"Dear Survivor" is our invitation to survivors to be part of a brave space. A space of solidarity, of love, compassion, and empathy.
Navigating spaces while facing trauma, battling systems and structures and oppressors and abusers, and processing your truth can be scary, challenging, and lonely for some.
Through a series of letters, videos, notes, and artwork, the Saahas Community has come together to create a brave space for survivors. Scroll down, and step into the brave.
Image source: AWID -Feminist Realities Toolkit
As clichéd as it sounds, there is hope even when it feels otherwise. On days when you struggle to find it, know that I am carrying enough hope in my heart for the both of us. I will carry enough strength for the both of us when it feels too heavy. You do not have to do this alone. You are not alone, and I hope you find comfort in knowing that.
I will sing to you on nights like these, when the grief of the world seems to sit inside the living room, casually walking in and settling down. I will hum your favourite 70s songs in your ears, wrapped up in the quietness of our love. I will hum so quietly, you'll have to strain your ears just a little bit to catch the tune, guess the song and hum along when you finally feel upto it. I'll wait until you do, I promise. Would you forgive a wrong note?
And I wouldn't stop humming until you hum along, or fall asleep, or both. Once you do, I'll tuck you in with your favourite duvet, with a soft pillow snug between your knees on one side, a safe haven of rest on the other. I'll watch you sleep, smiling as the song enters your dream and lifts the heaviness of the living room. I'll walk with you to a happy place, and once we arrive, fall asleep. I'll wait with you until the morning comes and the sun touches your skin with the newness of today.
I'll entwine my fingers in yours when you open your eyes, and as you smile, I'll know, the night has passed and the song has succeeded. I wouldn’t stay if you’d rather be alone. I wouldn’t leave if you’d rather have a cup of two teas. I’ll be you and you may be me and you may not summon me in your sacred spaces. You may not walk me to your newer edges, everyday, getting there, finding new land in air steps. We’ll find a new song for every night when sleep doesn’t come, and if it still doesn’t we’ll simply change the rules. We’ll brush our fingers against the walls if holding hands isn’t quite doing it and hear the world happily breathing inside, a cell at a time.
You’ll be you, and I’ll be you and we’ll share a cup of two teas.
It is not your fault
There is nothing you did or said that asked for this
There is no action or words, no way of being, that deserves violence like the one shown towards you
It is not your fault
I am sorry
I am sorry for your pain
I am sorry for the violence shown towards you
I am sorry for those who told you its your fault - IT IS NOT
I am sorry that you were met with inaction or unsupportive action when you shared it with some
I'm sorry for all the pain you have been through
I'm sorry for the trauma that impacts every part of your life
Trigger Warning: This letter contains a survivor's personal story. Mentions of Sexual Violence are placed in this letter. Please do not proceed if reading it may trigger painful memories.
With Love, Harini