The first day of our Restless walk has taken us from Starcross to Torquay. For various reasons the predicted 13 mile walk became 18 rainy miles (oof) and my phone tells me we’ve climbed over 2000 feet - the height at which a hill becomes a mountain. There’s something fitting about that. Our theme this walk is moving out of isolation and into nurturing connection, community and belonging, something we can all resonate with after the last year. And as survivors - boy do we have a mountain to climb. Many adult child sex abuse survivors remain very isolated, unable to share their experiences even with their nearest and dearest. The stats speak for themselves - there’s 11 million of us in the UK but we don’t have the community, visibility or collective voice that you’d expect a marginalised population of such a vast size to have. Gaining that collective voice is vital if we want to shake things up culturally and change the barriers many of us face accessing support, education, healthcare and well….. EVERYTHING.
In June we’re coming back to Devon to do some participatory creative walking events for survivors so we’re meeting local organisations to help us connect with different groups who may like to join us. Today we started our walk with Tom from Active Devon and later met Mair from Doorstep Arts. They both joined in with our #MyLineInTheSand campaign - survivors and allies sharing words of connection and community to help draw a line under the silencing of survivors. Tom’s words were “Movement is Medicine” which resonated a lot with the choice we’re making this week to walk and walk and walk some more.
It's Mental Health Awareness Week and yes being active and out in nature definitely supports my wellbeing but even more than that, being part of a movement to make change is great medicine for me. Mair’s word surprised even her - she chose the word “Fleet” and shared the image of different ships coming together on a mission, sharing direction, purpose and momentum, having each other’s backs. Please share your words too using the hashtag #MyLineInTheSand - let’s build this much needed community together whether we’re a survivor, know and love a survivor or just a nice person who wants to see change. You can write on anything - get your crayons/fridge magnets/embroidery out friends.
So my feet hurt, I’m in quite a strange B&B (there’s a shower next to my bed in the actual room???), I’m tucking in to a beer and some chocolate, there are clothes drying everywhere and I’ve climbed a mountain today. I think it’s nearly time for bed zzzz
Previous Restless walks have taken place along the Dorset & Somerset coast in 2018 & 2020 and we even released a song (She walks...) in November during lockdown last year.
You can find out more about the project here: https://www.vivgordon.com/restless
And you can financially support the project and the work we do here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/vivgordonco
welcome to my blog
I'll be posting my personal reflections on creating work as an artist and survivor of childood sexual abuse, my work with the wider sector and interesting developments in arts and mental health.