Dear Community: Follow The Lead of Survivors

Dear Community,

Survivors of violence against their personhood have value regardless and beyond what has happened to them. Survivors of violence against their personhood are resilient, can become, and often already are, powerful leaders. And the time has come for us to be clear about what we stand for, and how we believe survivors should be treated and included in work meant to support or serve them.

Ethical and best practice efforts and programs that are intended to protect, support, or impact change for survivors should be developed and championed by survivors. Being survivor centered and survivor driven requires deliberate inclusion of survivors wherever decisions are being made, wherever responses and action plans are being created, and wherever problems are being solved.

It takes a tremendous amount of strength and skill to survive abuse, violence, and exploitation. Resourcefulness, creativity, and resilience are part of survivorship. Survivors are human beings, and often have expertise that goes far beyond what happened to them. Survivors are whole and capable people and deserve to be treated as such.

Survivors have solutions and meaningful insights that those who have not experienced abuse or exploitation simply do not have. Developing efforts and programs without survivor leadership in every step of the process dismisses and tokenizes survivors, this practice is harmful to victims and survivors.

Survivors are the experts in their experience and have valuable insights into supports necessary to navigate healing and change. Pressuring or limiting survivors to roles that are selected for them is typecasting, this is practice is harmful to victims and survivors.

Survivors have a right to privacy and to decline to share any part of their experience or expertise without consequence, including consequence of limiting opportunities to participate in leadership and limiting opportunities to be served or compensated. Capturing or utilizing survivors’ stories without express consent or benefiting from the use of a survivor’s story, or expertise without equitable compensation, is an exploitive practice that is harmful to victims and survivors.

Receiving funding, resources, or benefits from or for the purpose of developing programming or response to victimization, or providing services to victims or survivors, without equitably compensated survivors driving the work is exploitive and abusive. This practice is harmful to victims and survivors.  

Any kind of exploitation, tokenization or typecasting survivors is harmful and contrary to best practice standards and trauma responsive care.

We invite you to join us in our efforts by adding your name to this statement (click here) and sharing with your networks and on your social media platforms.

We look forward to following the lead of survivors with you.

Sincerely,

The Thriving Warrior Team

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