This Campaign Encourages Sexual Assault Survivors To Write Themselves Love Letters

“After internalizing so much self-hate, perhaps the most radical thing I can do is love myself.”

1. Every February, Los Angeles resident and filmmaker Tani Ikeda said that she goes through a struggle on the anniversary of her assault.

“Valentine’s Day is always hard for me because every store front is decorated in red and pink reminders that this was the day I was sexually assaulted,” Ikeda told BuzzFeed News.

Photo courtesy of Tani Ikeda

3. So Ikeda decided to spend this year’s Valentine’s Day organizing #SurvivorLoveLetter, a campaign that encourages survivors of sexual assault to write themselves love letters.

5. “After internalizing so much self-hate, perhaps the most radical thing I can do is love myself,” she said.

Survivor Love Letter / Via

6. Ikeda organized a hashtag and Tumblr page along with Suey Park, another feminist activist, as “an act of defiance, a declaration of self-love, and a call to allies to honor the survivors in their lives.”

For many survivors, specific days are especially triggering. #ValentinesDay is linked to a culture of sexual violence. #survivorloveletter

— Suey Park (@suey_park)

Healing isn't linear. Some days may be awful, but some days might feel hopeful. Good days and bad days. #survivorloveletter

— Suey Park (@suey_park)

Surviving is more than enough, but I hope everyone has the support they need to thrive as well. One step at a time. #survivorloveletter

— Suey Park (@suey_park)

9. “I imagined what it would mean for my younger self to wake up on Valentine’s Day and read message after message of public support for surviving,” she said. “That’s when I knew I wanted to create #SurvivorLoveLetter.”

Survivor Love Letter / Via

10. The campaign has received an “overwhelming” number of submissions so far, both anonymously and publicly.

Survivor Love Letter / Via

11. Even though #SurvivorLoveLetter was centered around on Valentine’s Day, the organizers hope people continue to submit their love letters on Tumblr and use the hashtag as a “daily declaration of self-love.”

Survivor Love Letter / Via

12. “Many of the messages I received confessed that they had never written a love letter to themselves before and that it was an incredibly healing experience,” Ikeda said.

Survivor Love Letter / Via

13. You can follow the #SurvivorLoveLetter hashtag on Twitter or visit the Tumblr page to learn more.

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