I love community-based consent and sexuality education and prevention work, and have been engaged in it for years now, in queer, flow arts, and movement communities. Over that time, I’ve also been working in rape crisis centers on hotlines and facilitating support groups, with access to training and professional development to support me in my growth as a teacher and facilitator.
And even though I’m a full-time anti-violence professional now, I know that we will never create a healthy culture around sexuality or end sexual violence without engaging grassroots leaders throughout our communities as advocates. I enjoy seeing organizers and advocate leaders take point on promoting respect, consent, and embodied sexuality in the communities they hold dear. And I want to see them succeed, which means taking some of the ideas that are essential training components for professional advocates and making them accessible for grassroots advocates.
In connecting with grassroots advocates and educators and exploring their workshops and programs, I’ve started identifying gaps that would be easy to fill with simple resources. One piece of feedback I frequently find myself offering is the importance of having workshops and classes that are trauma-informed. For a while, I didn’t have a specific, accessible, education-focused resource to refer them to — with solid information presented at the right register — but encouraged them to continue reading up on trauma-informed teaching, structure, and educational activities. And then I developed a training for my day job around trauma-informed prevention education. And as I was thinking through how to make educational activities be more trauma-informed, I kept revisiting… Structure. Activities. Language.
One of my favorite hobbies (other than fire-spinning) is making homemade salves and lip balms. I take a mix of olive and coconut oils and infuse it for weeks with skin-loving herbs and flowers before straining and using to make all-natural skincare salves. One night after having made a batch of salves to give as gifts, I was in the shower, processing through some of the ways I might present trauma-informed teaching in an accessible way. Structure, Activities, Language. And then the acronym occurred to me — SALVE!
Structure – Activities – Language – Validation – Experiences
Want to make sure your consent education, sexuality education, or prevention education is more trauma-informed? Use my new SALVE Self-Check tool to review your developing or existing workshop, program, or curriculum, and reach out to schedule an online or in-person training on incorporating trauma-informed principles into your program or practice.