Kristen Schultz Oliver, Exhale’s Director of Programs, presented at Sex:Tech 2010 on the “beta-phase” of our private online community space for women post-abortion. It was the first time we reported on our experiences and findings publicly and Kristen will have a blog post up about it soon here. In the meantime, you can now download her presentation at the Sex:Tech website.
Kristen Schultz Oliver created Exhale, a site for women to support each other after abortions. The site runs on the Ning social network platform after extensive customization. Since removing all the public sharing features and external linking to Facebook and Twitter, it has become an anonymous sanctuary. Strict criteria is employed to create a completely supportive environment where only women who have had an abortion can join. No politics, rudeness or personal attacks are allowed, and personal stories, mutual support and gratitude proliferate.
And co-panelist Nancy from Where is Your Line? reported:
Using the Twitter back channel following my second panel “Reducing Stigma Through Social Networking” I was able to track the points and themes that stood out the most for people. This panel highlighted Whereisyourline.org alongside the work of Exhale a private and secure online space for women to discuss abortion, and the St. James Infirmary Clinic a for sex workers by sex workers health clinic. This was a space to talk about stigma and how peers talk and support each other. Some thoughts that floated around (sorry @mkeagle, they’re mostly yours!):
Yesterday we talked about the challenges of accessing closed online communities; Exhale is pointing out some real positives. (@mkeagle)
Expect to hear more from Exhale in the months ahead about our ongoing work to use social networking to reduce stigma.