2021 / #dearsurvivorsfu

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) 2021, SFU and FIC students, faculty and staff were invited to submit short messages of hope, care, and support for people who have experienced sexual violence. Within two weeks, we received 50 submissions, which were translated into an image by graphic recorder and illustrator Adriana Contreras. The final artwork conveys the overall themes of the submissions along with representative messages. All 50 messages are listed on the back of the poster.

A note about this project

This project was inspired by Survivor Love Letter, an initiative founded by filmmaker and activist Tani Ikeda in 2012. The purpose of #dearsurvivorsfu is to not to trivialize the realities of trauma and recovery, but to offer this message to people who have experienced sexual violence: Wherever you are in your journey, we see you; we believe you; we are here for you.

We recognize that each person’s experience of sexual violence and journey of healing is unique, and that different forms of support work for different people. Some folks may find this poster validating and uplighting, whereas, others may find it unhelpful or even triggering. We invite you to engage with this image and the messages shared by the SFU and FIC community in ways that facilitate your well-being. We also support the preference to not engage with this resource.

If you feel negatively affected by the images in this poster, we invite you to connect with a case manager at the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office. We provide free, confidential support to SFU and FIC students, faculty and staff who have been directly or indirectly impacted by sexual violence.

To learn more about our comprehensive support and prevention services, please visit this webpage or contact us by email at sv-support@sfu.ca.

Interpretive Guide

The #dearsurvivorsfu artwork is a visual translation of the major themes of the 50 messages that were submitted by SFU and FIC students, faculty, and staff. The design was developed collaboratively between SVSPO staff members and graphic facilitator and illustrator Adriana Contreras.

Each person is invited to find their own meaning(s) in the artwork, but we have also developed an interpretive guide for anyone who is curious about the elements of the image:

  • On the top-left side, we see two figures in an embrace: they represent both a person who is caring for themselves and the embrace of a loved one offering a space for healing.
  • The crowd of people in the centre represents both our solidarity with survivors and the activism that generates social change.
  • Along the bottom, we see a grey landscape, which signifies the physical, psychological or emotional harm from sexual violence. We witness a person cycling through grief, anger, hope, and recovery: a journey of healing that takes many forms.
  • The figure on the far right, looking outward to the viewer, stands with dignity and strength and a fire in their heart, nurtured by love and support from their community.