What’s Been on Our Minds

Take action: change the culture around sexual violence

Take action: change the culture around sexual violence

OAASIS is building a movement that empowers communities to prevent child sexual abuse and help survivors live full, healthy, joyful lives.

We know that child sexual abuse is part of a larger continuum of sexual violence. We also know that many survivors of child sexual abuse are also survivors of other forms of sexual violence. The recent resurgence of the #MeToo campaign is providing all of us an opportunity to shift the culture’s understanding of sexual violence and work towards systemic changes that better prevent sexual violence.

OAASIS is working with our partners at the Oregon Alliance to End Violence Against Women to help amplify our voices and build momentum for change. We can use your help. Will you join us by submitting a Letter to the Editor (LTE) in response to the Oregonian’s editorial, “Oregon Capitol needs a culture change,” published today?

Things to consider when writing your LTE:

1. LTEs are short, only 250 words or less. We get to keep it brief and impactful!

2. We want to promote a unified message. Please consider incorporating some of the following messages or ideas:

  • Sexual violence is a pervasive problem in Oregon. It doesn’t just impact individual Oregonians; it impacts families and communities across every corner of the state.
  • When people are forced to choose between their safety and their livelihood, no one comes out ahead: not the survivor, their family, their place of business, or the community.
  • Sexual violence is a community problem. The community needs to be part of the solution. Sexual violence is more than an individual’s actions; it is influenced by our cultural beliefs, practices, and structures. Together, our communities can change those influences.
  • It doesn’t have to be this way. We all have a role in creating the world we want to live in.
  • The #MeToo campaign began 10 years ago and is now part of the public conversation in a more visible way. Let’s continue to talk about sexual violence—and let’s take action to create safe, healthy communities. Our leaders in Salem have supported bipartisan efforts to create more safety for survivors, but more needs to be done.

3. You don’t need to disclose abuse in the LTE. Or be a survivor to speak out. Sexual violence impacts everyone in the community. We all have a right to safely speak out for change.

4. Timing is important. Please submit your LTE in the next day or two (by Oct 31).

To submit your LTE, please email it to letters@oregonian.com. Please include your name (which will be printed) and your full address and daytime phone number (which will be used for verification). Let us know if we can help you as you write your LTE.

5. Help us know what you’re saying, too. Please send us a copy of your LTE after you submit it. We’d love to read your insightful words! Since the Oregonian won’t be able to publish every LTE, this will help us keep track of the important conversation.

Thank you for speaking up and speaking out!

Join us Oct 19: a conversation about survivor-centered criminal justice reform

Join us Oct 19: a conversation about survivor-centered criminal justice reform

Imagine a survivor-centered criminal justice system. Think of the support survivors would receive throughout the process. Imagine if survivors’ views on accountability and healing were truly heard. Think of the action and safety plans that would be developed if the criminal justice system were centered on meeting survivors’ needs.

Join us Thursday, Oct. 19, 11:30 – 1, as we hear Danielle Sered, a powerful and groundbreaking victim advocate and criminal justice reform advocate, speak about her work to better meet survivors’ needs, reduce violence, advance racial equity, and reduce mass incarceration.

A few years ago, we had the pleasure of getting to know Danielle Sered’s work at Common Justice, an alternative to incarceration and victim services program in Brooklyn. While Common Justice works with people who have survived (and committed) crimes like robbery and assault, we see how this innovative work holds lessons for our movement to prevent child sexual abuse and help survivors live full, healthy joyful lives.

We hope you’ll join us and take the opportunity to get to know about Danielle‘s work.

“Uncommon Justice” with Danielle Sered

Thursday, October 19 at 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Lewis and Clark College

Templeton Campus Center, Council Chamber

0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd. Portland, OR 97219

The event is free and open to the public. 

Because campus parking is limited, you may consider using Trimet or parking downtown and using the Lewis and Clark Shuttle to reach the venue.

Danielle will present a blueprint for how we can work to both reduce violence and mass incarceration. Danielle‘s work grapples with the world’s complexity and emphasizes meeting the needs of people harmed by crime, ensuring accountability, and advancing racial equity. Danielle‘s work challenges us to re-imagine justice. Her work and thinking are both provocative and inspiring.

