A New Resource by Survivors, for Survivors: Introducing SurvivorSpace
If you’re here, then you likely know that child sexual abuse impacts individuals and communities throughout the United States. The effects of sexual abuse are far-reaching, disrupting many survivors' health, well-being, and prosperity into and through adulthood. According to Darkness to Light, the average age for disclosing child sexual abuse is 52, and 60% of survivors never tell anyone.
These survivors – all survivors – deserve access to support, healing, and justice.
Zero Abuse Project is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to eliminating all forms of child abuse. We work to transform institutions in order to effectively prevent, recognize, and respond to child sexual abuse. Our programs are designed to provide cross-disciplinary education and training, advocacy for systemic legal change, guidance for survivor support, and leadership on emerging technologies. We take a holistic approach by recognizing and addressing the intersecting forms of child maltreatment in connection with sexual abuse.
In April 2023, Zero Abuse Project launched SurvivorSpace, a new technology-based website and eventual mobile app informed by survivors, for survivors. It offers a safe space where adult survivors and those who care about them can learn about child sexual abuse; focus on self-care and resiliency; view and read survivor stories; explore information about civil litigation; access national and institution-based resources; and connect with others to discuss a wide range of topics. The site includes a clickable map with information on civil statutes of limitations, an interactive ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) quiz, informative and inspiring content created by survivors, a chat-based discussion page called SurvivorForum, and periodic online education and discussion sessions called SurvivorCircles. SurvivorSpace is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Office for Victims of Crime via the Advancing the Use of Technology to Assist Victims of Crime grant.
SurvivorSpace is unique in three important ways:
First, SurvivorSpace harnesses the best of technology, which enables adult survivors of child sexual abuse to safely access a variety of engaging and interactive information and resources at their fingertips. The site features diverse multimedia content to support survivors in their healing process and immersive, user-friendly tools to help survivors learn more about their rights and navigate the civil justice process. The technology features on SurvivorSpace enable new avenues of learning and connection that are not available on most websites.
Second, SurvivorSpace was informed by survivors from the very beginning. Zero Abuse Project consulted with survivors and other subject matter experts who created most of the content on the site. Instead of the staff at Zero Abuse Project deciding on our own what was to be included on the website, we deliberately sought and enlisted the expertise and talent of survivors in shaping the site. As a result, SurvivorSpace’s content is authentic and inspiring. From tip sheets, videos, and editorials, to poems, spoken word art, and affirmations, SurvivorSpace gives voice to the varied experiences and perspectives of adult survivors of child sexual abuse in ways most websites do not.
Third, we’re just getting started! SurvivorSpace will be expanded in the coming months to include a mobile app and additional resources, such as a downloadable sample Civil Litigation Intake Form for survivors to use when planning to meet with an attorney, different types of online SurvivorCircle sessions, and a “Conversations with Survivors” video series. We will also develop information and resources for loved ones of survivors, professionals who work with survivors, faith communities, and youth-serving organizations. While the foundation of SurvivorSpace will always be survivor-centered, we recognize that addressing child sexual abuse and supporting survivors takes all of us - because sexual abuse impacts all facets of society.
In preparing for the launch of SurvivorSpace, we invited the survivors and other subject matter experts who contributed to the site to beta-test it. One survivor stated, “It definitely feels like you are having a personal, intimate conversation with people who ‘get it,’ and I think this site is going to have a huge impact on survivors.” Another said, “This is a GREAT website. I wish I’d had it in my early years of healing.” And a subject matter expert added, “It feels more like a living room than a doctor’s office, which is SO SO appreciated.”
Zero Abuse Project is pleased to join organizations like #WeRideTogether in supporting survivors and preventing sexual abuse, and we applaud the work of #WeRideTogether to tackle abuse within and beyond the equestrian community. Together, we can end child sexual abuse and ensure that no survivor feels alone.
Becky Perkins, Survivor Support Specialist