A Collective Journey of Awareness and Empowerment
Ten months since its launch, A.N.B.U. அன்பு is preparing to kick off its video series awareness campaign. A.N.B.U., which stands for Abuse Never Becomes Us, is a not-for-profit community organization that provides services to those impacted by childhood sexual abuse within the Tamil community.
Their video campaign will be unveiled on January 20th at a community gathering. This launch event will premier the first of the monthly video series that will raise awareness on various issues experienced as a by-product of child sexual abuse for survivors and their loved ones. They will feature fabulous folks from several personal, professional, and political perspectives mindful of involving all voices including but not limited to LGBT2Q populations across the spectrum of race, shade, caste, ability, faith, religion and spirituality.
In attendance at the event will also be other community groups that are doing powerful work. A.N.B.U. believes in the power of collaboration to lead the road for personal and collective transformation. They are inviting individuals and organizations to join them for an evening of opportunities to network, view artwork created by survivors, hear spoken word, see theatre and dance performances along with a psychoeducation piece by two bright Tamil healthcare professionals. To ensure the event is accessible, the various elements will include Tamil and English components.
The inception of the organization first came about in 2015, initially with an intention to work with the South Asian population more broadly as the founders were uncertain around the extent to which Tamilians would be open to engaging in dialogue around childhood sexual abuse. However, a few conversations and observations challenged and changed their perceptions. A.N.B.U.’s co-founders, Jenny Starke and Tharshiga Elankeeran were pleasantly surprised to see just how many people were willing to actively discuss what many still consider/ed a taboo.
Subsequently, when Jenny shared her experiences through an article in September 2015, it became even clearer to them both where the dialogue of trauma needed to start. There are three key components that correlate with the reasoning behind why Jenny and Tharshiga felt that this issue needed to be addressed within the Tamil community. The historical trauma and lasting impacts of the 26-year long civil war, the intergenerational impact and the lack of language and language barrier between parents and children regarding issues of violence and trauma.
Jenny and Tharshiga officially launched A.N.B.U. in March 2016. A.N.B.U.’s perspective is that childhood sexual abuse is a global issue and that they are building on and exploring the Tamil community’s capacity and raising awareness within the community. They aspire to utilize our acts of resistance and identify creative avenues to discuss trauma and healing given the gaps and barriers that exist within the community. Since the official launch, their team has continued to grow with the addition of many new members who are passionate about A.N.B.U.’s mission and committed to being a part of this collective change.
At the present time, the organizations’ programs and services include one on one peer support and outreach. The experience of childhood sexual abuse differs across people but often times, the accompanying feelings, thoughts and behaviors are parallel. There is unity in the struggle and an understanding that is deeply personal. A.N.B.U. has been taking part in and seeking opportunities to speak about childhood sexual abuse in various forums.
A.N.B.U. envisions a future where Tamil people who have been impacted by childhood sexual abuse can find their voice. Their mission is to provide healing and empowerment through holistic support, resources, and advocacy on behalf of Tamil people who have been impacted by childhood sexual abuse.
For those interested in joining the organization or seeking assistance, the team invites you drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or to call 289 801 ANBU (2628). Community allies and supporters are never asked to disclose or identify as survivors to be involved. A.N.B.U. invites anyone that self identifies as Tamil or as an ally of the Tamil community and is passionate about raising awareness and preventing incidences of childhood sexual abuse. There are no costs involved for those seeking support, resources and/or referrals.
Just shy of marking a year of doing the incredible work that they do, A.N.B.U.’s founders shared that the most rewarding aspect of their work has been making dialogue around trauma possible within the Tamil community. This is the true objective and purpose of A.N.B.U.
At the event books of powerful survivor narratives created by one of A.N.B.U.’s superstars, Jessica Thyriar, will be available for sale . Be sure to grab a copy before they’re gone!