Care was founded and developed by myself, Angela Caceres, and Stichting Our Bodies Our Voice. In Care, we offer support groups for students and/or staff of universities who are survivors/victims of sexual violence. CARE is a non-therapeutic support group, in that it is not offered as a substitution for therapy and it cannot suffice on its own as the optimal therapeutic plan for people suffering from trauma. However, CARE support groups are therapist-led groups, led by myself and Angela Caceres, and we aim to provide therapeutic benefits to its members through the establishment of a safe space, the constitution of trusting relationships among the members and the sharing of their concerns and experiences. In Care support groups, the members can go through the process of healing and navigating life with trauma, along with other survivors.
Why we developed Care?
The reason that we developed Care is that Sexual violence and harassment are gender-based issues and often find their roots in structural power divisions and mechanisms that operate through institutions. We found that universities, as public organizations, offer us a great opportunity to reach out to survivors and offer them a safe space in which to find community. In the Netherlands, for instance, up to one-third of the victims are under the age of 18 (Centrum Seksueel Geweld, 2018 report) which means that the university could become a key and accessible resource for many of them.
Our first and foremost goal with CARE is to offer survivors of sexual violence support, a space to feel safe, and a stable community. We recognized the stigma and loneliness that often accompanies survivors/victims of sexual violence and we felt that it is important that we create a space where people can feel safe, meet people that have been through similar experiences, reduce their isolation and by doing so improve community building.
As expats that have experienced Dutch academia, we understand the difficulties that exist within the university context, especially for international students. Loneliness, anxiety, stress, missing home and loved ones are only some of the difficulties that students can experience. When a history of trauma or an incident of sexual assault/harassment is added to the equation, someone’s well-being and level of functioning can be impaired. One of our goals in bringing Care in the context of the Dutch Universities is to create a safe space for the members of the university to share their stories and concerns on a consistent weekly basis and build a long-lasting community safeguarded by confidentiality and trust that will support and accompany them through their academic journey.
As an extension, our widespread goals are to de-pathologize conversations around sexual violence and survivors and break the stigma and shame that exists around it. On an individual level, we want to increase the autonomy of survivors and reduce the impact of sexual violence on survivors.
Our first project was Care-Amsterdam, which began as a pilot programme in June of 2019 funded by the Diversity office of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Currently, we are still running the same group, while preparing another support group for staff members of the university, and one for bipoc students of the University of Amsterdam, all supported and funded by the Diversity office of the Uva. At the same time, in September 2020, we began our collaboration with Leiden University and organized Care-Leiden. Our goal as Care is to expand to more universities in the Netherlands so that more students can have the opportunity to be supported by, and support other survivors.
Meet the Founders
Co-Founder of Care
Clinical Psychology MSc, Gender Studies MA, Therapist, Gestalt therapy trainee
Co-Founder of Care
Phychologist, Specialized in Gender (UU) and Contextual Therapies(UA)
If you are interested in a collaboration with CARE, use my contact form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org