Exhibition featuring stories and art of survivors and activists

Sahara Services to launch #notmysecret as part of their sexual abuse awareness campaign to end the silence surrounding it.

On April 5th, 2019, Sahara Services, in collaboration with Social Foundry, will be hosting an evening with survivors and artists, showcasing their art around themes of sexual abuse, empowerment and healing. Featured visual and spoken art, and stories, will reflect creators’ personal experience as survivors of sexual abuse or will be empathetic renditions of similar experiences of loved ones and others. Besides art and performances, the event will also feature a well-­‐known psychologist, whose substantial body of work includes working with and empowering survivors of sexual abuse.

  • “One in three women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.”
  • “One in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.”
  • “39% of Canadian adult women reported having had at least one experience of sexual assault since the age of 16”

Despite the frequency of actual incidents of sexual violence, the general tendency in society is to not discuss issues around this because of discomfort and shame – even survivors, to avoid social and familial repercussions, are forced to silence their truth, which in of itself obstructs the process healing. To challenge these regressive attitudes and embolden voices of survivors, this evening will be a platform for the launch of Sahara’s #notmysecret campaign, which is a part of their multi-­‐pronged sexual abuse awareness and remedial initiatives.

“Our society, or certain elements make survivors feel that they must remain quiet about their experiences because of the shame associated with it, and with being a survivor of abuse, but it is never a survivor’s fault and silence should never be their burden to bear. Silence not only fosters abuse, but it allows perpetrators to prey on innocent victims; it’s time to end the silence,” says Nimi Chauhan, founder and president of Sahara Services.

Sahara is a volunteer driven organization

Net proceeds from this event will go towards covering counselling sessions and other therapies for applicable survivors at Moving Forward Family Services.

Sahara Services was a non-­‐profit organization founded in 2006, and ever since, has endeavoured to educate and empower children and families affected by abuse and violence through culturally conscientious advocacy. Their services had previously included outreach and advocacy, organizing community forums, facilitating empowerment groups and providing individualized support services. As part of their local awareness program in 2018, among other initiatives, Sahara commissioned and executed a well-­‐attended play around sexual abuse in families. The organization currently funds free on-­‐going counselling services for eligible survivors in partnership with Moving Forward Family Services.

Social Foundry was formed in 2018 as collective network that supports, finances, and celebrates female social justice innovation. Social Foundry’s collective’s disruptive model redefines how women of colour (and their allies) support one another, and its focus is based on generosity and values that have an intersectional lens.