Changing the Culture: Survivors’ Network Open Space’ Survivors’ Network Annual Event

In its third year, the Survivors’ Network Open Space event is now becoming a recognised event in the city to collaborate, discuss and get to know the local Rape Crisis Centre.

Titled ‘Changing the Culture: Survivors’ Network Open Space’, the event will be held at the Friend’s Meeting House on Wednesday 29 November 2017, 10am – 4pm.

Survivors NetworkContinuing their ‘Break the Silence’ campaign, Survivors’ Network are approaching the issue this year through the lens of culture change. Opening up the conversation to the city, they invite everyone to join them in looking at the ways that we can, and indeed need to, change the culture around sexual violence. Covering subjects as broad as a universal culture of silence around violence to the media’s culture around language and appropriate reporting, and inviting participants to steer the conversation, Survivors’ Network hopes to create a platform for attendees to share their thoughts and come up with practical solutions to issues that affect us all.

The Sussex charity was established to support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and over the past 27 years has grown and developed and now provides a wide range of services for those who have survived any form of sexual violence including a drop-in and helpline, counselling, and an independent advocacy service.

With approximately 3,000 assaults a year sexual violence is one of the most pervasive crimes in Sussex. It is also one of the most devastating violations anyone can experience and can have profound consequences to physical and psychological health. Despite this, misplaced taboo and stigma mean that it remains hidden and misunderstood.

Fabia Bates, Director of Survivors’ Network, explained; “Cultural shifts need to happen across all of our society to start effectively addressing sexual violence and abuse, a crime that can affect anyone and can lead to a wide range of impacts. We need the support of the whole community in order to reduce this violence, and its impact on the lives of survivors. ”

To put this into practice, Survivors’ Network are inviting everyone to participate in their Open Space event and, in doing so, to support survivors of sexual violence. This event is an Open Space conference – a forum for anyone with a passion to be part of this change including survivors, health professionals, teachers, journalists, police, supporters and anyone with a passion to be part of this change – to come together and help us address the issue. You do not have to identify as a survivor to attend, but you do have to join other attendees in creating as safe and creative a space as possible for discussion of challenging and potentially triggering subject matter.

The Open Space format will put participants in the driving seat, letting them take control, collaborate and contemplate how we combat sexual violence and the silent repercussions of such violence in our own community.
The event will not only encourage discussion, but will also result in a series of personal and community pledges to take action over the coming year to combat sexual violence and rape culture in our society. “This was so much better than an ordinary conference – we got to really talk to each other, and feel listened to too.” – said a conference attendee in 2015 ““The effects are for life, for us as survivors and for the people who know and love us” –– said a conference attendee in 2016 on the importance of these conversations

For more information on the event, or on Survivors’ Network as an organisation, please contact

To book a place at the Open Space Conversation event, please go to:

Rape and sexual abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, culture or social status. If you have experienced sexual violence at any point in your life then you can contact Survivors’ Network on 01273 203380, via email on or see for details of their text, voice and email helpline.

If you would like someone to talk to outside of these hours, this information sheet provided by Survivors’ Network has details of other relevant helplines across the country.