the things that happened to us – a thankyou letter to my community.

trigger warning for sexual assault but a generally happy post. 

for the last year and a bit i’ve been working with someone who remains ones of the most uplifting people in my life, kate ravenscroft  on what we’ve affectionately termed “our baby”.  our baby is we will not go quietly a creative resource for sexual assault survivors and it is ridiculously close to being born.  we hit our 3000 minimum target on pozible a little over 2 weeks ago which guarantees us 500 copies to print. This makes me absolutely thrilled, and inspired by the generous outpourings of people, some of whom i’ve never met. some who approached me with tears in their eyes when i handed out a fundraising leaflet, without saying a word, but with a silent acknowledgment that this had happened to them and their story had not been told.  

I guess that leads me to what i want this blog post to be about.  My favourite poet, Tara Hardy has written a poem in which she implores a friend of hers to “take the thing that happened to you” and call it hers.  When we began this project, Kate and I realized that the voices of survivors did not belong to us, they belonged to others, they belonged to people who, even though well meaning, were taking the words of experiences, the words that had been inscribed on our souls, and making them theirs.  I have blogged about this project before, but never with such conviction, never with such belief in its vitality. We live in a culture in which rape and sexual assault happen every day. every 2 minutes someone in the world is subject to sexual violence and yet everywhere we turn, the stories that are being told are not the stories of survival. they are the stories of the people who caused that grief in the first place or through whatever means and perpetuate it.  

Way back when we began to receive submissions i had a realization that this zine is a product of rape culture in a skewed way.  in a way, we’ve silenced the voices of survivors so much that they believe a zine is the only way they can make their stories heard.  So this project, in whatever form it takes from here on in. (people have already asked me about a second printed edition… don’t.. it fucks with my head, but thankyou for your enthusiasm)  let it be a testament, to courage, to bravery  and to the constant will it takes to not only live through violence, but live in a culture where your story is invalidated.. let this project be the means by which you, in all your shaky voiced, trembling handedness, speak. And once you start, never ever stop.  Let this project be the spark, the flint that lights the fire that gets us all talking about what survival means, and what violence means.  And most of all. how we can work to a world without it. 

To our donors…. a sincere from the bottom of my heart finger snapping fist pumping THANKYOU.  Please continue to share the link in whatever way you can as the campaign is not over for another week and a bit. you have paved the way for so many people and made it possible (pozible?) to speak. This means so much more to me, and i speak for Kate also than words on a blog, or a crowdfunding website, but it is absolutely and utterly not taken for granted that you gifted us with making this a reality. 

stay tuned for the launch date and please keep an eye on our blog for the online edition launched over the 16 days of activism against gendered violence (november 25 -december 10th)    


finally: i leave you with the inimitable tara hardy. this project is definitely helping us take the things that happened to us and calling them MINE. blessings.