Please join us in extending our thanks to our partners in this event: ACLU of Oregon, Criminal Justice Reform Clinic at Lewis and Clark Law School, and Partnership for Safety and Justice.

We hope to see you there!
One white lady’s thoughts on showing up for racial justice

One white lady’s thoughts on showing up for racial justice

When I was 13, I received one of the most important lessons of my life.

My brother was 19 and home for the summer from college. I absolutely adore my big brother–I did then and I do to this day. But when he was 19, he wasn’t necessarily making the smartest decisions. Knowing what we do about brain development, it wasn’t totally his fault. His prefrontal cortex wasn’t fully functional yet and, well, he was making some decisions that reflected that the logical part of his brain wasn’t fully engaged.

My brother was out drinking with friends one night and forgot to bring the key to our house with him. It was late and he didn’t want to ring the doorbell and wake our parents (and then get in trouble for being drunk). So he decided to break into the house. One of the kitchen windows was slightly open and my brother thought he would be able to shimmy it open more. But the window was higher than he could reach, so he found something to stand on so he could reach higher: a plastic bucket.

Unfortunately, only part of the window was located over solid ground. The rest was over a flight of outdoor concrete stairs leading down to the basement. My brother was standing on a plastic bucket, leaning over concrete stairs, trying to push open a window.

He fell down the stairs. Headfirst. And broke the bones around one of his eyes.

He of course then rang the doorbell, bruised and bleeding, and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors put metal plates around his eye to fuse the bones together again. My brother is fine now, but for a while we didn’t know if he’d retain the vision in that eye. It was a time of incredible pain for my brother and incredible stress for my family.

When my brother came home from the hospital, we invited the girl he was dating over for dinner. She had been at the beach with friends the previous weekend and got a bad sunburn. We were all seated around the large circular table in our kitchen: my brother at one end, heavily medicated, barely able to keep his head up, in pain and wondering if he’ll be able to see out of one eye. His girlfriend was at the table, too: complaining non-stop about her sunburn.

My family didn’t have room to hold her pain. It was hard for us to wrap our minds around her inability to see that we were dealing with something much more serious than she was. Yes, her sunburn was bad and deserved care and attention. Just not from us. We didn’t have the capacity to give her what she needed. Especially since she wasn’t showing up for what my brother was going through.

This experience stuck with me. I think of it a lot, especially when I, as a white woman, show up for racial justice and liberation, which is central to our work to end child sexual abuse and helping survivors live fully.

The sexual abuse I experienced as a child caused pain that has impacted many parts of my life and my family member’s lives. This pain deserves care and attention.

And my pain does not supersede the experiences of survivors of color. It is essential for me to have an awareness of the many forms of oppression that people of color experience–oppression that has come at the hands of people who look like me and that structurally benefit me and other people who look like me. As a white person, I have an opportunity to listen to people of color with an open mind and open heart. It is always an honor to strive to be a safe, trustworthy person, whose intention is to get to know someone as fully as they want to share. It is my responsibility to focus on supporting and loving a person whose face has been bashed in, instead of focusing on my sunburn.

I don’t always do this well. I always strive to do this better than before. And I always welcome feedback when my pain is blinding me to someone else’s.

Action Alert! Support safe, stable housing (HB 2004A)

Action Alert! Support safe, stable housing (HB 2004A)

Stable housing is important for people to achieve safety. Survivors of sexual and domestic violence are particularly vulnerable to displacement through no-cause evictions or extreme rent increases. Survivors of sexual and domestic violence, as well as people of color, seniors, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes, are disproportionately impacted when landlords exploit the eviction process. HB 2004A provides greater safety and stability to Oregon renters.

We need you to email your State Senator to say you want them to vote YES on HB 2004A.

Can we count on you to take action today? Just click “Take Action” and we’ll walk you through the quick, easy process.

Action Alert! Restore justice for survivors (SB 737)

Action Alert! Restore justice for survivors (SB 737)

The Oregon Senate has an opportunity to restore justice to survivors of child sexual abuse. SB 737, one of OAASIS’s 2017 legislative priorities, is scheduled for a vote in the full Senate Monday.

