking, I was bulimic.  When I didn’t have my head in a toilet, I was getting high.  When I was out of drugs, I dosed myself with sugar.  Then I’d throw up.  I did rehab and got sober at 29; I had great therapists for a decade and I often found myself searching for something to help me understand all that had happened to me.


Being among the loving and generous people involved in The HEAL  Project has helped me understand that I already know my story, and that the daily conditions of my childhood combined with white supremacy and sexism colluded to make me extremely vulnerable to sexual predators in my youth and adult life.  It’s clear to me now that a major risk factor in my abuse was a sexist framework of my ‘worth’ as a white woman and a failure to provide me with any resources or tools toward sexual self-determination.


Mostly, my childhood was filled with silences and horrible caveats about sex.  My mother often told me that she would ‘snap my spine’ if I had sex outside of monogamous marriage.  And that sex ‘was not all that it what was cracked up to be.’  The only other ‘education’ I received was a confusing book that explained pollination in great detail but explained human reproduction in only the vaguest of terms.  There was nothing in the book about pleasure, about playfulness, about intimacy or connection – about the incredible gift our sexuality presents to us.


Alongside this lack of education and violent messages around abstinence, there were what I think of as amplified messages about me personally, about my body, my worth as a white girl, and coaching about how to act to be ‘appropriate’.  Everyone in my family told me that I was the ‘beauty.’  I had long blonde hair that drew white cis boys and men to me in droves.  People touched my hair all the time.  Strangers congratulated my parents on my attractiveness, older men were full of comments that my family received as ‘compliments’.  The only problem was: I was too loud and too ambitious.  My mother told me that if she had looked like me as a young girl, she never would have spoken a word, and that I should ‘just sit there’ and let all the treasures of blonde and blue-eyed femininity come to me.  My weight was another major drawback.  If only I’d lose some, and have more self-control, then I’d have it all.  My brother’s nickname for me in 6th grade was Thunder Thighs.  When I was in 7th grade, I went on Weight Watchers and the whole family would wait for me to come out of the meeting and tell them how much weight I’d lost.  Everyone would cheer.  Finally, I was on a winning team!  I lost 25 pounds that summer, but gained it all back in short order when the internal chaos of being ‘hot’, 14, and resisting sexism didn’t evaporate with the weight.  My only relief from yo-yo dieting would come my freshman year of college, when in a support group around food addictions, I discovered bulimia.


What The HEAL Project has taught me is this:  our families don’t need to intend to harm us to do harm.  My brother didn’t have sex with me, but he did tell me that I should forgive my college boyfriend for sexually assaulting me, because he had done similar things to girls during college, and it was just a part of growing up.  When my mother met this ex — randomly, on campus as I moved in for my sophomore year – I was clearly shaken and she said:  I think I could forgive him for just about anything.  Certainly, in observing my mother’s life with my father, I had learned that it was a woman’s job to forgive and move on.  That in fact, this was the glue that held any family together.


I’ve had suspicions that my mom was a survivor.  She grew up an only child with two alcoholic parents and a half dozen doting, alcoholic aunts and uncles.  She had a lot of attention and love, and from the little bits of her story that have either been leaked or momentarily exposed — two raging, difficult parents.  She definitely had no education about sex, about anything other than moving from being a good virginal daughter to a happy productive wife and mother.  One story that has been told with great hilarity about my mother is that in her early 20s, she asked her parents if she could move into the city with a girlfriend to be closer to her job as a legal secretary.  Her father didn’t speak to her for three solid weeks, and that was that.  She lived with her parents until she married my father at 26.  One night, on a break from college, my father told me (after a six pack) that my generation had the right idea about sex because the women in his generation were told: ‘sex is dirty, sex is awful, sex is something you should never do.’  And then when they got married, it was supposed to be this wonderful culmination of their path as good, chaste women.  He said:  For a lot of women, it was a terrible shock.


That terrible shock was a crater of grief and depression that undergirded my entire childhood.  It led my mother to repeat the mistakes of her parent’s generation – out of fear and out of love for me.  I never went on a single sleepover as a child.  I thought my mother was being horribly mean.  Now I can see that she was trying to protect me by keeping me in her sights.  This is another ‘clue’ I have around sexual violence in her story.  My entire life with my mother, she never apologized for anything, but on her deathbed, she sincerely apologized for telling me to forgive my college perpetrator.  I only wish she were here now, so that I could hold her and tell her that I understand, that we were both casualties to a construction of ‘normative’ womanhood that set us up for sexual violence throughout our lives.


Today, the process of digging deeper into my story has had many rewards — both personally and in the larger work for sexual liberation.  I’m a long-time pro-sex organizer and coach.  I’ve created a tool for sexual liberation, Desire Mapping, that I present via workshops all over the world — many CSA survivors discover or come to better understand their abuse histories in these workshops.  I’ve written a funny and (I hope) deeply engaging sex book.  I am in a vibrant and ongoing talk about sex with my two children – my white 18- year-old queer son, and my mixed-race 9-year-old bi-identified daughter.  Everyday acts of sexual education and liberation fuel my recovery.  Being on The HEAL Project advisory board has been a big part of that healing.  It has put me in the company of brave fellow travelers who are also digging at their sex stories and, in doing so, learning new and more powerful ways to share them as a force for ending sexual violence.


Thank you for your words and work J’aime!

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

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—

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.  


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#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.


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. 😉


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—

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

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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.

[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.



 (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.



(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.

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Lady D on Outing CSA

Spread the Word

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

—(Go to 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

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