Yes, and…

                                                                                        To my younger self


The young girl groped in the hallways at school

Who was scared, ashamed and hurting and didn’t have the language of #metoo

To the young woman who was raped in the backseat of a car

Who was scared, ashamed and hurting and didn’t have the language of #metoo

To the woman who was harassed at work

Who was scared, ashamed and hurting and didn’t have the language of #metoo

To the older woman who has tried to advocate for others survivors throughout her life

And, to all the survivors, friends of survivors and their family, it’s time to talk.  The courageous conversations begin with “Yes, and.


Yes, and” became a collaboration between dreamspace and a brave young woman who was sexually assaulted at Carnegie Mellon University as response to the international cry of #metoo.  “Yes, and” has created a “pop up” experience using tactile objects to facilitate opportunities to honor the stories of sexual assault victims, their family and friends. 

Pittsburgh, like many cities around the world needs to address the reality of sexual violence.  Millions of brave people have identified their experience with sexual assault. Now, we must honor that effort and assist as we are able.  It is time to address the impact of the underlying trauma common with survivors of sexual assault, and the impact of these assaults on their families and friends and their communities and begin the healing process. “Yes, and” is a sustainable trauma informed care program to initiate courageous conversations and connect with resources to heal.  

Since World War II our healthcare systems were designed to address emergencies of a physical nature. Today, the need to address mental health is limited and compounded because our healthcare systems are structured around profitability rather than quality of care and increased quality of life. It is common practice for doctors scheduled to see as many patients as possible typically without the resources needed to provide quality care.

For example, a gynecologist meeting with a patient who has been sexually violated should be aided with a nurse and social worker. The “should be” resources are constantly being cut to increase profit margins and the public funds cut from nonprofit budgets of ancillary organizations leaving armies of wounded women unable to identify the pain, cause, or begin the healing process. By operating with profits and focusing on the direst physical ailments, traumas lay hidden and suppressed.  This broken system has been further exacerbated by the business model of doctors prescribing painkillers readily available by pharmaceutical companies to help patients who are in pain.

While the hospital systems in our nation are not nimble or flexible, there is room for improvement.  “Yes, and” fill the gaps and begin the healing process with a safe space for folks feeling vulnerable to breathe and shift from survival mode to thrive and empowerment. This is how we radically heal our communities. It’s time to talk in Pittsburgh and share what we learn with other communities dedicated to radical healing.

If you are interested in helping this effort send me an email to with “Yes, and” in the subject line and consider sharing the LOVE with a tax deductible donation to dreamspace.