Who We Are
Support New York is dedicated to healing the effects of sexual assault and abuse. Our aim is to empower survivors, to hold accountable those who have perpetuated harm, and to maintain a community dialogue about consent, mutual aid, transformative justice, and our society’s narrow views of abuse. We believe that everyone has a role to play in ending inter-personal violence, and we look to those who have been most affected to guide us. We value experience over experts, passion over professionals, and devotion over degrees.
We came together in 2005 in order to create our own safe(r) space and provide support for people of all genders, races, ages and orientations, separate from the police and prison systems that perpetuate oppression. A safer space is a supportive, non-threatening environment that encourages open-mindedness, respect, a willingness to learn from others, as well as physical and mental safety. It is a space that is critical of the power structures that affect our everyday lives, and in which power dynamics, backgrounds, behavior and how these things affect others are prioritized. It’s a space that respects survivors’ specific needs. We believe that experts are not always able to provide everything we need, and that all of us are capable of helping each other heal.
For a list of our basic founding principles / points of unity, see our Pillars.
HOW WE WORK
Okay, say you have a situation that you’re dealing with. You don’t know who to talk to, where to go for help or what to do, check out our links or list of resources. If you have specific questions we might be able to answer, contact us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to respond. Please note that we are transitioning out of being an active collective but will periodically check the email to potentially help find suitable medical or counseling resources, reading & resource lists, explore accountability options with the perpetuator(s). In addition to providing an accountability curriculum, we have occasionally mentored other groups doing transformative justice processes and could do so on a case-by-case basis in the future. We have an open network of people we maintain contact with to collaborate on various projects including helping with safer space teams at special events so you may see us around from time to time.
HOW WE DEFINE CONSENT
In order to make sure the sexual activity you are engaging in feels safe for everyone involved, it is important to establish consent and make sure that you and your partner(s) are comfortable. This means determining what peoples’ boundaries are before beginning or taking any new steps, either through verbal communication, or through some kind of previously agreed upon sign. Consent is the presence of “yes” and not just the absence of “no,” with the understanding that everyone can change their mind, stop, or back up at any time. In order to work towards making a truly informed decision, you can identify all pertinent information, and each person can take into account different forms of privilege and power, such as age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, survivor status, STI status, class, race, etc. Consent should be established each and every time sexual activity happens, regardless of past interactions. If someone has been misled, pressured, or threatened, they cannot give informed consent. Additionally, the use of alcohol or other substances can interfere with someone’s ability to make clear decisions about the level of intimacy they are comfortable with. The more intoxicated a person is, the harder it is to give conscious consent.
We don’t know everything about consent. This is a general set of guidelines. Only you know what you are comfortable with and what is best for you. Knowing your own boundaries, feelings, and desires can help you better define what you consent to, and communicating this to your partner(s) can also make sex more fun! Understanding consent is a big step towards sexual liberation, plus it’s totally sweet!