A Series on Surviving began as poems in a journal. They began not meant to be seen or heard. Only to be reread by myself . They began to get something out of me as though writing it down would make it go away. They are a form of escape and a way to try to make sense of what happened to me and how I felt. They began as a way to express the torture that was going on inside and in a way to stop me moving past the hurt and shame.
These poems, and the short films they have become are not perfect. They do not depict a happy ending. They are hard and messy and not entirely optimistic. They were not meant to be. They are honest and raw. They are not going to tell you that you forget what happened and everything is rosy again. They are not saying it gets so much better or that you stop feeling the things you feel. They are about the struggle. They are about the pain and they are about hope. These poems are not everyone's experience, they are not everyone's feelings they are mine.
Putting them out into the world is hard. It is being vulnerable in a way I try hard to avoid and yet I could not stop myself from doing it. Because I have hidden that this happened to me for too long and this felt like the right way to start to move forward, I am creative by nature, I had an outlet and so I am using it. I do not want anyone to feel the way I have felt and feel. No one is alone in this.
I have been so lucky in the support I have received for this project. The team who have made this project come to life are so special to me and always will be. They took something and made it their own. They allowed me to see these poems as something other than something to be ashamed of and they gave me life in that again. Thank you.
Actor, Writer, Director
Broghanne Jessamine is a Co-Founder of Elemental Women Productions and a survivor. Originally from Scotland Broghanne has worked in Theatre (#metoo plays, The Left and Right Plays), Voice over (Panda and Krash) and Film since emigrating to the United States of America. Prior to moving to New York, Broghanne participated in numerous performing arts cultural festivals throughout Scotland and in Germany to bring theatre and performance that explores social issues to a wider audience.
Sabrina Schlegel-Mejia, a Colombian/Swiss actor based in New York, is beyond grateful and super happy to be a part of A Series on Surviving with Elemental Women Productions. Since graduating from AADA's conservatory program, Sabrina has appeared as Isabella in Measure for Measure and Antigone in People Vs. Antigone as well as Farris in award-winning short film GIRL FRIEND. Other projects include We Are Not Content!, JOJI, 22, We're Just Here To Swim, Cloud 9, Macbeth, Vessel of The Beast, Ledze and Lore, The Innocent, Albanian Gangster Part II, and The Uncounted.
Yuki Soga is an award-winning filmmaker based out of Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from NYU Film School with minors in Cinema Studies and Philosophy, he produced and directed the feature film We Are Not Content!. He currently runs the video department of an advertising agency in Manhattan and enjoys spending time with cats.
Yasmin Harvey is a British New York based Actor. Yasmin studied a Circle in the Square Theatre School and spent two years honing her technique as an intern at the Actors Studio. She has performed in plays and musicals in both the UK and US and her play " Belief" was chosen as part of the Manhattan Rep's Short Play Season. Yasmin is passionate about female led work and work centered around women and social justice.
A lover of storytelling, Elizabeth performs as a dancer/singer/actress when not working behind the scenes or writing her own work. After graduating summa cum laude from The Ailey School and Fordham University with double degrees in Dance and English, Elizabeth danced for a contemporary company, collaborating in the creation of three evening-length works and touring the Hamptons, Chicago, and the tri-state area. Now trained as a vocalist, she pursues a career in musical theater while freelancing as a copywriter, PA, and scriptwriter.
Singer-songwriter and novelist, is currently based in NYC. She first discovered her love of songwriting while attending Berklee College of Music for Vocal Performance and released her first EP, Speak Up Speak Out, before graduation in March of 2016.
She is now signed to Wampus Multimedia for her first full-length album, Brutally Honest, released May of 2018. Her newest album, Peachy Keen, was recently released in November 2019. Both albums are available through spotify, and music videos for her albums have been released on youtube.
Ali creates her music to inspire and empower others. Many of her songs, such as 43720, have personal meanings about challenges she has faced.
Caitlin Bagdan is a member of the RAINN's Speakers Bureau, where she does speaking engagements across the country about ways to prevent sexual violence. She currently works as a Crisis Counselor Coach, with Crisis Text Line (a 24/7 peer-to-peer support line for those who are in crisis.) Prior to working at Crisis Text Line, she worked for the United Way of Tri-County in Massachusetts, where she was a Shift Supervisor for a mental health and emotional support hotline. Caitlin is a born and raised New Yorker and is thrilled to be a part of this panel tonight!
Sarah is a triumphant survivor of childhood sexual abuse. After suffering 4 years of being sexually molested and assaulted, Sarah reclaimed her voice and disclosed her abuse in 2015. Since breaking her silence, she has found healing and wholeness, and has started publicly sharing her story to help eliminate the stigma, secrecy and subsequent wounds and scars that are the product of sexual abuse and assault. Most recently, Sarah was the keynote speaker at the Dutchess County Child Abuse Prevention Center Annual Luncheon where she shared her story in hopes to empower and inspire other survivors. Sarah is on a mission to remind survivors that in the midst of the brokenness, and shame, underneath the ruins of it all, there is healing, self love, restoration, freedom, and victory. Today Sarah is happily married with two wonderful children and lives in the Hudson Valley New York.
Jade is artist/designer who came to New York by way of Colorado 4 years ago. She runs a floral design studio in Brooklyn by day and spends her free time taking photos, baking pies and finding dogs to pet.
A Series on Surviving follows thoughts through poetry and film of the journey after a sexual assault.
We hosted a film screening and panel conversation that spoke about the stigma surrounding sexual assault/violence/abuse and what we can do to change that.
The night began with music, Ali Zagame performed while audience members arrived and settled in.
Next we had the screening of our films followed by a short break.
The panel conversation about the films themselves and the stigma that surrounds sexual violence and abuse ended the evening.
Broghanne Jessamine, Caitlin Bagdan, Sarah Horton
Bee Free LLC and Brooklyn Granola
Goodie Bag Sponsors
Otto and Berk, Even Keel Soaps , TTYL , Blue Violet Peony, Alma and Bon Temps Tea
Date: December 17th 2019
Location: xixi, 41 W 36th Street,Suite 3 New York, NY, 10018
50% of profits will be donated to organizations that support survivors.
The Survivors Trust is a national umbrella agency for over 125 specialist voluntary sector agencies throughout the UK and Ireland providing a range of counselling, therapeutic and support services working with women, men and children who are victims/survivors of rape, sexual violence and sexual abuse. (according to wikipedia)