soulshine
 
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Our Mission

We connect, center, and empower survivors of sexual violence to be leading voices on healing and social change.

Through elevating the voices of survivors, we change the conversation about sexual violence and healing to one that is survivor-centered and survivor-led. Centering survivors has the power to reshape how we understand healing and influence how efforts to support survivors are developed and prioritized. Rooted in a commitment to healing justice, we offer:

  • compassionate community
  • healing connections
  • mentorship
  • coordinated activism
  • co-created learning opportunities
  • a platform to shape the future of healing and social change
  • information for community members and practitioners who are committed to supporting survivors

What we know:

Healing looks different for everyone. Culture, gender, race, physical and cognitive abilities, experiences of historical oppression and other forms of ongoing trauma, relationship to the person who committed sexual violence, duration of violence, and ease of access to supportive resources all shape a person's healing process. There's no "right" way to heal or act after experiencing sexual violence.

Healing happens in community. Trauma disconnects us from ourselves and others. It is isolating and can prompt a sense of loss of connection and meaning. Community and meaningful connections--opportunity to be met with compassion and understanding--affirm survivors' sense of themselves and the world. 

People who are members of marginalized communities are less likely to be believed if they report sexual violence. They are also more likely to experience barriers in seeking justice and healing than those who are less marginalized. 

Significant resources have been put into strengthening formal systems' responses to sexual violence, notably criminal/legal and medical systems. Yet, these are some of the most uncommon resources that survivors seek out. To understand healing is to understand that a whole person is affected by sexual violence, meaning that resources to support the physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and spiritual needs are integral to meaningful efforts to help survivors heal. Healing and justice are not intrinsically tied to involvement with criminal/legal systems. However, historically this is where mainstream efforts and funding have been focused. For many survivors, especially people of color, immigrants, and other oppressed communities, criminal/legal systems are not a source of help or justice, but rather are systems that have caused harm. Survivors deserve support reflective of this knowledge that is attentive to their individual and wide-ranging needs.

 
 
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Our Roots

"Our foundation is rooted in research, shared knowledge, and first-hand survivor experiences. With nearly a century of combined experience in anti-violence, healing, community-building, and trauma work fields, we've learned so much about where our fields have both supported and failed folks impacted by trauma. We know we must do better. 

This grounding supports a holistic approach to healing and wellbeing that values the roles of culture, community, psychology, neuroscience, intuition, and the interplay between these dynamics. We need an integrated perspective when we think about healing and social change. One-size fits all approaches and those that provide compartmentalized perspectives continue to fail survivors. We need to center survivors' voices and trust them to guide us as we work toward healing justice.

— Kelly Wilt, Founder