Sexual violence is pervasive, and COVID-19 exasperated its pervasiveness. Advocates are needed continuously in unprecedented ways. They are frontline workers providing support to people who’ve experienced all forms of sexual trauma. Many advocates are survivors who do anti-violence work to support people who are victimized by sexual violence. They experientially know the lasting impact of sexual trauma and are led to work with those on their healing journeys. In doing this survivor-affirming work, advocates who are survivors may engage with and support those whose experiences mirror or are parallel to our own. Regardless of survivor-status, advocates may also experience fatigue and vicarious trauma. Survivor-activist and cultural worker Aishah Shahidah Simmons will share ways that advocates stay grounded and practice self-care while responding to the sexual violence pandemic amid the COVID pandemic.
Bio: Aishah Shahidah Simmons is an award-winning Black feminist lesbian cultural worker who, for over 25-years, has examined the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and sexual violence. She is the producer/director of the Ford Foundation-funded, groundbreaking documentary film, NO! The Rape Documentary (2006), and the cutting-edge anthology, Love WITH Accountability Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse (AK Press, 2019). Aishah’s work is informed by her lived experiences as a child sexual abuse survivor, adult rape survivor, and Buddhist practitioner committed to disrupting and ending the inhumane, humanely.