Survivor activism

When people are tortured, their voices are taken away from them. As part of their recovery, survivors can share and use their stories to fight for change.

We have a number of activist and creative groups, led by survivors, that raise public awareness and influence decision-makers about torture and its impact.

Survivors Speak OUT

We are a national network of torture survivors who are former clients of Freedom from Torture and who speak with authority on issues of torture, and life in the UK as asylum seekers and refugees who have survived trauma.

In the fight against torture we are the experts. Our stories and experiences have been appropriated by our torturers and the hostile environment in this country. Our expert voices influence others and call for evidence-based policies.

We talk to youth audiences at colleges and universities around the country, brief governments and shadow ministers, and provide evidence to parliamentary inquiries and other independent scrutiny bodies.

Our main aims are to:

  • Promote survivors' active engagement on issues that impact our daily lives
  • Raise awareness of the issues facing survivors of torture in the UK
  • Advocate against the use of torture and for awareness of its effects
  • Campaign for greater investment in rehabilitation for survivors worldwide
  • Be the voice of survivors who have been silenced
     

To find out more about the Survivors Speak OUT network, follow us on Twitter at @SSOonline.

Write to Life

We are the creative writing and performance group that supports current and former clients to tell stories in different art forms, and through this find new audiences for our work. We are the longest-running refugee-writing group in Britain, and the only one specifically for survivors of torture.

Real voices

My name is Marsha and this is my story

I cannot change what happened in my past life but I have a second chance to replace those flashbacks with new experience and achievement.
Read Marsha's story

Our members come from all over the world. Despite writing and performing in their fourth or fifth language, they have built an impressive body of work, collaborating with the Roundhouse, both Tate Galleries, the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, amongst others.

We meet for group workshops every two weeks and for private one to one mentoring with professional writers, who volunteer their time. Sessions include:

  • Exploring new writing techniques and narrative voices
  • Studying the works of writers across the literary canon
  • Bearing witness on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves
  • Expressing the policies and campaigning aims of Freedom from Torture through the power of creative art, whether in film, theatre, music or spoken word.

To find out more about Write to Life, follow news on Twitter via #WritetoLife on @FreefromTorture. To join or invite Write to Life to an event, contact Sheila Hayman.