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168 Amplifying day-to-day sexual violence healing experiences through photography and storytelling
  1. Laura Sinko
  1. University of Pennsylvania


Purpose The purpose of this work is to discuss the therapeutic and translational value of using creative research activities to describe the healing journeys of survivors of campus sexual violence.

Approach Ethnographic narrative interviews (n=24) and follow up photo-elicitation interviews (n=19) were conducted with survivors of undergraduate sexual violence to help them describe their healing journeys. These stories were translated into a video and an interactive photography exhibit built with community partners to build a group narrative about what healing after sexual violence looks and feels like.

Results Overall, participants noted the therapeutic value of engaging in this type of research and that the visual nature of the work gave them new ways of looking at their situation. Two hundred forty six people attended our interactive exhibit and attendees noted the exhibit’s ability to educate them about the healing process while also validating and shedding light on the experiences of sexual violence survivors. Our video won an award at Awareness Film Festival and has been used for service organization and student trainings since.

Conclusion This work highlights the value of creative research strategies in exploring the healing journeys of survivors of sexual violence. This work also reveals the importance of research dissemination and how sharing survivor stories can build community and feelings of universality knowing that individuals are not alone in their experiences.

Significance This methodology will be tested as a potential intervention in the upcoming year and this event will be replicated in the Philadelphia community to further explore what sexual violence healing looks like within university institutions and their surrounding communities. This gives voice to those who do not have the privilege or desire to share their stories publicly themselves, but want to contribute to a larger group narrative to educate and advocate for survivors of sexual violence.

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