We started as just a blog on Tumblr to have a place for survivors of CSA to vent and tell their stories. I had been feeling alone in my trauma and knew others had too through having known many survivors myself and seeing others talk within recovery communities online. This pushed me to try and break this isolation for myself and others. But quickly I learned that many of us who experienced abuse didn’t have any support, and even less education and understanding. The people with the first-hand experience of abuse and trauma were just as confused if not more so than the general public.
The number of messages we received of people just wanting to even know if what happened was abuse broke my heart. I had gone through similar emotions (and still am at times) around understanding my own experiences with abuse and other forms of sexual violence. It wasn’t something I ever learned or was told about when i was young. And even worse was taught a lot of broken ideas about sex from my upbringing that put shame into me about sexual violence I was the victim of. It also had me thinking about experiences of confusion and invalidation with other forms of abuse and trauma too.
People also were woefully uneducated on the psychology, sociology and other forms of research done into these experiences. Understandings of trauma outside media depictions were limited to nonexistent. So many people were confused or invalidated by these ways of viewing there health and well being.
So the mission shifted from primarily allowing people to have an outlet for their pain to equally offering skills and knowledge to help with them with healing. Sharing coping skills and advice to manage life. Educating these people on the common effects of abuse, the science behind the way trauma works and information about wider sociological functions like consent and treatment. I never pretend i can read minds or diagnose others, but even without that ability, we have made strides to arm the people who ask us for help with the information to start to heal.
Even more, though I realised that sometimes the best people to support survivors, were other survivors. Not only in commiseration but first-hand knowledge. Other people are always needed, but shared trauma is important.
While we are not certified psychiatrists but we have learned a lot through other activism, life experinces, and personal love of the feild. Some of this history includes various forms of volunteering with education and raising money for mental health charities and working with young kids mental wellness struggles. Also having been a patient in the mental health system within the US since being very young. This does give us a good understanding of providing emotional support and some knowledge of coping skills. It also meant that we met a wide variety of people with mental health struggles, this was ema an eye-opener to the kinds of struggles out there giving a visceral understanding that can be guided by finding a place to convert to the real help.
The “via love” in our slogan is key to our work. Love and compassion are the only ways anyone can really help others, and it so sorely lacking in culture and in the mental health field. Showing people love is the only way they can ever learn love themselves.
So as I’ve worked on this I’ve decided to try and expand the work we do, and I will continue to do so. This new site will hopefully be the first step in our expansion of help.