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Sexual violence is a pervasive pandemic that touches upon almost every single social justice issue, including but not limited to race, gender, gender identity, disability, sexuality, education, housing, immigration, health care, mass incarceration, militarization, and politics. The ravages of child and adult sexual trauma, directly and indirectly, affects countless individuals across the U.S. and internationally.
How do we disrupt and work continuously to end the inhumane sexual violence epidemics, humanely? How do we center the needs of the immediate survivors without relying on systems that dehumanize harm-doers? How can survivors begin the healing journey? We can resist "one-size fits all" responses that too often do not have long term impact. We can, in the words of Audre Lorde, "be deliberate and intentional" with necessary long term work to co-create a society without violence.
For over 25-years, Aishah Shahidah Simmons has dedicated her life to creating cultural work focused on Black survivor-centered compassionate responses to the sexual violence pandemic that is everywhere and yet nowhere. Aishah's lived experiences as a Black feminist lesbian, CSA and adult rape survivor, and her Buddhist practice inform her work.