On April 29, 2018, The Last Sip creator and host Imara Jones and guests Scott Snyder (Council on Foreign Relations), Dr. Treva B. Lindsey (The Ohio State University), Dr. Carolyn West (University of Washington), and Aishah Shahidah Simmons (#LoveWITHAccountability) speak on the two Koreas meeting, Black women's role in the #BillCosby conviction, the impact of rape on Black cis & trans women, & the survivor healing journey. The Last Sip airs every Sunday morning on Free Speech TV.Read More
The Westwood Baptist Church in Richmond, VA where Rev. Michael Lomax is the pastor will host a FREE all day conference on sexual violence, accountability and healing on Saturday, April 21, 2018. There will be a panel, a screening of NO! The Rape Documentary, and a keynote by #BlackFeminist sister/scholar/comrade/friend, co-founder of The Feminist Wire, and the first lady of Westwood Baptist Church, Dr. Tamura Lomax.
SPREAD THE WORD. This FREE intergenerational gathering is open to all. You can register here.
Appreciating this powerful writing from Molly Boeder Harris of The Breathe Network
Appreciating this powerful writing from Molly Boeder Harris of The Breathe Network:
“Surviving? Resilience? Sometimes I think it’s just a matter of luck. Or a matter of timing. Or a matter of being understood and symptoms being seen for what they are - natural responses to overwhelming and ongoing mind, body and soul terror. We somehow hang on for an extra hour, and someone comes through like a miracle reminding us to stay. Or we are just met with the best resources possible in the beginning and that gives us a foundation to start from - so that when things get shitty, five years later or 15 years later, we have something inside we can draw from to sustain us through the worst - again and again. Or we are encircled by people who believe and support and buffer us against all the external bullshit that may come our way of we speak out. But damn it is exhausting to still feel so much and there is so much shame in not being "over it” in a culture that wants a happy ending. And then there is this culture, and all of the intricacies of the dynamics surrounding our abuse, our disclosure, our perpetrator, our family and community, all the ways people do and don’t show up for us over the years. And then the ways that the work of the movement keeps the wounds open, or the ways that for others, denying survivorhood may keep the wound open…and everything in between. It seems to me that resilience is like a constellation that comes together around us, like we are a new burning star at the center of something really huge and yet we become part of a web of stars - interconnected to something larger that gives us stability and structure and freedom to move, no timelines that can be measured, just ongoing showing up and presence - versus the isolation, the black hole, the clock ticking on how long you get to be sad and angry and triggered and afraid that comes with being raped in this culture. The clock that ticks so loud and the timeline that feels so impossible that it just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s so hard and I don’t think we’ve gotten really real about it still. I think the resilience comes and grows with practice, but also, really effing hard practice, like water we have to drink daily survive…and when we stop practicing we notice pretty quickly. And the practice requires our people are also onboard with our need to practice and will hang around when shit gets rocky - which it always does and will as we face more of life. I think of all the privileges I have had in my life and my healing - all the kinds of care, past and present, that I have accessed and yet I still have phases of intense struggle and how isolating and shaming it can feel. I am cautiously optimistic that our country/globe is starting to understand what trauma does to our nervous systems, to our brains, to our organs, to our muscles and our breath and the way we digest food - and that with that knowledge - combined with all the non-cognitive ways we heal the parts of the brain and psyche and soul, and then all of it articulated through the lens of sexual assault survivors - that this weight will lighten for others in time…that maybe trauma healing won’t be a life battle but rather, resilience practices will be accessible and normalized from the beginning allowing someone to be free from their past physically, mentally, energetically and spiritually, sooner rather than later, but damn, we have our work to do.“
As part of a collaborative piece on The Establishment in conjunction with the Queering Sexual Violence anthology release, four contributors to Queering Sexual Violence share their personal healing paths, envision what healing could look like, and shift the narratives of what surviving and thriving actually can be.
The late Black feminist author, cultural worker, organizer, and one of my teachers, Toni Cade Bambara, asked the timeless question, “Are you sure, sweetheart, you want be well?” in The Salt Eaters, her award-winning 1980 novel. I consistently ask myself this question, because being an unapologetically out Black feminist lesbian who is both an incest/child sexual abuse survivor and an adult rape survivor is extremely difficult. One of many things that I have experientially learned is that healing and being well—emotionally, psychologically, mentally, psychically, and physically—are ongoing journeys and processes, not permanent destinations.
In my essay for Queering Sexual Violence, I wrote about three non-negotiable tools that are an integral part of my healing work. These tools helped me move from victim to survivor and engaged participant in movements to end violence committed against women and queer people, most especially those who are Black/People of Color. These tools are: 24 years of work with a licensed clinical Black feminist psychologist, Dr. Clara Whaley-Perkins; a 14-year practice of vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka; and 25 years of consistent involvement as an activist/cultural worker/filmmaker in global anti-gender-based violence and LGBTQIA movements.