SB 737 ensures that people who were sexually abused as children can hold the people who abused them accountable, as well as the institutions that knowingly allowed abusers to be around children. SB 737 restores juries’ power to hear the facts of the case and determine case-by-case justice instead of applying a one-size-fits-all limit on what a jury can determine is fair and just.

We need you to email your State Senator to say you want them to vote YES on SB 737.

Can we count on you to take action today? Just click “Take Action” and we’ll walk you through the quick, easy process.

Join Us April 22nd! Sex Isn’t a Four Letter Word: Talking about Healthy Relationships & Sexual Health

Join Us April 22nd! Sex Isn’t a Four Letter Word: Talking about Healthy Relationships & Sexual Health

OAASIS’s next Chat in April will focus on healthy relationships and sexual health. Abuse can impact the way that we relate to ourselves and others, and healing often involves claiming a healthy way to be our full selves.

Healthy relationships are rooted in consent and respect. Our current culture simultaneously promotes and punishes. Entertainment media sexually idealize youth, while our culture also ascribes fear to human sexuality. Families and communities deserve greater support to help children, young people and adults develop healthy relationships and boundaries.

We can change the culture around child sexual abuse. Join us, Saturday, April 22nd to talk about sex, healthy relationships with self and others, and how to create a culture that supports healthy relationships and boundaries.  During this quarterly chat we will begin to change this culture—starting with ourselves.  Dr. Jane Fleishman and Annie Tabachnick (art therapy professor, Marylhurst University) will share about healthy relationships and sexual health, particularly in the context of having experienced trauma. They will begin by supporting a safe space for honesty and provide an interactive and informative structure for authentic and mutually respectful dialogue to occur.

Presenter and Facilitator: Dr. Jane Fleishman holds her PhD in Human Sexuality from Widener University and is a sexuality educator, researcher, and writer who believes in hope for people who’ve experience sexual or other forms of trauma.  Through Jane’s consulting firm, Speaking About Sex, she believes: “Speaking about sex can be a challenge particularly in the context of trauma and survivors of sexual violence.  Bringing discussions of healthy sexuality necessitates candor and a comprehensive sexuality education approach.  Education about healthy sexuality can result in the development of positive, mutual, and consensual sexual expression.”

Sex Isn’t a Four Letter Word: Talking about Healthy Relationships & Sexual Health

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 @ 9:30
Rose Villa, Portland, Oregon
Register to join us April 22nd. We hope to see you there!
Why we’re marching

Why we’re marching

The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving. – Gloria Steinem

OAASIS is building a movement that empowers communities to prevent child sexual abuse and help survivors live full, healthy, joyful lives. Our movement does not exist in a vacuum. We are impacted by the world around us, just as we impact the world.

For many people, the world around us has been having a more pronounced impact recently. We wrote to you shortly after the election, as we were talking with people who were being harassed and were experiencing trauma (new or triggered from the past). We talked with people who knew they should be treated with dignity and respect, but wondered if other people believed the same thing. We wrote to you to remind you that you are important.

In the months since the election, we continue to hear people’s concerns, fears, and anxieties, as well as ways that people have been harassed. People have wondered: when the world feels overwhelming, what do we do?

We continue to impact the world around us. We continue to build our movement. And we get to support—and be supported by—other movements that share similar principles and goals.

On Saturday, we’ll be joining thousands of people in the Women’s March. Klarissa will march in DC, representing OAASIS under the banner with other powerful organizations: Black Women’s Movement, Just Beginnings Collaborative, A Long Walk Home, Girls for Gender Equity, Sadie Nash Leadership Project, Just Detention International, ACLU, Hope Works of Howard County, Demos, #Our 100 Women of Color Initiative, Women Action in Media, and Mujeres Unidas y Activas. Kerry will be representing OAASIS in Portland, standing up for our values in our home community. We will be moving (literally) in support of principles we hold: dignity; respect; equity; and love.

