Activism through Testimony:
Narratives of Sexual Trauma in the
Eileen Mary Holowka (MA, Concordia University)
Narrating Trauma Online
Importance of trauma narratives. Empowerment in having narrative control.
The dangers of expecting a trauma narrative to fit into a cultural narrative.
Risks of narrating trauma online.
Internet as more inclusive, but still exclusive.
What #GamerGate is Talking About
“GamerGate spends more time tweeting negatively at game developers than at game
journalists” (Taylor Wofford)
Benefits of Narrating Trauma Online? Social
Media as Archive of Experiences and Feelings
“[The internet offers] something different and promising
that can more closely reflect the fragmented, shattered,
volatile and often incoherent, experience of trauma and
the attempts to describe it. It offers a nonlinear,
distributed format which can contain narrative but is not
itself narrative. It can contain things—photographs,
mementoes, letters, video clips, maps, simulations—and
also, crucially, human voices offering testimony.” (Paul
Instagram search results for #sadgirl
Hashtag Activism and Trauma Narratives
Examples of the Twitter hashtags in
response to the Ghomeshi trial.
HuffingtonPost image representing some
Ann Cvetkovich: What does creating an Archive
of Feelings do?
“Words like "original" and "authentic" are so loaded for us because we were taught to be suspicious
of them, but the archive of feelings gives us permission to turn down the volume on the voice of
critique and pay attention to the strong feelings that get attached to things [... To] say: ‘These
personal feelings are important enough to be made public.’ ” (Cvetkovich in Tammy Rae Carland)