Sharing our personal stories can strengthen our bonds with family and friends, help us not feel so alone, and it can generate more social respect for all of our unique abortion experiences. But, sharing our stories can also come with great personal and professional risks. Whether you chose to share your story – publicly or privately or not at all – know that you deserve to be heard with dignity and respect. Your story is powerful and intimate and we’re rooting for you every step of the way.
Exhale promotes ‘Ethical Storysharing’ – a practice that puts the owner of the story - you, the woman who has had an abortion - in the center of the storytelling process. It ensures that your rights, needs, and leadership are supported and respected throughout the process. Ethical storysharing encourages wellbeing, and facilitates cultural transformation.
As a community of people with personal abortion experiences, with members who have shared our stories publicly, we advocate the following:
Women who have had abortions remain in control of their own narratives in our public discourse, and
We have authority and decision-making over when and how our stories are used by advocates.
Opportunities and Challenges
Though technology and social media have made it easier for more people to tell their own stories in their own words, there is a conundrum: The more broadly a story is shared through social media, the less you are able to control what happens to your story after it is told. Without proper context or privacy controls, your story can be manipulated or used to shame or target you. At the same time, technology gives you the ability to reach others with your story and can help someone feel more connected and less alone. If you are working with the media, an advocacy organization or a political campaign, you have the right to decide on when and how your story will be used and shared.
Ethical Storysharing Guides
There’s a lot to consider, which is why Exhale has developed two guides on Ethical Storysharing. These guides are designed to make sure that every woman has the information, resources, and support she needs to share her story in ways that further her wellbeing, uphold her rights and keep her in control of the use of her own narrative.
We recommend these articles on Ethical Storysharing:
WITNESS, Ethical Storysharing: My Words Not My Story, Aspen Baker, January 4th, 2013
Exhale's Pro-Voice Blog, Ethical Abortion Storysharing, Amy Hill, September 5th, 2012
Exhale's Pro-Voice Blog, Sharing Stories Publicly, a Pro-Voice Perspective, Aspen Baker, August 12th, 2012
Exhale is Pro-Voice Blog, Thaler Pekar’s Ethical StorySharing RoundUp, Thaler Pekar, August 15th, 2011
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