Sex, sexual pleasure, erotica and survivorship



As survivors and people who have experienced rape and sexual assault there is a huge taboo and uncomfortability when we talk about sex, sexual liberation, sexual objectification, erotica and kink. 
This uncomfortability often comes not from us, but from others’ misconceptions of rape and sexual violence. 
 
In the criminal justice system, to be seen as a ‘credible victim’ – particularly for womxn – you shouldn’t enjoy sex, have a lot of sex, engage in kink or erotica of any kind as it is used against you and your case. In basic terms the court assumes if you are a sexual person you were probably “asking for it”.
 
This attitude is particularly dangerous as it links sex and rape as if they are in the same catagory. Rape is sexualised violence forced on someone with violence without their consent. Sex is consenting people enjoying pleasure together. The difference is critical. If someone was murdered with a kitchen knife you wouldn’t say “was it murder or was it just cooking?” and you wouldn’t bring up their whole culinary past and say “well, they were in the kitchen when it happened and they did really like cooking, I think they were even a chef at one point, maybe they encouraged it”. 
 
There is so much stigma and shame about sexual pleasure as survivors. The sooner we start to differentiate clearly between rape and sex, the sooner we can move on from victim blaming and survivor stereotyping to address the real problems. 
 
We should focus on consent (rather than links between rape and sex) to start to dismantle the assumptions about what a survivor should look like and how we should behave.
 
Even within support services sex, sexuality and kink is not a topic that is spoken about positively and is avoided in support groups. It is often assumed many of us will not want sex or feel sexual after rape. Although this can unquestionably be true for some, many – ourselves included – feel that sex is so opposite to rape that having consentual, exciting, loving sex is not triggering at all and in fact is an incredibly important part of healing and building resilience. For us it is the stereotypes and associations of the two being linked by the criminal justice system, within our language, within the media and support services that has created these dangerous ideas and attitudes around rape survivors and how we view our sex lives. 
 
We need to normalise the idea that survivors (and everyone) can enjoy sex, pleasure, erotica and kink, can be sex workers and strippers, can enjoy having lots of sex with multiple partners, can have casual sex or sex with their partner and can enjoy porn or work in porn. We can also be asexual or not want sex and it have nothing to do with our trauma. We are not suggesting that nobody experiences triggers through sex after rape, but we need to start showing that it is also possible and normal not to. At the moment the narrative is that of a “broken” survivor who shouldn’t want to have sex and the “perfect victim” by society’s standards is someone who previously didn’t engage in any sex or enjoy it even with their partner/s!
 
There is also a lot of misplaced blame and misconceptions that comes from women’s organisations and feminist groups who feel sexual objectification of womxn, porn and sex work is wrong. We both used to share this view when we were younger. We believed womxn were harmed through images of womxn as sexual objects, through how womxn are represented within porn and through how womxn are expected to perform within sex work. 
 
While sexism, gender inequality and gender-based violence is still ingrained in our society, we need to start looking at the bigger picture. It is too narrow minded to just think that it is simply porn, objectification and sex work that is wrong. It is not the platform that is wrong but instead how it is used. What we need to look at is whether or not full consent exists within these dynamics and within these structures, not blame the platform or medium it exists within. 
 
Porn is simply an erotic artform and it is because it has been misused people see it as harmful. Erotic media in all forms, when everyone involved is consenting and happy it is an exciting and pleasurable space and we should be trying to shift the focus to consent and ethics rather than just trying to shut it down. 
 
Sex work is work and is not the same as trafficking. Sex work is a choice, trafficking and sexual exploitation is forced. If people are consenting, safe and choose to be doing sex work, we should be  fully supporting that choice. Many womxn and survivors choose this work and want to do this work and we need to support these decisions by supporting sex workers’ rights and fighting for the environment so that everyone is able to work safely.
 
Sexual objectification has been used negatively, the media uses womxn’s bodies dishonestly and inappropriately to sell things or create harmful stereotypes. Womxn have also been coerced into creating imagery they don’t agree with. This is clearly not ok. However, sexual objectification can be liberating too; to be able to strip everything back and view someone just as an object of pleasure and desire just for that moment and to have that focus on just the sensual and erotic – whether in the bedroom or in a photo or video – can be healthy and exciting as long as we all have control and choice. Many womxn want to authentically sexually objectify themselves, be objectified or objectify a consenting partner and we should support that as long as power dynamics are understood and everybody is consenting with freedom and joy.
 
