Who are we?
We are an independent network of people who have suffered sexualized violence, people who love people who have suffered sexualized violence, and people who are just plain fed up with the harm that sexualized violence does in our communities and around the world. We are people who are concerned, specifically, about the spiritual dimensions of sexualized violence and the presence of sexualized violence in communities of faith. Many of us have a connection to the Mennonite church in North America (MC USA and MC Canada), whether we are participating members, former members or are connected in some other way. Those with no Mennonite connection whatsoever are also welcome in this space and in the work we do together.
OSU is all of the people who connect here. Our daily operations are run by Hilary J. Scarsella (Director) and Barbra Graber (Editor). If you would like to get involved, let us know or contact Hilary or Barbra directly.
What do we do?
We support each other, advocate for people who have suffered sexualized violence, and organize to end sexualized violence in our communities – lovingly, fiercely, imperfectly, and as best we can. Here are a few of the specific ways we go about our work:
- We do our best to make the OSU website a public space where people who have suffered sexualized violence can share their stories, be heard, and be received with support and respect. Speaking up and refusing to carry the burden of keeping the life-destroying secret of sexualized violence can be a powerful part of survivors’ processes of rebuilding ourselves and our lives in the aftermath of violence. Because sexualized violence thrives in secrecy, breaking the silence – one story at a time – is also an act that cracks away at systemic perpetuation of sexualized violence in our communities. Because it is our priority that OSU be an environment in which people who share testimony of sexualized violence can feel supported in doing so, comments made on personal testimony are carefully moderated.
- We offer those who want to share their testimony on OSU support in the writing process. Have an experience you want to share and don’t know how to begin? You are most welcome to send us a message.
- We create space for conversation around sexualized violence and its prevalence in communities of faith. If our communities are going to become places of hospitality, safety and justice for survivors of sexualized violence and those who are vulnerable to such violence in the future, we need space to talk about what’s wrong and how we can make it right. The articles posted on the OSU blog aim to prompt that conversation from as many different angles as possible. We encourage all of our readers to engage OSU posts with an attitude of respect and a desire to both learn and contribute.
- As we are able, we offer educational and liturgical resources for individuals and communities wanting to dig deep in their commitment to resist sexualized violence and stand in loving solidarity with victims and survivors. Check our resources page (which will be under development through the summer of 2016) for a full description of what we offer and links to materials put together by people and organizations we think are great.
- In all of our work, we are committed to addressing sexualized violence through an intersectional lens that considers the ways that race, culture, class, age, ability, gender, sexuality and more impact our understanding of sexualized violence and what needs to be done to stop it.
**Our Stories Untold partners closely with SNAPmenno, the Mennonite chapter of the international Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Both Hilary and Barbra are active, founding members of SNAPmenno.