Here’s why we’re marching: we’re marching because we love our country—and the people in it. We’re marching because we know that we, the people, have powerful voices. We’re marching because we believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect—and we see daily that our structures and systems fail to make this a lived reality, particularly for people of color, low-income communities, women, people who are LGBTQ, people who have intellectual and physical disabilities, people who were born in other countries, and people who our predominant culture deems “other”. We’re marching because we know that we can change these structures and create greater equity and prosperity for us all. We’re marching because we believe that love wins. We’re marching because we believe that every single person has value and deserves to be safe. We’re marching as part of our work to ensure these values are upheld through every level of our government.

You are just as important today as you were on the best day you’ve ever had. We will carry that truth with us while we march, and hold it in all of our work.

Will you also be marching in DC or Portland on Saturday? If you will be in DC and want to march under OAASIS’s banner, please contact Klarissa; contact Kerry if you want to try to march together in Portland. And stay tuned for more opportunities to raise your voice and build our movement during Oregon’s legislative session.

You are important

You are important

Over the last few days since the election, we’ve talked with a lot of people, from a lot of different walks in life, who feel overwhelmed, anxious, and afraid. We talked with people who have experienced violence and harassment in their lives and the trauma from the past felt like wounds being re-opened. We talked with people who have been harassed over the last few days because of the color of their skin, their gender, their immigration status, or their religion. We talked with people who were sexually abused when they were children, who deep down know they’re worthy of being treated with decency and respect, but wonder if other people believe the same thing.

We’re here to tell you—and the rest of our community—that you are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect. Your unique, irreplaceable life is valuable. You are important.

And we greatly appreciate you.

At OAASIS, we seek to grow a community where all people live full, healthy, and joyful lives, and all relationships are based on respect, consent, and equity. We believe that love is a powerful way to create this community. We want a world where love and respect—not fear, not inequity, not violence—lead. And, as we at OAASIS have reminded each other this week, this love is not going to just happen on its own. You and we—all of us—get to make it happen. We need each other to make this transformative love happen.

Today—if you are feeling fear or if you are not—we invite you to look for a way to share love in this world and remind people that they’re important. Maybe you could earnestly look at the person selling you groceries and thank them. Maybe you can email someone to let them know they’re on your mind. Maybe you can gently rest your hand over your own heart and speak a word or two of love to your body that has been with you through hard times and easier ones.

This isn’t a request to put on rose-colored glasses; it’s a call to bring more love and dignity into the world in tangible ways. Right now. We hope you’ll join us. And we hope you’ll post on OAASIS’s Facebook page the way that you brought more love and dignity into the world today. Your words will help us choose love and dignity, as we hope our words might help you.

Your vote is your voice

Your vote is your voice

Would you be able to answer the following question?

“Write every other word in this first line and print every third word in same line, (original type smaller and first line ended at comma) but capitalize the fifth word that you write.”

It’s a confusing question. And it had high stakes. This question was part of a test used to prevent countless people of color from voting in Louisiana, as recently as 1964. If you couldn’t answer this question (and 29 others) correctly in 10 minutes, you couldn’t vote.

Voter suppression efforts like these have been used because voting is a powerful way to stand up for what you believe. One of OAASIS’s beliefs is that we can change the culture around child sexual abuse by speaking truth to power. Voting is one important way of speaking this truth.

If you haven’t already voted, you can drop your ballot off at a dropbox before 8pm tomorrow. Let’s all make sure our voices are heard tomorrow through our votes. And then let’s work with our elected officials to continue to create the world we want to live in.

Oregon House Judiciary Hearing

Oregon House Judiciary Hearing

Oregon House Judiciary Hearing on the criminal statute of limitations for child sex abuse. There were not 5 yes votes out of 9 to get it out of committee.

Join the Movement!

OAASIS is making an impact not only in the State of Oregon, but nationally! We are honored to collaborate with a growing national movement to end child sex abuse, and are doing our part here in Oregon. We need YOUR help!

If you’d like to join this movement, please provide us with your contact information so that we can keep you informed about what is happening to end child sex abuse in Oregon. We may occasionally call upon you to lend your voice and support when needed. Please stand with us to support survivors and protect children!