Sex and sexual liberation is powerful. We should be allowed to objectify ourselves and each other if we want, allowed to have kinks, allowed to sell sex. We should be able to wear what we want and it not be used against us if someone attacks us with sexual assault or rape. 
 
So many of us love sex, kink and exploring sex and sexuality freely and we shouldn’t be judged for that, particularly as female survivors. We all should be able to talk about it without making others feel uncomfortable. We want to create environments where nobody feels uncomfortable because femxle pleasure and sexual desires are finally normalised.
 
We want to live in a society where we womxn and survivors are not labeled slags, hoes, slappers and whores (negatively) for enjoying sex – titles we have begun to love and reclaim –  but are accepted and celebrated. Lets frame the conversation into one where consent is the basic starting point.
 
We want to create a society where we are respected for our choices, consent is sexy, our boundaries are heard and where the erotic world is exciting, safe, beautiful and delicious.  

The disobedient survivor talks

How support services expect us to heal vs how we actually heal

Decolonise and dismantle survivor support structures!

Survivor support services promote dangerous ideas of linear healing and recovery throughout their services. They are pressured by funders and governing bodies to meet targets, prove improvements and show measurable recovery.
Not only are these expectations unrealistic, they also feed harmful westernised ideas of mental health and trauma. Their methods of diagnosing and supporting trauma fails survivors and does not reflect our individual needs.

Healing is not linear. Healing is not quantifiable. Healing is not a diagram. Healing is complex, unique and messy. It is also human. It is about learning to be ok with all feelings, good and difficult. It is not something that can be reduced to a diagram or fit into categories.

While becoming aware of our emotions and process is important in healing, it is damaging us the way survivor services pressure us into measuring our trauma and monitoring and evaluating our recovery in a way that fits the narrative they want. Because they need case studies, positive outcomes and specific results for their impact reports they control the way we asses and record our healing.
We need to challenge this deep set structural norm that makes us feel that we have to improve our mental health at the speed services control and the way services expect.
Instead let’s ask each other questions and create space and trust within healing to find our own pace and path in the ways that are right for us. 💞✨💞✨💞✨💞✨

Note to survivor services: we invite you to start an open dialogue with us. Please get in touch to connect. There will be more about this soon.

Response to JK Rowling

We as survivors stand with our sisters not just our cis-ters!

As survivors we feel it is imperative to make a statement in response to JK Rowling’s toxic views on trans and gender non conforming people (specifically seeing trans women as a threat and not accepting the identities and experiences of the non binary community).

It is violent to speak about cis women’s safety and experiences as survivors of rape, sexual assault or domestic abuse in order to further a dangerous agenda. 

Trans women are women. THIS IS NOT A DEBATE. You do not get to debate someone’s identity or existence. If you do not see this, then you need to do some work. Read. Your fear is because of dangerous myths and untrue ideas that are embedded within our society claiming that trans women are not women and therefore dangerous. This is irrational. This is a belief you have to challenge.

If you had a child and they were afraid of something that wasn’t true, you would support them to challenge that view so that they felt safe rather than perpetuate their unfounded fear.

Of course your safety is important. Nobody is arguing it’s not. BUT it is not trans women that are your threat. We are ALL living in a society that makes us unsafe, however trans women are in far more danger and experience more stigma and abuse than we cis women can possibly imagine. You are putting their lives at risk by perpetuating the idea that they are not “real women”. This is furthering the divide within our community and movement against violence towards womxn and the bigger forces that are in play; capitalist patriarchy.  We have to be very careful not to weaponise our trauma in order to devalue or disregard someone else’s.

Through coming out as a survivor with the platform that you have JK Rowling, you are silencing all those that aren’t survivors to be able to challenge your harmful views and encouraging other survivors to irrationally fear trans women.

We as survivors understand what feeling unsafe is like, we understand what violence and abuse towards us because of our gender and identity is like. We have more tools than most to empathise. We need to stand up for trans women not against them. We share some of the same oppressions and are oppressed by some of the same groups. You are consciously making the active decision to be an oppressor in the same way patriarchy oppresses us all.

