Brittany and CC, the founders of Unapologetically Surviving, are trailblazers on a mission to end all forms of interpersonal violence. They’ve grown a supportive community on Instagram with over a quarter-million followers that are changing the narrative on healing from trauma.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Brittany and CC about the importance of each person’s unique healing journey after interpersonal abuse. Brittany, a Masters of Public Health grad, and CC, a soon-to-be Juris Doctorate, offer advice on finding the right support, giving yourself grace, and finding kinship in the community. Continue reading to hear how Unapologetically Surviving is paving the way for how we discuss and heal from abuse.
Story of Unapologetically Surviving Community
Mooditude: It’s impressive to see the work Unapologetically Surviving is doing to support trauma survivors. What’s the story behind your amazing community, and how did you both come together to create this initiative?
Unapologetically Surviving: We met early in our freshman year of college and have been friends ever since. After experiencing firsthand the many difficulties survivors experience, we often talked about how one day, twenty years from now, we would advocate for survivors through the lenses of public health and law. A few years after we graduated, in April 2018, we thought, “why not now?”
Unapologetically Surviving was born out of our own stories of survivorship and the desire to create a space that could serve as a catalyst for the healing process of survivors who have experienced interpersonal violence. We believe that by sharing stories of healing, survivors will recognize that there is no right or wrong way to heal. In attempting to diversify the conversation around interpersonal violence, we hope to help those who feel their experience is something they must hide or something they should be ashamed of because of how they identify. Every survivor deserves a space where they feel safe to share their experience – we hope Unapologetically Surviving is that space for survivors.
Raising Awareness About Surviving Trauma:
Unapologetically Surviving: Our underlying goal has always been to create a safe space for survivors of interpersonal violence where they feel heard and believed. We also knew that we wanted to talk about topics and aspects of survivorship that aren’t discussed often; the parts of survivorship that might make us feel like we’re surviving in the “wrong” way. (There is no wrong way to be a survivor! Part of our page is reinforcing the fact that all survivor experiences and responses are valid.) By staying true to our goal, and sharing content that not only resonates with survivors but helps them process their experiences and educates them further about the complexities of interpersonal violence, we have seen our community grow.
Building a Circle of Support
Mooditude: Support is one of the most important factors to empower someone. How can a trauma survivor find and build their own circle of support?
Unapologetically Surviving: We want to acknowledge that sometimes it can be difficult to build a circle of support. Sometimes, we share our experiences with those we love only to find out that they do not believe us or, for whatever reason, choose not to support us. We hope survivors know that another person’s inability to support them says more about that person than the survivor or their experience. With that, circles of support come in all sizes and all are valid. Even if you aren’t ready to tell your story, simply being open with those you trust and letting them know that you need a little extra support can serve to create a foundation of support. Additionally, connecting with others who understand your experience in a more intimate way can be particularly helpful and validating. This being said, we encourage survivors to consider exploring online communities, such as Unapologetically Surviving, and other types of support groups to connect with those with shared experiences and/or identities.
Advice for Trauma Survivors
Mooditude: What advice do you have for trauma survivors who feel they aren’t making enough progress on their healing journey?
Unapologetically Surviving: We all heal at different paces and there’s nothing wrong with the pace at which you are healing. Healing is not linear, and there is no timeline. No one ever healed faster by being hard on themselves in the process; always remember to give yourself grace!
What is Patreon Book Club?
Mooditude: How do you continue your advocacy work through your Patreon book club? What should we look forward to?
Unapologetically Surviving: Our Patreon book club has been a great way to connect with our community members in a more personalized way and has also become a wonderful circle of support. Our first book was Chanel Miller’s memoir, “Know My Name” (which we highly recommend!). Although it was difficult to read at points, it was refreshing to discuss because we all realized that we had similar experiences of survivorship to Chanel and felt validated in ways we hadn’t previously. We are currently reading Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, which discusses the science behind the stress cycle and balancing emotional exhaustion, fatigue, and frustration. It’s been a pleasant surprise and has reinforced the importance of acknowledging our feelings and working through them in order to lead more joyful lives.
As two lifelong readers, this book club was a natural next step for us, but it’s so much more than just chatting about New York Times bestsellers. The book club provides community, connection, mutual understanding, and a safe space to just *be*. We’ve also been known to get into spirited discussions about rape culture, gender stereotypes, and the patriarchy – all of which underscore the importance of eliminating systems of oppression that perpetuate interpersonal violence. We encourage anyone who is interested in these important topics to join our book club community – each week, a new discussion board opens for the chapter we are reading that week, and we have weekly live audio/video discussions as a group!
How to Support Unaplogetic Surviving
Mooditude: For those reading this feature and everyone else at Mooditude, what are the ways we can support Unapologetically Surviving?
Unapologetically Surviving: The best way to support us would be to follow along on Instagram (@unapologeticallysurviving) and Twitter (@surviv0rdiaries). We encourage anyone who is interested in joining our book club to check out our Patreon at www.patreon.com/unapologeticallysurviving!
Mooditude: And lastly, where do you see the Unapologetically Surviving community 5 years from now?
Unapologetically Surviving: Over the past three years, this community has continued to exceed our expectations and become so much more than we could have ever imagined. While we hope to see the community continue to grow, we are mostly looking forward to deepening the relationships we have with our existing supporters and ensuring they are always reminded that they are heard, believed, and supported. Looking ahead, we also hope to be in a space where we can partner with like-minded businesses and organizations to provide monetary and other tangible support resources to survivors and advocate for legislative changes to ensure systems work for those in need rather than against them.
We’re excited to work with Unapologetically Surviving and want to help spread their message. If you or someone you know is a survivor of interpersonal violence, check out Unapologetically Surviving’s Instagram, @unapologeticallysurviving, for support and resources. They also enjoy connecting with their community members face-to-face on Patreon:www.patreon.com/unapologeticallysurviving. When they’re not busy building their community, Brittany’s #1 choice for self-care is binge-watching the Real Housewives, and CC loves to stay active!