Survivor Solidarity Month Activities Promote Community Responsibility, Care

Olivia DrakeApril 5, 20226min
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Survivor Solidarity Month kicked off April 1 with the first of three Survivor Love Letter tabling in Usdan where members of the Wesleyan community can write a note to support survivors. The next one is April 18.

This April, the Office of Support, Healing, Activism, and Prevention Education (SHAPE) is encouraging the Wesleyan community to reflect, learn, and better show up for survivors of violence through a plethora of Survivor Solidarity Month activities.

The 2022 theme is “Community Responsibility and Care,” and the various events highlight ways to support survivors in a healing-centered way, particularly in line with restorative practices and even in line with transformative justice values.

“It’s important of us as a community at Wesleyan to be having these conversations because a better world is possible—a world where we’re disrupting and challenging systems of oppression that create conditions for sexual violence to occur, and allow cycles of harm to continue,” said Johanna DeBari, director of SHAPE. “I believe, in my bones, that the practices of restorative justice and the values it brings have the power to be transformational in our community.”

Events for the month kicked off April 1 with the first of three Survivor Love Letter tabling in Usdan where members of the Wesleyan community can write a note, signed or anonymously, to support survivors.

Upcoming events include: (Sign up for SHAPE’s newsletter for additional details about these events)

April 7: Workshop titled “Unlearning Patriarchy and Becoming a Vulnerable Ally Workshop”

April 8: Film screening of A Better Man

April 9: Survivor-Centered Yoga, Bystander 101 Training, Reimagining Bystander Intervention

April 13: Workshop titled “Understanding Codependency”

April 14: Workshop titled “Abolitionists in Action: Transformative Justice and the University” organized by Brown University, 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Zoom.

April 16: Survivor-Centered HIIT Class

April 18: Survivor Love Letter tabling in Usdan

April 19: Join Shiva Ramkumar ’22, Professor Serena Witzke, and the SHAPE Office for a dialogue on integrating compassion into pedagogy, to best serve students and take care of ourselves. The panel discussion, titled “Building a Trauma-Informed Classroom,” will take place from 12:15-1:10 p.m. on Zoom.

April 22: In Pursuit of Pleasure & Body Peace

April 23: Bystander 201 Training

April 26: Workshop titled “Cancel Culture and Vigilante Activism”

April 27: Healing Connections, Loveline @ Weswell. Held in collaboration with #PartySafer Month and CAPS.

April 28: STI testing and sex toy raffle. Held in collaboration with #PartySafer Month and CT Center for Harm Reduction.

April 29: Join Rachel King of RK Resolutions for a virtual workshop titled “Responding to Sexual Violence with Restorative Justice Practices,” from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Zoom. The workshop is co-sponsored by FGSS Department, WesWell, CAPS, and SHAPE.

The Office of Support, Healing, Activism, and Prevention Education is dedicated to reimagining a world without interpersonal violence, through supportive resources for those who have experienced harm, trauma-informed, healing-centered prevention education programming and trainings, self-care and wellness workshops, and supporting student activism within the Wesleyan University community.

“I believe we are all vulnerable to experiencing harm, we are all capable of doing harm, and we are all worthy of care and dignity. I’m hopeful that this month’s events create openings for folks—students, staff, and faculty alike—to connect with their own human messiness, to then honor the human messiness in others, where we can be working to not only reduce harm, but prevent harm from happening in the first place,” DeBari said.

For more information about restorative justice/ transformative justice, read DeBari’s perspective in this SHAPE blog. Follow the SHAPE office on Instagram at @wesshapeoffice.