Nov 202016
 
photo by Mat Schramm

photo by Mat Schramm

Dear Survivor,

We’ve had a long, challenging election season. In many ways, election night brought it all together in a way most of us could have never imagined.

There aren’t enough words to describe the emotions we are feeling. The election results were incredibly painful. We’d like to say that we’re surprised, but we know that racism and misogyny are real, and that rape culture and violence against women is ingrained in our society. The election of Donald Trump – a candidate who made numerous offensive statements and is accused of being a sexual predator – was just a horrifying visual manifestation of it. It was a reminder of the reality that we live in a society that ignores abuses of power – especially when it is perpetrated by people of privilege. It was an all too triggering reminder for those of us who have been the victims of such abuses of power and how loud we have to scream and still not be heard or believed. All the progress we have made seems erased, and our intersectional identities and lived experiences ignored. I think all of this is especially hard when we know that these systems of oppression are at the very root of what we are fighting against: gender inequity, violence against women, rape culture.

We don’t know what the next four years will be like. But, we do know that we live in a day and time where people are not willing to be silenced any more, and that we at HEART will work even harder to be heard and to uplift the voices of those we serve. Your continued courage and bravery speaking up about your lived experiences as a sexual assault survivor are both inspiring and an example of your resilience. By speaking up, sharing your story, and insisting on change, you are not only raising and awareness on an injustice that is far too common in 2016, but you are protecting so many from being abused or assaulted in the future. What you’re doing is hard, and ultimately will require a culture shift. It will not happen overnight, and with so many who are so opposed to this work, it may even take much of our lifetime. But we are more motivated than ever to continue this work.

We see you. We hear you. We believe you.

We are so proud and humbled to serve alongside you as we continue to work toward progress, and your commitment to truth and justice is our daily inspiration.  Yes, it may seem like we’ve taken many steps back and there is still so much left to do, but there is reason to hope. And for us at HEART, you all are that reason.

Eternally grateful for your courage,

the team at HEART Women & Girls

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