Our Executive Director, Dr. Christy Sim, was invited to present a paper at this year's Wesleyan Theological Society Meeting at Asbury Seminary. This event was the 52nd annual conference where over 270 scholars, pastors, and theologians gathered together.
Her paper equipped readers with tools for a voice and role in healing after domestic violence and sexual assault.
Dr. Sim shared, "Violence intimidates another human in a way that creates a biological reaction that continues when the threat has passed. This process does not simply fade away. In order to keep the body safe and alive later, the body and brain work in a way that searches for similarities to the threat. This means normal situations might seem threatening to a survivor of violence. It also means their bodies often react in paradoxical ways for quite some time."
But Dr. Sim insisted that healing was possible and encouraged faith leaders to take an active role in creating healing opportunities for survivors. "Healing is what is hoped for after the experience of violence," she said. "There might be damage to the body, harm to the skin, bones, mind, and the spirit, but people generally want to believe there is a potential for healing." For we know healing is more than just an ending of trauma symptoms. Sim continues "When it comes to violence, healing is about thriving. It is about living well in spite of trauma" and "after autonomy is violated."
The appendix of this paper included a case study of the programs offered by Stronger Than Espresso. Both the art healing workshops and the support group classes were evaluated to see if these healing opportunities met the requirements set out in the paper. Participant surveys indicated Stronger Than Espresso was indeed allowing opportunities for releasing pain, facilitating healing, and providing opportunities for survivors to feel seen, heard, and felt.
Dr. Sim will continue to research best practices for healing after domestic abuse and sexual assault and continue to work these into all the healing tools offered by Stronger Than Espresso.
The WTS Press Release is available to view here.