Strategies for Survivors Zine Available!

color-cover-256Our newest zine is out!  Strategies for Survivors is full of hints and tips from our experience, for survivors of sexual assault and the people who support survivors.

Click on the image for a black-and-white PDF download — it might take a while to transfer.  Either view it on line or click the “booklet” setting on your print options page to make a printed copy.

For printed copies on nice paper — especially color copies — contact us by e-mail at SurvivorSupport@Riseup.Net

We are grateful to all our collective members over the years, and especially the survivors and their supporters we’ve had the honor to know, for making this zine possible.

Zine Release and Workshop this Thursday

We are proud to announce the upcoming release of our new zine, “Strategies for Survivors”.  This zine was written to aid survivors in implementing their own unique self-directed healing, and to help them reach out to their community for support.  It’s based on our experiences both as survivors and as people supporting the survivors in our lives. We hope these ideas will provide a starting point for people seeking healing and justice from their experiences of sexual assault.  We hope to have it up on this site soon.

In the mean time, we will be hosting a zine release and workshop this Thursday the 22nd from 7-9 pm at The Wooden Shoe.  Our workshop will consist of an educational on survivor support and an interactive workshop on how to use our zine as a resource – for survivors or for people interested in supporting the survivors around them.  We will have members from our group available to support people during the workshop if negative or intense emotions come up through the course of our discussions. We look forward to seeing everyone out there!

Check out the event on facebook here.

MICROINVALIDATIONS: On Assault and Abuse in Radical Communities

One of the PSSC BFFs let us know about an upcoming exhibition and we want to get the word out to everyone! This looks like a really fantastic event.
MICROINVALIDATIONS: On Assault and Abuse in Radical Communities
Friday, June 6 @ 6pm
Yell Gallery, 2111 East Susquehanna Avenue

MICROINVALIDATIONS is an open, participatory exhibition in explosion
of the silence surrounding sexual abuse in activist and radical
communities. The exhibition is an opportunity for dialogue: those who
have experienced abuse are invited and encouraged to bring or create
work, stories, and thoughts for display during the opening.
Facilitators will be on site for technical and emotional assistance
and support.

What is a “safe space”? What is “community”? How can we confront
sexual violence without fracturing community? How do we create
accountability? How do we support survivors? What experiences are
silenced, purposefully or not? How do our communities reflect
structures which enable abuse and assault to happen unchecked? What
contradictions exist between our ideals and our practices?

An evening of discussion, sharing, support, and creation. Light
refreshments provided. Yelling (literal or no) encouraged.

PSSC Workshop June 13th! Taking Care of Ourselves and Eachother: Supporting Trans* Survivors of Sexual Assault

We have great news! PSSC will be running a workshop at the 13th Philadelphia Trans*-Health Conference on Friday, June 13th. Our workshop, Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other: Supporting Trans* Survivors of Sexual Assault, was recently presented at Hampshire College and we’re looking forward to bringing it to more survivor support folks. Check out the workshop description on the Trans-Health Conference website:

We think Andrea Gibson, an award-winning poet and activist, is pretty rad. Her poetry focuses on some topics that are important to PSSC and the folks we work with: social reform, the impact of sexual assault, and the challenges faced by the LGBTQ communities, just to name a few.

Check out a couple of her performances! Blue Blanket focuses on the impact of sexual assault and I Sing the Body Electric touches on many important subjects, one of which is suicide.

Blue Blanket

I Sing the Body Electric, Especially When My Power’s Out

Andrea Gibson is curating an anthology that is currently accepting poetry submissions. The anthology is “We Will be Shelter” and will contain works that raise awareness, encourage critical self-reflection, and inspire action that supports communities in creating a more socially just world. Folks can submit one to three poems that are no more than two pages long. For details and instructions check out the website:

The deadline is May 1st!

E-mail Woops!

E-mail Worries and Wobbles:  Hi friends!  This is just a shout out that we recently had an e-mail hiccup and lost some important contacts from folks who reached out to us.  If you sent an e-mail recently for support or just to say hello and we haven’t gotten back to you this is likely why — please contact us again!  
We know we lost a few contacts that we were in the process of responding to, and we want to be in touch. <3
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other: Supporting Queer Survivors of Sexual Assault

Saturday March 8th, Philly Survivor Support Collective was at the 5 College Queer Gender and Sexuality Conference doing one of our favorite workshops – Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other: Supporting Queer Survivors of Sexual Assault!

We had an awesome time, learned a lot, and were so grateful to be there! We’d like to give a Big Thanks to the conference organizers and those who participated in our workshop. During the workshop we had a great conversation where we shared personal strategies and tools around supporting ourselves, each other, and our communities around issues related to sexual assault.

Compiled below are a few notes from the knowledge we built together!

Things That’ve Worked: Success in Supporting Survivors or Seeking Support

–believing the person
–providing validation
–providing options and resources *giving back choice
–just listening: having a word to signal “I don’t need your advice”
*there are different ways to listen; asking people how they want to be listened to
–making room for silence
–allowing process to be survivor-led
–finding survivor communities
–books and print resources
–supporting each other as we support survivors (support people, need support also!)
–making space for emotions/anger/sadness
–understanding that trauma looks different for different people/situations

–how to deal with being triggered? *different for everyone:

  • Creating a positive “response-trigger”: touching a place on your body, saying an affirmation, create some sort of ritual for grounding yourself
  • Creating supportive spaces for yourself where you can go to
  • Safety planning: be concrete, for example plan out your day on an anniversary or better plan out your friend’s day around you!

What’s Been Difficult?

–feeling like you need to disclose to get support
–“Oh but they’re my friend/a good person”
–issues of confidentiality/safety
–where the person who is giving support’s feelings go
–being “outed” as a survivor
–dealing with mandated reporting. How do we help people get support without outing them?
–people outing the person who caused harm without survivor’s consent
–belief that we have to defer to institutions and policy; that we don’t have the power ad skills to support each other because there are less models in our communities about the many (infinite!) ways that can look (this speaks to structural oppressions that divide us!)
–knowing when to say no

Generating Solutions/Strategies

¬–Engaging with each other emotionally without asking for disclosure or explanation
–Delegating support to specific support people with specific roles
–Learning how to divert triggering conversations
–Seeking and giving permission and forgiveness
–Stay in your role: if you’re a friend, be a friend not a counselor. Ask questions, check-in with what people need from you in that moment.