*Trigger Warning: discussion of sexual assault*
This zine project seeks to center survivors’ voices (writing/art/etc) in a discussion about sexual assault and sexuality and/or asexuality. Contributors are welcome to interpret this topic how they wish – ie: sexuality/asexuality means different things to different folks, that’s great and totally cool! If folks would prefer to describe their experiences with words other than sexual assault that is also super valid! This zine hopes to highlight the fact that identities are intersectional and thus submissions that discuss the interconnections of race, class, (dis)ability, gender with sexuality/asexuality and sexual assault are encouraged and welcomed. The survivors who are most often heard are white heterosexual cis women, this zine will seek to not continue privileging those voices.
~~~ Please send submissions or questions to email@example.com by AUGUST 1st 2014! ~~~
The idea for this zine comes from conversations and experiences that suggest that the dominant narratives surrounding sexuality and sexual assault, especially as the two relate to queerness, privilege or insist on an understanding of sexuality as fixed. This can be the case for a number of reasons, including an attempt to deny any causal relationship between sexual assault and queerness that further homophobia and transphobia, or understandings of queerness as caused by trauma and thus necessarily perverted. As well, the dominance of fixed sexuality in conversations about sexual assault can be for the purpose of ‘empowering’ survivors to reclaim their ‘true’ sexuality.
Narratives centering on “sexual dysfunction” following sexual assault forward a single idea of survivorship which prizes a reclaimed/never lost “healthy” or “normal” sexuality.
This zine hopes to create a space for survivors to articulate their own understanding of their sexuality and sexual assault. It aims to be a space where folks can describe their own sexuality how they see fit, whether that be as fixed, fluid, “dysfunctional,” “healthy,” uninfluenced by sexual assault, or transformed/transforming. The basis for the project is that folks’ understandings of their own sexuality and their sexual assault are all valid, but that they should be self-defined and not generalized or prescribed.
Prompting Questions!! (not necessary to use, but feel free to if they seem helpful!)
– How does your understanding of your sexuality influence (or not influence) your understanding of sexual assault?
– How does your sexuality influence (or not influence) the ways you choose to describe yourself/your experiences?
– Do you feel that your experience(s) with sexual assault have influenced your sexuality or the way that you relate to your sexuality? Have you been able to express this?
– Do you feel that your experience(s) with sexual assault have not impacted your sexuality? Have you been able to express this?
– Have the ways that sexuality and sexual assault are discussed in different settings (ie sexual assault centers, queer/LGBTQ organizations, medical institutions, counseling services, with friends/family etc) been empowering?
– How does your understanding of your identity(ies) interact with your experience(s) with sexual assault? Have you been able to communicate those intersections?
– Are dichotomous narratives of before/after sexual assault helpful for understanding your sexuality? Why or why not?
Folks of all genders are welcome to submit written or artistic pieces that they feel fit the theme of the zine. Submissions are welcome to be anonymous, or under a real name. Contributors should have lived experience with sexual assault, but need not identify with the label “survivor,” or describe their experiences as “sexual assault.”
*** Submissions will be accepted by email to “ firstname.lastname@example.org ” or alternate arrangements can be made. ***
This zine is a summer stipend project of the Union for Gender Empowerment! Check the UGE out at: http://unionforgenderempowerment.org/