SexTech: Using Social Networks to Fight Stigma

By February 27, 2010 1 comment

Saturday session "On the Edge: Reducing Stigma Through Social Networking" rounded out the SexTech conference afternoon. In it, three women head projects that give formerly alienated individuals a place to share their life-shaping,

controversial commonalities.

Kristen Schultz Oliver created Exhale, a site for women to support each other after abortions. The site runs on the Ning social network platform after extensive customization. Since removing all the public sharing features and external linking to Facebook and Twitter, it has become an anonymous sanctuary. Strict criteria is employed to create a completely supportive environment where only women who have had an abortion can join. No politics, rudeness or personal attacks are allowed, and personal stories, mutual support and gratitude proliferate.

St. James Infirmary is a clinic for sex workers in San Francisco, and in 2007 created an industry podcast called Renegadecast. Executive director Naomi Akers heads the staff who were recruited from the clinic and were trained using a Social Media Advocacy toolkit.

At first, RenegadeCast was produced by the founders of the clinic, "addressing the benefits and challenges of sex worker organizing on health outcomes." Later they switched to current or former sex workers who were able to speak more credibly to their audience of peers. Instead of the rescue ethic that many government or organization initiatives adopt, St. James promotes and provides risk reduction practices.

Filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman uses her short documentary "The Line" to create a space to discuss sexual assault. The 24 minute film is designed to stimulate discussion of not only Schwartman's personal assault experience, but to encourage college-aged women and men to ask themselves and others where their "Line" is, where consent ends and rape begins.

For the participants of WhereIsYourLine.org, it is critical to expand the dialogue from teaching girls to protect themselves to include the responsibilities of boys and men.

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1 Comment

[...] Ivory King of La’Atlier reported: Kristen Schultz Oliver created Exhale, a site for women to support each other after abortions. The site runs on the Ning social network platform after extensive customization. Since removing all the public sharing features and external linking to Facebook and Twitter, it has become an anonymous sanctuary. Strict criteria is employed to create a completely supportive environment where only women who have had an abortion can join. No politics, rudeness or personal attacks are allowed, and personal stories, mutual support and gratitude proliferate. [...]

Submitted by What Other’s are Saying About Exhale @ Sex:Tech 2010 & (not verified) - on March 12, 2010 at 06:18 pm

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