You Are The Tool

May 7, 2020

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Tools 2 Thrive”. For the last 71 years, through media, local events and screenings, Mental Health America has led the observance of this critical issue throughout local communities.  Research shows that 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.  For survivors of sexual violence we are those people. As I thought about what this year's theme means for sexual violence survivors, survivor advocates and those survivors who have been overlooked and oppressed by our current systems, questions came up like: “What are these tools?”, “Who has access?”,  and “Who holds the power to decide who has access?”. As I reflected, I settled into a place that I believe is helpful to remind all survivors… YOU ARE THE TOOL.


You are the tool

You have and continue to thrive in your healing


Your tools are in your knowing

In the spaces of grace that you have adopted to accept this world

In the feet you move forward a step at a time despite attempts from this world to continue to cause you harm


Your tools are in your body

A body that has been taken from you and that you work hard each day to reclaim

A body that you have to re-introduce yourself to everyday, realizing that each time you do you take back your home

Often internally screaming  reminders that it is yours and it is okay to need to find new ways to feel safe within it


Your tools are in the communities you create

A community full of spaces that are safe for everyone

That recognizes why a world without sexual violence, racism and oppression can change the trajectory of our being

A community that knows there is no “self-care” without “community care”

A community that fully accepts responsibility for one another in both pain and in healing, always knowing that survivors should lead the new way


Your tools are in your mind

A mind that did whatever it had to do to be safe and survive the harm caused by others

A  mind that continues to work hard to be connected back to your body

A mind that has experienced perfectly normal reactions to absolutely abnormal and unacceptable things

A mind that has adapted new survival strategies that you continue to learn from and honor


Your tools are in your faith and spirit

In the spaces and places you cultivate to dive into what you want to manifest

Through prayer

Through meditation

Through mantras

Through faith in yourself, faith in others and sometimes faith in something larger than ourselves


As survivors you have all the tools that you need to lead this movement forward

And deserve to be given space at every table where decisions are being made to do so


Your story matters

You matter


And you will be the makers of the tools that will continue to help our communities thrive


You are the tool that will change our world

You are the tool that will help our world thrive


Post by Deanna Harrington, Director of Member Services and Technical Assistance