It's probably no coincidence that April is dedicated to honouring victims of sexual assault. Spring blossoms emerge in a rainbow of colour after a long, dormant winter—much like sexual assault victims, in time, come to bloom after a period of hurt and healing.
This spring, in honour of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAMM) we decided to mark the healing and help raise awareness by speaking to one amazing woman and survivor on a mission to empower others.
Emma Graber is the founder of the Instagram page @ReclaimSexualPowerProject
What is the Reclaim Sexual Power Project?
Reclaim Sexual Power Project is an Instagram page I created as a safe space for any/all individuals to share (anonymously or not) their experiences with sexual trauma and or healing.
Why did you start it?
I started this page because as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I noticed coming into my late teens and now early twenties that although I had healed in so many ways from my experience, there was an aspect of sexual healing missing for me.
I then pondered that in the process of healing from sexual trauma, what is often left out is how to become comfortable in your sexuality again, how to want to feel sexy, be desired again, or whatever it may be. After trauma these things can feel incredibly difficult. So I wanted this space to be a place for both sharing about trauma, as well as embracing sexual power and healing.
What has been the most empowering thing about seeing it grow?
I can’t even put into words how affirming everyone else’s stories have been for my own healing. Creating this page allowed me to appreciate my body and sexuality in a way I never have before, and that is all because of the amazing individuals that have been brave enough to share their stories.
It’s also been empowering to feel like I am a part of a community, getting to connect with so many beautiful people who share the same passions that I do.
What is the message you hope people take away from what you’re doing?
A huge message I hope individuals take away from what I do is that no matter what your story may be, it is valid. It deserves to be shared if you wish for it to be. There is always a space willing to listen.
It’s also important to note that not everyone wants to share, and that doesn’t make either their experiences or their process of healing any less valid.
Where are we still lagging when it comes to sexual assault?
I think education on sexual violence has to start much earlier than it does now. We need to improve the way little boys and girls learn about consent, what is appropriate and what is not, and so much more.
Okay, let’s talk about cancel culture for a moment and the #MeToo movement:
Thanks to the #MeToo movement, a lot of victims have been emboldened to come forward and speak about their experiences. Some even going so far as to publicly name their aggressors. And now, some are saying this is contributing to an epidemic of ‘cancel culture’.
What do you make of this?
I think sometimes people tend to confuse cancelling somebody with holding them accountable for their actions. Perpetrators deserve to be held accountable, whether that means losing their jobs, or going to prison. It’s about time that (in particular) powerful men learn that they can’t get away with harassment and assault anymore.
Whenever people make the argument “his life doesn’t deserve to be ruined by this,” I always ask if the survivors' lives deserved to be ruined? Why is our instinct to think about the reputation of the perpetrator rather than the life of the survivor?
Where do you see this project going and what are your hopes for it down the road?
Ultimately, my hope for this page is to continue sharing individuals’ stories every single day and hopefully growing a larger and larger community. Sadly instagram often shadowbans the content on my page which has made it more difficult to grow. I am open to all possibilities with this page and the paths it may take whether that be on instagram, or other platforms!
How can people follow along and contribute?
Follow @reclaimsexualpowerproject on Instagram!
And if you would like to participate and share your own story, simply DM me on there and we will work through it together!
photos by @bbstellaartois
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