"You can't fight the whole ocean, honey. You have to float!" This is what my grandmother says to me each time I call her, teary-eyed and burnt out and exhausted from trying to control the world around me. I’ve been trying to practice; bobbing along with the waves of grief, change, and confusion that life has sent my way. And wow, did 2020 send us all some big waves…
To continue with the oceanic metaphors, one of the pieces of driftwood I’ve clung to this year has been a monthly library program called Mindful Crafting that I run with my intrepid co-captain Hazlett. We’ve had guest artists join us on Zoom to teach our little group how to weave, dye clothing, arrange beautiful bouquets of flowers, mend clothes, and so much more. Most of the folks who attend each month are people I’ve never met in person, but we’ve managed to form relationships and build community despite the distance and weirdness of technology.
After so much crafting and such a long, hard year I felt like we needed to work on some mindfulness too. Serendipitously, the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center reached out to ask if we might want to team up for a program - in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) - about “Radical Acceptance.” I wasn’t totally sure what “Radical Acceptance” entailed, but I felt like it was something I needed in my life. Like, now!
A technique often used to help survivors of trauma, radical acceptance is the practice of “letting go of the illusion of control, and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now, without judging.” Easy, right? If, like me, you think you might need a little radical acceptance in your life, join us for Mindful Crafting on Sat, April 17! Here are a few books on the topic, too:
Interested in learning more about SAAM? The Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center has curated a reading list for April to honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
SAAM is about both awareness and prevention of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse.
Looking at the history of the movement to end sexual violence, it’s clear why: It’s impossible to prevent an issue no one knows about, and it’s difficult to make people aware of a problem without providing a solution. All of these books highlight a diverse range of experiences, perspectives, and solutions from a variety of authors, artists and activists. The message of all of these books is clear: consent is for everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, age, race, ability, class, or age.
Many of the books on this list include descriptions of sexual violence told in the survivor's own words. Listening to and believing survivors is the first step to promoting a culture of consent. Some of these stories may be difficult to certain readers; we have included a link to the Care Center's website at the top of the list which has local support resources for anyone affected by sexual violence.
The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center Website
The mission of The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center is to promote a culture of consent while providing 24/7 support to anyone affected by sexual trauma and abuse in Douglas, Franklin, and Jefferson Counties. The Care Center provides free and confidential services to people affected by sexual violence including therapy, a 24/7 support line, advocacy, and education. Together, we can make a community free of sexual trauma & abuse while supporting healing for survivors.
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April 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but the history of sexual violence response, prevention, and advocacy goes back even further. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has a brief timeline of the origin, evolution, and future of SAAM. The NSVRC website is a wealth of resources for people interested in learning more about sexual violence. Click through the tabs on the SAAM landing page to learn more about this year's campaign, resources for survivors, and how you can help!
-Ruby Love is an Information Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library