TREE OF SURVIVAL
We asked survivors and their supporters to write their answer to ‘what does survival mean to you’ or ‘what helps you to survive’ on a bird or a leaf, which we then stuck to a tree displayed in our Drop-in. You can see some of the answers on our pinterest board here.
Inspired by the writings of Nina Burrowes, and the illustrations in her book ‘The Courage to Be Me’ comes an exciting new project: Survivors’ Knitwork.
The project aims to bring together survivors of sexual violence, their supporters and the wider community to create a beautiful, communal scarf. As well as highlighting that survivors can be both hidden and comforted the project will also be a physical embodiment of the power of sharing, connecting and acting together.
Groups around the country will be hosting knitting events throughout 2015, culminating in an art installation in January 2016. People can get involved either by coming along to one of the events or by sending in a ribbon, a message or other materials to their local host organisation.
Survivors’ Network in Brighton will be holding the ‘Casting On’ of the project on Wednesday December 3rd between 11am and 2pm at their drop-in in Central Brighton. Anyone, whatever their knitting ability, is welcome to come along and take part. We will be providing some knitting needles and wool, but welcome donations or loans of more needles of any size, and purple wool.
Fabia Bates, Director of Survivors’ Network described the value of the project: ‘For many survivors the idea of being put in a situation where they have to talk can be enormously pressurised. The opportunity to come together in a supportive atmosphere, doing something practical and creative, can be a crucial first step in their healing journey’
Emily Skye, Survivor Poet (author of Ours, 2014, http://chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/home/) said: ‘Sexual abuse and violence affects all of us and is our shared responsibility. We close off to knowing about abuse and seem to collectively dissociate from our lived social reality. Somehow we are frozen alongside one another in silence, shame, fear and isolation. Yet there is movement, so much movement towards recovery, protection, acting together to change our ways. Survivor’s Knitwork is an opportunity to celebrate and grow this movement. Physically connecting and warming us all in our shared resourcefulness across the UK’
Funded by Awards for All, My Voice is a one-year project that aimed to increase access to emotional and practical support for BME and LGBT survivors, improving their ability to cope with the impact of sexual violence. Read more for details.
SUPPORTING TRANS* SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
In 2014 Survivors’ Network conducted research into the experiences of trans* and non-binary survivors of sexual violence. Currently, the vast majority of sexual violence support services are for either men or women only. This can lead to the exclusion of individuals who identify with gender identities or expressions that transgress or transcend the gender binarism male-female.
What is transphobia? (pdf)
Claire Project: self supporting group based in Brighton and Hove open to anyone wishing to explore issues around gender identity
All Sorts – Transformers: Trans* Youth Group based in Brighton
Galop (London): London’s LGBT anti-violence & abuse charity