Earlier, this year, Exhale formed a partnership with our Pro-Voice High-Five awardee for Leadership – the Center for Digital Storytelling – to pilot a workshop where women could create their own digital stories about having had an abortion and being an abortion listener. Through this workshop, we learned a lot about the role stigma plays in public storysharing, what it means to ask women to tell their abortion stories, as well as for an audience to listen to stories, and the experience of sharing personal abortion stories.
As part of our ongoing learning process about public abortion story-sharing, we took the stories on the road last week and showed them to a new audience. The Abortion Access Project invited us to share our stories with advocates and providers in Seattle. Exhale leaders, including me, our Director of Programs, Jovida Ross; Board Member Julie Davdison-Gomez, and Pro-Voice Ambassador Erika Jackson, had an engaging discussion about the process of creating the stories, and our collective ideas for what we can all do to promote respectful forums for storysharing.
We asked the audience to record their responses as they watched each digital story. Here is just a sampling of the dozens of responses we received:
- “Reminded me how much abortion is interwoven into so many other stories. It’s not just about the abortion.”
- “Made me think about what we gain by being a part of other women’s abortion experiences.”
- “The story exemplifies the duality of regret and relief and transforms it into something new.”
- “It is always such a good reminder that the most powerful thing we can do for someone is to let them be with their feelings whatever they are.”
- “Inspired. I related to her story.”
Jovida Ross introduces the stories:
Erika Jackson shares her experience of making the story while I listen:
Erika, Jovida, Deb from AAP, and me afterwards:
Thank you for hosting us Seattle! We had a great time and learned a lot.