The Challenge: 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.
HEAL (Hidden Encounters Altered Lives) 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.
Building Community—Organize and facilitate virtual and in-person convening of survivor, guardian, educators and advocate think tank. Propose workshops and participate in workshops at conferences and schools/Universities, to inject the conversation of CSA and its connectivity to broader movements.
Utilize longstanding and new connections within the LGBT, Anti-Violence, Sex positive/Liberation, Women’s Rights, Sex worker movement, Anti-rape, economic justice movements to identify out adult survivors to participate in convening’s, network with, form an advisory board and possibly participate in other segments of this project.
Blog—Create thought piece series of critical analysis that aims to highlight, question, connect movements and shift cultural norms in CSA prevention.
Social Media and Mobilization Campaign— Interview survivors, guardians, advocates, children, youth and educators and post videos.
“Outing CSA”—Documenting out adult survivors across identities to give voice to the hidden topic of CSA.
“Sex (ed) is”—Documenting the positive outcomes of sex education in helping to preventing CSA.
Theater Initiative—Create a theater program to be lead by survivors
Education— Create a parent/caregiver manual on how to use sex(uality) education as a tool to end CSA. Its aim is two-fold—train parents to pass along tools to children for self empowerment/healthy sex(uality) knowledge and move parents to create change in schools by pushing for comprehensive sex education.
Sexy Survivor Documentation— Sexy Survivor is a workshop facilitated by a team of survivors of color. This workshop has been highlighted at multiple conferences and has centered survivors voices in healing practices. The goal of the workshop is to share stories, create dialogue, and encourage intentional, proactive sex positivity for survivors of sexual abuse. We aim to share collective hopes, impacts, resources and sexual health skills.
The Solution: Broaden the conversation about sex and sexuality as a critical component to ending child sexual abuse. This project fosters open dialogue in the movement by promoting healthy understanding of sex and sexuality as a focal point of any work to end child sexual abuse. By making visible the hidden tools used to coerce and inflict guilt, shame and violence on children, we can eliminate the shame and secrecy that allows abuse to occur.