SURVIVORS WE NEED TO STAND UP AGAINST THIS HATE! Safe spaces are for people that need safety and protection. We need to mutually support each other to ensure ALL our safety. Stand with all trans folk. Stand against violence to all womxn. #Survivorsstandwithtranswomen.

How support services see us vs reality

Categories
Uncategorized

New project!

We are beginning a new project!!! ✨✨✨
A network for survivors to both get and give 1-1 support, solidarity and connection.

The type of support (and accessibility) that survivor services and mental health services currently offer is not working for many people and we need radical alternatives. Now

Survivors tell us that they are desperate for something different. We are expanding what the Resilience Fund does and are exploring new ways of finding and creating mutual support collectively. Support that is individual, support where we are in control, support where we are able to have real connection and support that is accessible now.

This is why we are setting up TRF Mutual Survivors Support Collective to link up survivors with each other, to find ways to support one another. Ourselves.

This project is aimed at creating connections between survivors and building our strength and resilience collectively, in non-hierarchical ways.

Categories
Uncategorized

Gift Alert!

First come first served (email theradicalresilienceproject@gmail.com simply ‘I want’). This one is around sexual pleasure.

Joy in sexual pleasure is so important to our resilience and healing for many of us, but still often it is seen as a taboo subject; particularly an avoided in survivor services. We want to see more discussion around sexual pleasure, the erotic and the sensual within healing spaces so you will definitely see more from us on this.

OMGyes have given us 10 FREE access codes to both their series on ‘women’s sexual pleasure’.

OMGyes is an online visual platform that shares research and information on women’s* sexual pleasure. This includes research gathered from over 20,000 *women.

OMGyes Original + The Inner Pleasure Collection (usually £59)
The original (practical techniques to enhance clitoral pleasure solo or as a couple, 60 short videos & 12 touchable simulations) practical techniques to enhance pleasure with inner stimulation and penetration, solo or as a couple. Over 180 short videos in total.

https://www.omgyes.com

*Disclaimer (you know we love a disclaimer): This is for anyone but we want to acknowledge that OMGyes focuses on cis women’s experience and pleasure. This is not inclusive as does not acknowledge the importance of involving all womxn and all those with vulvas within their research.

Categories
Uncategorized

💞🌺💗👅

Hi! We haven’t posted for a while. We both had to return suddenly to separate countries because of the crisis (Meg in the UK and Bryony in Greece). We are both in isolation and missing each other and general human contact immensely.
We are connecting, talking, laughing and working through video chat however.

We want to acknowledge how incredibly hard this must be for everyone and send so much love, strength, resilience and power to all of you. In the weeks to come we will be more present online with as much support as we can offer. We are just trying to figure out, like everyone else, the best way to do this.

We are thinking of more online support in different forms including the possibility of an online mini retreat/workshops and working on a 1-1 survivor support club. Any ideas please let us know.

We have a couple of questions for you:

What do you need?
What do you want to see from us/this project?
What would you like to see from an online weekend retreat?

Please please remember to take out a mini grant to help build your resilience- now is the time more than ever to support and treat yourself.

Friends and those with money please support by donating to us to support more people through this time. PayPal theresiliencefunduk@gmail.com

Love and hugs xxxx

Categories
Uncategorized

GIFTS GIFTS GIFTS

Gifts gifts gifts!!!🎊🎀🎁 👸🎁👸🎁🎀🎊
We dressed up as gifts to entertain ourselves…⚡✨⚡✨⚡✨

Also to tell you that there are lots of exciting gifts and treats we have been given and will be offering out over the next week. Things like gift vouchers for glamorous restaurants, exciting courses, tickets and more. 🎫💌🤸‍♀💃🌹🥂🍽
Look out on our social media and here as we will be offering stuff each day and it will be on a first come first served basis. 👀

If you know someone who you think would really enjoy one of the gifts you can ask for it on their behalf too!

So please please please share the resilience fund, invite people to like it on FB and Insta and tell people about it! Especially those of you in the Bristol/Bath area as the gifts are local to Bristol and Bath. ☝

We want to reach more people so please give us a gift by sharing the word! Love and power 💥💥💗💗

Categories
Uncategorized