The Survivors’ Agenda is a community-driven guide towards the survivor justice that we all deserve. This is an offering of love for those who have navigated sexual abuse and other forms of sexual violence. It is also a guide for those seeking to prevent and interrupt sexual violence, including sexual harassment.
Those who have experienced sexual violence are inherently powerful and resilient. We know what it means to arise out of struggle and face a new day. Survivors are more than our stories of trauma. We are family members, friends, workers, and leaders.
We center those who are often left out of conversations on sexual violence, or who are not even given consideration as victims, much less as survivors. Black, Indigenous and people of color, queer, transgender, intersex, and gender non-binary folks, young folks, workers, immigrants with or without legal protections, those who are disabled, those currently or formerly incarcerated and other historically marginalized groups globally; we believe in the value and power of these voices.
This agenda is about what we are calling for, and what we will no longer stay silent about.
Community Safety and Alternatives to the Criminal Legal System: Our solutions and strategies to address harm must center survivors at every point—from disclosure, to recovery, to restoration. Survivors of sexual violence have the right to feel safe and secure, and protected in their homes and communities. Survivors are and have always been resilient in the face of their violence and abuse. We deserve trauma-informed services with skilled workers trained in the specific emotional and physical needs of survivors, and courageous communities to take up the mantle of safety, accountability, and justice. Survivors need solutions that protect them from immediate harm, as well as solutions to prevent the root causes of violence.
Culture and Narrative Shift: We are calling for a transformation of culture that centers the experiences of all survivors; a culture that doesn’t tolerate or make excuses for the abuse, violence, and harassment by those in power; a culture that encourages being active in preventing and disrupting violence when aware of harmful situations (rather than being a bystander); and a culture that is supportive of survivors of sexual violence, going beyond just “believing” survivors to actively promoting and developing a culture of prevention, accountability, and healing.
Education: As sites of teaching and learning, schools have the power to meaningfully shift our culture by helping students recognize the harm of sexual violence and disrupt the narratives that perpetuate it. All students should be able to learn with safety and dignity, and schools have a chance to create communities where students can gain an education free from violence—a place where they can feel safe and obtain quality knowledge, skills, and the tools to thrive.
Students who experience sexual violence and other forms of sexual harassment deserve responses from educational institutions that prioritize addressing and remedying the harms they have experienced.
Healing Justice: Those who have been harmed by sexual violence should be treated with care and compassion, and given access to the support and services they need and want. Survivors should be able to dictate their own healing journey without barriers based on money or identity. Survivors should be given the space they need, with the understanding from their employers and loved ones that healing is not linear, it isn’t always convenient, and often, there is nothing to “get over” but rather finding ways to carry the trauma while moving forward. Survivors should be treated with dignity and recognition of their humanity at every step.
Health Care: Sexual violence is a public health issue. No matter their sex, race, class, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, or whether they have a disability, all survivors of sexual violence should receive trauma-informed, culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, identity-affirming health care that addresses both their immediate trauma and the long-term physical and mental impacts of sexual violence. Financial insecurity should not be a barrier to receiving that care. This care must prioritize survivors’ needs and be responsive to their own objectives, rather than automatically prioritizing the needs of the criminal legal system. For survivors who can become pregnant, this includes ensuring emergency contraception and abortion are available, affordable, and provided without stigma.
Housing & Transportation: All survivors deserve access to housing and transportation that is affordable, safe, reliable, and maintains their dignity and discretion. This is especially true for Black survivors and survivors of color, low-income survivors, LGBTQIA+ survivors, undocumented survivors, and disabled survivors. Housing and transportation should be well-funded public goods, designed for those who need urgent and immediate services and shelter, and for those who have experienced violence in the past and are seeking ongoing support and healing therapies. This includes widespread access to housing that offers trauma-informed services. Housing and transportation services should be especially directed to serve survivors from marginalized communities.
Workplace Safety & Workers Rights: We must all be able to work with dignity and free from the threat of sexual violence, including sexual harassment. Especially for workers who are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment, such as domestic workers, restaurant and other tipped workers, janitorial and agricultural work that is often done by women of color, immigrant, and low-paid workers. Survivors must lead and be at the center of the movement for change, workers must be able to build power collectively and advocate for what is best for them and their loved ones, and the solutions to workplace discrimination, including sexual harassment, must be focused on preventing the harm before it ever happens, rather than only addressing the problem after it has occurred.