Rape culture makes it difficult for people to disclose an assault. Often survivors choose not to report for many reasons, such as barriers to reporting, fear of not being believed, and others. Stories can be powerful, and sometimes it takes just one person to tell their story so others are empowered to come forward. This is why it is important for advocates to understand how to support survivors in the storytelling process.
Over the last few months, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) partnered with StoryCenter to bring us the Storytelling Webinar Series. This series of recorded webinars explores trauma-informed storytelling methods, how to be trauma sensitive when working with personal stories, ethical practice in working with personal stories, and creative ways to position stories as tools for social change.
The series includes:
- Session One: Introduction to the Value of Personal Storytelling for Sexual Violence Intervention - This webinar introduces the use of storytelling in sexual violence intervention and presents the story circle approach to storytelling.
- Session Two: Understanding a Trauma-Sensitive Approach to Storytelling - This webinar discusses how to approach storytelling in a trauma-informed way and reviews methods for screening storytellers, how to collect stories, and strategies on evaluating your storytelling project.
- Session Three: A Review of Ethics Guidelines for Working with Sexual Violence Stories - This webinar reviews ethical guidelines for working with survivor stories and introduces and discusses participants’ ethical concerns around the use of survivor stories.
- Session Four: Publicly Sharing Stories to Effect Change - The final webinar in the series concludes with sharing stories to effect social change. It provides an overview of StoryCenter’s distribution model, appropriate story framing techniques, and how to use stories for individual, community, and policy change.
StoryCenter is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of personal storytelling and video production. StoryCenter's participatory media workshops blend creative writing, oral history, and hands-on digital production to support small groups of people in sharing stories from their own lives. The organization has a long history of trauma-informed digital storytelling work with statewide sexual assault coalitions, agencies, and campus-based programs, including the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, Peace Over Violence (formerly the Los Angeles Coalition on Assaults Against Women), Community Violence Solutions (San Pablo; formerly the Rape Crisis Center), University of Alabama, Swarthmore College, City College of San Francisco, and more.