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Gather Together: a Survivor Support Network

MFACA alumna Hannah Brancato opens the dialogue on sexual violence

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We are excited to share the news that Hannah Brancato (MFA Community Arts '11), a current MICA Faculty member, was awarded the Open Society Institute-Baltimore Community Fellowship. Brancato plans to use her OSI-Baltimore Community Fellowship to organize Gather Together: A Survivor Support Network. This network will work to support survivors, challenging the feelings of shame and isolation that often surround those healing from sexual or domestic abuse in our culture. Survivors will work together to organize projects and events to create their own dialogue about what they feel needs to be said to their community about abuse. Brancato hopes to utilize public space as a way to encourage a more open dialogue between those who have experienced sexual violence and their surrounding community.

Gather Together aims to encourage the community to recognize how many people are affected by sexual violence, and to break the silence of so many survivors by giving them a safe spaces and events to speak to others about their experiences. "We need to disrupt the silence that shrouds the experiences of survivors," Brancato says. "Having more survivor-led dialogue around sexual violence-in public spaces-is a powerful way to do that." By opening up the conversation about sexual violence, Brancato hopes to give survivors a foundation in which they can begin healing out in the open and among others, as well as to form goals for abuse prevention alongside their communiy.

Open Society Institute - Baltimore is a public charity and the sole field office of the Open Society Foundations' U.S. Programs. We focus on the root causes of three intertwined problems in our city and state: drug addiction, an over-reliance on incarceration, and obstacles that impede youth in succeeding inside and out of the classroom. We believe that discussion and debate are critical to making positive, lasting changes. This site is a testing ground where ideas can be considered and discussion can be fostered.

To see the OSI-Baltimore article about Hannah Brancato, visit their website.