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“We will Inspire people to bond around creating fulfilling relationships more than survivor stories. We will encourage celebration of personal growth and compassionate communication rather than traumatic histories. We will proudly declare ourselves Thrivers rather than Survivors. We will free ourselves from the cage of oppression and create a culture of healthy sexuality in which people of all sexual identities thrive.” — Emilee Coulter-Thompson in Queering Sexual Violence Anthology
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we welcome you to the Spring Up family to join us in imagining, creating, building, and supporting each other in the quest to cultivate a culture of consent and liberty for all! We are a small team of queer and trans anti-violence organizers striving to build community and an alternative culture of being in the world through consent education and transformative justice at the forefront of social justice movements fighting for our collective freedoms and liberation.
As we launch the #CultivateConsent campaign to envision a world where we are in healthier relationships with one another, I find myself reflecting on my own journey with consent and sexual harm over the years. I’m a queer non-binary femme fluid survivor of gender based violence who continues to question what a younger me would’ve needed to feel safe, heard, and held in a world where queer kids are told we don’t belong or deserve a life worth living. So I ask myself, what would I have needed to transform the negative experiences I had with gender identity and sex growing up to be more positive and rooted in mutual respect of boundaries, open communication, and genuine love and curiosity? What would those who harmed me have needed to see and feel clearly why their actions were violent to my body to shift and change their behaviours? What form of support would I have needed to not be complicit in harm against others around me in community, to stand up for those like me and not feel helpless when I saw them being attacked? I’m sure many of you have similar questions and find yourselves here on the quest for answers. That is exactly why we’re embarking on this campaign. We’re raising awareness of the root causes of violence in our communities and increasing accessibility of tools and resources that can equip us to build a new world rooted in love together. But first, before we dive in, here’s a bit of my personal story exploring what brings me to this work: