Time: 1:00-3:30pm ET
Limit 8 Students
Text, Power, Telling Workshop
Those of us who have experienced sexual trauma have endured events that cannot be characterized or described; there is only “before” and “after.” These events have shaped our worlds in such a way that we may not remember a “before.” Collectively, we grieve this nameless loss, yet labels attributed to our plight, such as “victim” or “survivor,” can mislead and create a false narrative used by those we trust with our stories, and ourselves, to understand what has happened. At some point, it becomes easier to accept the narrative others create for us because it protects them and us. However, these narratives often lack honesty and tend to follow an arc that diminishes rather than empowers.
Nevertheless the details we do not share remain within us and can be toxic. These are the details that others do not want to hear about because it makes them uncomfortable and a lack of receptivity can undermine and diminish what is often a fragile grasp of what happened, how it happened, and an acknowledgment of damage. We keep the details secret. These are the details that make us feel shame; we hide them even from ourselves. Yet, rendering these truths and the difficult feelings they create can be healing.
This workshop will provide the opportunity for those who have experienced sexual trauma to use writing as a vehicle for deeper exploration and to create a healing text. Viewing the text as a living body, as the place that we hide, participants will be given the opportunity to anonymously work in text with an honest engagement of their experiences, however those experiences manifest for them. In this way, the text frees us from labels–perhaps there is no simple narrative arc, perhaps there are gaps in memory–in the creation of a new genre that challenges specific roles and instead allows us to safely gain power over the telling of our experiences.
This workshop is open to folx who have experienced sexual trauma. We define sexual trauma broadly: there is no value in measuring or evaluating the legitimacy of others’ suffering. Sexual harm takes many forms. We recognize that sexual trauma occurs across identities, communities, and contexts; this workshop is inclusive and welcomes all. We recognize, too, that sexual trauma happens more frequently to and often creates increased hardship for (in terms of accessing resources and support) individuals with multiple, marginalized intersecting identities
This is a generative workshop open to writers of all levels. Limited to ten students.
Time: 1:00-3:30pm ET
Limit 8 Students
Meet Your Instructors:
Jackie Regan, Ph.D., co-founder of Text, Power, Telling.org, is a survivor of childhood sexual assault by a priest at the Catholic school she attended. For many years, she wrote about her experiences, sharing in writing groups and with trusted others. Not until she attended a Memoir University’s Anonymous Writing Workshop for Sexual Assault Survivors was she finally honest about what happened and stopped protecting herself from the details and feelings that resulted from the repeated assaults. She found the experience life-changing, and it provided a major step in her self-healing and acceptance. Jackie is a trained Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate for Bergen County. She teaches in the Writing Studies Department at Montclair State University.
Jess Restaino, Ph.D., co-founder of Text, Power, Telling.org, grew up in (and out of) a sexually abusive home. She is a product of intimate partner rape; her childhood and adolescence were shaped by her mother’s chronic trauma and her own. She continues to work at pulling the threads of these conjoined traumas apart. Her friendship with Susan Lundy Maute, whose last years with terminal breast cancer Jess tracks in her ethnographic study, Surrender: Feminist Rhetoric and Ethics in Love and Illness (2019), first taught her about the value of leaning into dark spaces, uncertainty, and loss. Driven by that initial experience, Jess has gone on–following Sue’s death–to take up deeper engagement with her own history while acknowledging the limits to what any of us can understand or fully know. Jess teaches in the Writing Studies Department and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program at Montclair State University.
Once the payment process is completed, you will receive an automatic confirmation of your order. Your workshop instructor will then e-mail you to introduce themselves within 10 business days about the workshop starting information and instructions for accessing the learning platform.
Refund Policy: There is a cancellation fee of 15% included in each registration. Memoir Magazine will not issue a refund if a cancellation occurs within 48 hours of the class start time. Memoir Magazine University cannot provide refunds, transfer payments, or offer makeup sessions for classes a student might miss, for any reason.
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