If you’ve been following along in the comments below, you know that the big thing I want for this site, more than anything else, is to have it become almost a community of survivors. That’s absolutely the goal I have in mind, but it’s the details that are the stumbling block. I mean really, what do we mean when we talk about a site being a community? And how do you encourage a group of people who have been victimized, traumatized and have generally grown to be untrusting to be part of that community? Yes, I could very easily throw up some message boards and see what happens, but I don’t think just the simple presence of a message board is going to create a community anymore than having a comments system creates a community. They both create a technical way for readers to contribute to the conversations, but they don’t make it feel like this is your site as a group, does it? That’s something else, entirely. Ultimately, I’d like for this to become that sort of a site, where the “community” keeps the conversations and the support for each other going, regardless of how much time I have to contribute. That, in my experience, happens much more in a spontaneous way. It’s not something you can plan for, it’s something that either happens or doesn’t happen. When I view it that way, I think maybe all I can do is throw together the technical stuff and hope that folks start to develop a community, but I’m not sure that there aren’t steps I can take, small things I can do, to help prepare folks to move to that sort of format. I just don’t know what those steps are yet.
In the meantime, keep reading the other folks who are blogging about these sort of things, contribute to the conversations here, and send me any ideas you might have, either by commenting here or dropping an email to the webmaster address at this domain. This site is for all survivors, not just me…
Simply providing a voice to users builds a sense of community, particularly if that voice might be heard by some sort of authoritative change agent. The issue of giving permission to have a voice to trauma/abuse survivors would seem to be very pertinent. Just my off-the-cuff $0.02. Be well, from one survivor to a community.