Thursday, April 11, 2019

UCCS hosts Safe Space Day for survivors of sexual assault

Posted By on Thu, Apr 11, 2019 at 2:01 PM

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The University of Colorado Colorado Springs is stepping up for Sexual Assault Awareness Month this year, and offering a whole host of events to help local survivors of sexual assault find health, support and resources.

With its Safe Space Day on April 15, UCCS will host multiple activities and events, starting with a “Survivors’ Living Openly Mic” at the UCCS University Center. Members of Talking Trees, an organization that supports adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, will discuss their experiences in a conversational setting, then will open the mic for other survivors to stand and share their stories. Dr. Rosenna Bakari, executive director of Talking Trees and UCCS visiting assistant professor, says: “This is a great opportunity for any survivor who wants to break their silence or amplify their voice by joining forces with others.”

Following the open mic, at 5 p.m., local art therapy organization Finding Our Voices will present an artistic workshop for survivors and allies, with an exhibit of work from its members.

The day will conclude with a seminar by Dr. Bakari at 7 p.m., addressing healthy sexual relationships, which Bakari says is “a difficult area of healing for many survivors.”

When asked about the importance of UCCS’ Safe Space Day, Bakari offered the following statement:

“There are more than 30 million adult survivors in America who have never told anyone about their childhood sexual abuse experience.

Their silence is prompted by a society that has shown repeatedly that there are consequences for identifying. There are rarely invitations to positively identify as a survivor. That’s why Safe Space Day is so important. Survivors come together in open forums around the world to celebrate their resilience in whatever way is fitting for them. It doesn’t require disclosure, confrontation or anything else that is negatively associated with being a survivor. It simply allows survivors to walk into space where they are acknowledged without judgment and expectation.

Depending on the celebration, they can learn and build life skills, or make new friends. The day is an opportunity to break through the barriers of isolation that often prevents healing.”

UCCS’ offerings will continue throughout the week, with a presentation by #MeToo founder Tarana Burke on Tuesday, and a community panel on Wednesday called “MeToo, What About You,” which will address issues surrounding being a survivor of sexual assault.

Both survivors and their allies are welcome and encouraged to attend each event.

See the Talking Trees website for details.

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