UTM Sexual Education Centre held a “Reclaiming Sex After Trauma” workshop on February 16, where students got to share their thoughts and experiences regarding sexual violence traumas.

Attended by 14 students, S.E.C’s external education director, Lilian Atari, stated that it was the first time S.E.C. has hosted such a workshop.

Atari explained that S.E.C is aware of how sex and trauma are seen as “taboo” topics, which drove their incentive to face the “significant and often dismissed topic” by hosting the workshop.

“The goal of this workshop was to ensure that an important topic such as trauma, and understanding how it could mean different things to different people, can be discussed in a respectful and safe environment,” Atari said.

The event featured Hammam Farah, a Canadian activist of Palestinian descent, a resettlement worker for Syrian refugees, and a therapist-in-training at Toronto’s Centre for Training in Psychotherapy.

Farah explained what constitutes trauma, the spectrum of sexual violence, as well as the impact of trauma and long-term outcomes for survivors.

He also described the importance of validating the survivor’s story and why healing sexually matters.

According to Atari, Farah has been involved in causes and social justice activism for nearly 15 years.

“We felt the need to have this workshop to provide a space for survivors and allies to learn more about this topic,” said Atari.

“Understanding the language of this topic can help in understanding how to deal with it.”

One of the participants described their struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of trauma. They mentioned that people often insensitively tell them to snap out of their condition.

“This workshop provided the basic tools and definitions to start a more in-depth discussion or conversation in order to start the process of healing,” said Atari.

She added that UTM S.E.C is looking to further raise awareness and educate students about sexual violence and trauma issues.

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