Earlier this month, on September 16th, 2022, Mahsa Amini died following her arrest, detainment, and brutalization at the hands of forces within the Iranian government. The killing of Mahsa Amini was violent, senseless, tragic, and we mourn with our communities at the loss of Ms. Amini. It is also impossible to ignore that her death is just the most recent example of state sanctioned violence against individuals experiencing marginalization due to their gender-identity and that many communities may be experiencing exhaustion, rage, fear, grief and a range of other emotions as they are required to navigate another tragedy.
Since the murder of Ms. Amini, we have all witnessed protests across the world focused on demonstrating against the current Iranian power structure, increasingly restrictive gender-based policies that have been implemented within Iran over the last several years, and violence based-on gender more broadly. While the protests have expanded to the global community it is essential to recognize that these protests have been ignited and sustained by the Iranian people, who have already experienced significant casualties and loss as a result. Additionally, it cannot be lost that the protests have largely been orchestrated by Iranian women, representing a rich diversity of ages, ethnicities, and cultures, and that the current protests are possible due to decades of tireless grassroots activism by these same leaders. It is crucial that we as a community recognize not only the harm currently being experienced in Iran but also the resiliency and leadership of protestors.
SAPAC adheres to many guiding values including the right to individual bodily autonomy, self-determination, safety, and the freedom to both expression and belief. All of these values were violated in the killing of Ms. Amini and continue to be violated in the treatment of protesters in Iran by their government. If you would benefit from a space to process, share, or discuss impacts experienced by recent events, SAPAC advocates are available to provide free and confidential services and support, and scheduling an appointment is quick and easy. Additionally, 24-hour support can be accessed by calling the SAPAC Crisis Line at (734) 936-3333. SAPAC also offers a range of different trainings, workshops, and other offerings meant to support every member of our community.
- The SAPAC Team
This past Friday, June 24th, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion. We know that this decision may be causing a whole range of feelings, and want to express that all of those feelings are valid. We recognize that the history of reproductive health care in the U.S. is complicated and rife with examples of disenfranchisement. Decisions regarding reproductive health care access have historically – and now with the overturning of Roe v. Wade – continue to harm members of our community that experience marginalization due to their racial, gender, sexual, and/or socio-economic identities. In addition, any confusion or restriction in healthcare access has the potential to exacerbate and deepen the harm experienced by members of our community who have experienced sexual violence.
Recovering from sexual violence and access to reproductive care are both fundamentally about bodily autonomy, empowerment and choice, and trauma-informed care. We can’t address and end sexual violence unless survivors and all people are able to freely decide what happens to their bodies.
Recognizing this, it is understandable if many individuals may have questions about how this issue is evolving and how to access healthcare going forward. Please see the message that Vice President for Student Life, Martino Harmon, sent out yesterday for more information about resources and next steps. Michigan Medicine has organized a Task Force, which includes representation from SAPAC, that is addressing the issue across the institution and working to compile answers to the many questions of our community. They will share this information once available.
Here at SAPAC we are working on coordinating a listening circle for students to share their thoughts and feelings and be in community with one another. Stay tuned for more information and details.
Our team remains deeply committed to supporting survivors of all identities and strongly believes that survivors are the experts of their experiences and have the sole authority in determining what type of supports and services they need. SAPAC Advocates are available to meet with U-M community members to answer questions, provide support in exploring needs, and connect individuals to the most helpful resources. If you would like to schedule a meeting with an advocate please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour support line at (734) 936-3333.
UHS - The UHS Gynecology and Sexual Health Clinic provides comprehensive care for patients of any gender seeking gynecologic, contraceptive care, STI treatment, or post-sexual assault services. To schedule an appointment, call (734) 764-8320 or visit. In addition, emergency contraception (Plan B) remains available at the UHS Pharmacy without a prescription.
Planned Parenthood- Planned Parenthood is a national provider of a diverse range of reproductive health care services while also providing robust sexual education opportunities. Additionally Planned Parenthood seeks to make healthcare as affordable and accessible as possible. To learn more about local providers here.
If you have any questions, concerns, or just feel that you would benefit from some additional support please do not hesitate to reach out to SAPAC. We are available to all U-M students, faculty, and staff.
- The SAPAC Team