Posted on January 23, 2016
Klarissa Ling Oh
We believe that we are more powerful to change the realities of child sexual abuse when each of us has deep access to our whole beings, supportive relationships and a sense of belonging to the larger community. Through taking most seriously the insight of those most affected by child sexual abuse, by making mistakes and learning from them, and by believing that we can shift the realities of child sexual abuse, we have worked to nurture an affirming, powerful, thoughtful, authentic and action-oriented culture.
The Challenge: The movement to end child sexual abuse will not be successful until it is able to mobilize a base of support; survivors of child sexual abuse have a safe space to come together for healing, solidarity and collective action; and survivors—who have the utmost authority—are centered in the work.
The Solution: Trusting in those with lived experience to lead. Build a powerful base of survivors of child sexual abuse and allies who are affirmed, committed and ready to take strategic action.
The Strategy: OAASIS challenges the conditions that enables child sexual abuse by creating safer spaces for survivors to come together and find more healing; providing supportive storytelling structures so that survivors can tap into their own power; and educating the public on the facts and misperceptions about child sexual abuse. OAASIS is a community of survivors of child sexual abuse and their allies working together to ignite and foster a movement.
Many of OAASIS’s survivors find their greatest passion in addressing their trauma and utilizing their experiences in service of personal, cultural and systemic transformation. OAASIS believes in the power and impact of collective truth telling—individually and in the community. To this end, it coordinates a Speakers Bureau, co-created with a community of survivor-leaders and non-survivor advocates. The Speakers Bureau seeks to be a powerful, collective base of change agents who shape the understanding and prevalence of child sexual abuse in Oregon. As OAASIS expands the depth and breadth of the movement in Oregon, it will contribute its lessons learned to the national movement and leverage for change at the local and state levels.
OAASIS also works to change the conversation about child sexual abuse. So often in our field—as well as in the broader political landscape—shame and fear are the primary tools used for motivating action. These are also the tools that enable and perpetuate child sexual abuse. OAASIS forges another way, providing the national movement more survivor-led, life-affirming, effective, nuanced and non-fear-based approaches to ending child sexual abuse.
Klarissa Ling Oh serves as the Executive Director of OAASIS, where she has collaborated with courageous survivors of child sexual abuse and allies to create a more life-affirming Oregon. Prior to OAASIS, she worked primarily with children and mothers in health, education and faith communities. She believes that there is that of God in each of us, and thus seeks to contribute to a world that nurtures and honors our individual and sacred lives. She is an alumni member of the Move to End Violence program, as well as recipient of the Women of Vision Award by the Ms. Foundation for Women. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and a Master’s of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service (OAASIS) is a coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to increasing public awareness of the realities of child sexual abuse, to supporting and empowering survivors of such abuse, and to advocating for strong public policies and laws aimed at preventing it. Its mission is to build a movement to end child sex abuse through advocacy, prevention and survivor support.