The Importance of Survivors in Leadership

As a leader, I want to encourage other girls to believe that it is possible to rise above our situations and circumstances.”

Mary, aspiring lawyer

There is a question that must be asked of humans, of pioneers in our industries, and of conduits of healing and social change: “What are the characteristics of a great leader?”
Perhaps your response would include strength, empathy, determination, initiative, or even a heart for systemic reform. These traits, among others, are vital in the mending of impoverished communities, and found no further than here in the women, the heart of these same communities.

Freely In Hope

As survivors of assault, we have a unique and powerful position to eradicate gender-based violence in our society. Historically, the first response from more marginalized societies is to reach outside of the local sphere to import a solution, but the most powerful and courageous leaders are actually found within. Because they have experienced the oppression of what they are trying to fight against, they have the ideas for powerful solutions. Freely in Hope advocates for survivors of sexual violence in leadership, because we understand the impact of assault and the aftermath if action is not taken.

Great leadership draws from conviction, and effective advocacy draws from understanding our community’s needs. It is important for survivors to be in leadership because women are the mothers of the nation, exemplifying compassion and concern for others, and a fierce empathy for those who have been taken advantage of. The rights of women and children find a protector in the unwavering support from survivors of gender-based violence.

“Given a chance to be a leader in the community, I will use my platform to continue sharing my story and to encourage broken hearts. I will fight for laws to be passed against those who abuse girls sexually, plan seminars and support groups, and I will fight for free education for the girl child.”

Nina, aspiring psychologist

Freely In Hope

When we have clear goals set, we will achieve them. Women have the ability to multitask as leaders, advisors, and educators; relating to specific experiences that love has the ability to heal.
We focus without deviating; with God’s help, we will overcome the challenges that come our way, using them as stepping stones to our destiny. The most traumatic experiences of survivors are made beautiful at God’s appointed time, and our scars are invested into the bettering of the community.

Written by the collective voices of Freely in Hope survivor-leaders.
Edited by Naia Tillery

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Mental Healing, a photo series

I was that sad girl because of the rape and trauma that had impacted me. I felt so hopeless. I even altered my name to pretend to be someone else. I had lost trust in everyone and thought that they were going to harm me just like the perpetrator did, I knew him well too.

Mental Health Practices for Survivors by Survivors

As a survivor, we often feel alone in our pain and suffering. This sense of loneliness may lead to depression, withdrawal, or self-harm. It’s important to remember that we are not alone and that there are systems of support available to help us heal.

Nurturing Your Child’s Mental Health

When it comes to children, you as the parent are the first level of support and that sometimes can feel like a daunting task. Beginning to care for your child’s mental health begins with knowing your child and what their “normal” looks like. Use that as a basis to understand and appreciate their uniqueness.

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