Before #ChangeRapeCulture I was not free. More-so, I was tethered, levitating in space always knowing that something was keeping me in my place – in between. I found comfort within the recesses of my own thoughts, learned how to make myself small and quiet.
Then I severed my tethers. I pledged to #ChangeRapeCulture.
My chosen family had my back, they cried with me, they shared their stories with me, and in those moments of sharing I could hear the rips of more tethers in the background. We had helped to set each other free, and encouraged one another to travel far – pack light.
Set Yourself Free Sundays is a program that was manifested, dreamed about, discussed amongst ancestors, and created with joy and healing at the center. Our amazing partners at TrueT Studios in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have a long history of promoting community healing and wellness, increased visibility, and decreased stigmatization of the LGBTQIA+ and HIV/AIDS communities through their PowerHour HIV/AID support group sessions, balls, workshops, dance courses, and social events before social distancing became the new norm. And even as the Rona rages on and continues to devastate Black communities across the world, TrueT reminds us all that the work is never done.
As a way to continue offering programming at no cost to our community, we have partnered up to create something truly magical. SYF (Set Yourself Free) will act as both an online space for the sexual assault survivor community to celebrate, encourage, and inform one another as well as a weekly 2 hour long video chat support group! We aim to allow a video chatting space for a more direct sense of community – a place you can look forward to seeing other survivors, venting about anything pressing in your life, and having space to center yourself. The online forum (a private Facebook group) should help to keep the conversations going even after our Sunday call has ended. We can use this space however we see fit – sharing information, sending affirmations throughout the week, or asking questions to one another.
Kimiya and I are really excited about this next step. And I am constantly thankful to the so many people who help to set us free.
Please visit our official Facebook Page to learn more about our weekly meetings, updates on meeting times, or technical issues. Please request to join our Private Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org in order to receive direct Zoom links to the weekly support group.
~ Taylor Waits, Co-founder of #ChangeRapeCulture