This is an invitation for you and your friends to be part of the Alliance for Choice SpeakOut if you have had an abortion experience or to pass on to someone who might want to take part.
As co-hosts of the My Body My Life exhibition we will create a space especially for you in UNIQUE, at the Belfast Ulster University Campus on Friday 8th December from 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Refreshments (tea/coffee and wine) and snacks will be provided. Only invitees will be attending and details of the event will not be widely shared.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of who will be attending and any dietary requirements by 7th December.
Why Speak Out
Our priority for the SpeakOut is to provide a welcoming platform for the voices of 'rights holders' ie. people directly affected by the criminalisation of, and restriction of access to, abortion. All year, we hear politicians, media workers and others who call themselves experts talk about a subject of which they often have no direct experience of. This event is entirely dedicated to the voices of abortion seekers of all ages who may have felt silenced, censored or even misrepresented. It is a space for allies to listen and support. Whether or not you plan to speak yourself, this event is an opportunity to connect with others who share experiences like yours so that and we can support one another in our everyday attempts to work towards the legalisation and normalisation of abortion in NI.
How To Speak Out
Members of Alliance for Choice have attended a number of SpeakOut events in Ireland and beyond since 2013, many people chose to tell their personal stories in those spaces spontaneously or by invitation. The feelings of support and strength they generated were immeasurable. Here is how we propose to do it in Belfast, with thanks to the Abortion Rights Campaign in Ireland for their advice.
1. Speaking out for the first time isn’t always easy. We have prepared some prompt questions to invite quieter voices to come forward by comparing our experiences.
2. For people who have already told their stories, we ask you to support new voices to speak out by facilitating a space for them to tell theirs. Those of us who have already spoken out will support others who haven't by creating an active listening space. Sometimes this will mean sitting with silence. At other times it will involve 'keeping the ball rolling’ with a story, or a part of a story as a response to a prompt question.
3. My Body My Life is our co-host for this event, we will be surrounded by work created especially for a touring exhibition that supports speaking out through creative means. We also invite everyone to encourage stigma-busting initiatives by sharing with us how you may have told your story in a creative way.
4. We ask all who been inspired by some aspect of their abortion experience to think of an idea such as: taking a picture, tweeting a story, designing an image, writing a poem, bringing an object etc to take a 'step forward' and share with everyone what these ideas might be. We hope to produce a foldout paper ‘Zine to generate further SpeakOuts across the province, using the ‘Zine as a conversation starter. So your voices on the night will not only create a safe and strong space here and now but could reverberate beyond this room and help others to feel like they are part of a community of abortion seekers who are supported.
Please feel free to extend this invitation to women, gender-queer and trans* friends or family, bring a supportive person along with you or come alone. The most important thing is that this is a safe, positive experience for everyone. Even if you can’t come please pass this on to anyone who might want to take part.
We would ask however that you do not share this event publicly, we only want people to come who can be vouched for. In light of this, please send us the name of anyone you wish to attend to Emma Campbell on email@example.com who will be hosting the event, as we will only be admitting people on our list.