Joyful Heart Foundation
Joyful Heart Foundation was established in 2004 with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives. Today, its mission is to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever. They deliver their mission through three program areas: Healing, Education, and Advocacy.
These programs are designed to address trauma through a holistic approach, addressing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual effects of survivors’ experiences. To that end, program participants engage in modalities like creative arts therapy, guided writing, bodywork, yoga, meditation, music, dance, movement, play, and mindfulness—all in the nurturing environment of community. By increasing understanding of the impact of trauma in these ways, as well as the use of trauma-informed wellness models, they effectively elevate the goal of healing from surviving to thriving and reclaiming joy.
So much of the reason survivors carry the weight of these crimes alone is that society doesn’t talk about them. And the perpetrators of these crimes rely on this silence—they depend on people to look the other way. If people talked about sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse more—and placed the blame on the perpetrators where it belongs—it’s likely that more survivors would come forward. To meet this goal, Joyful Heart’s Education programs engage the public and turn up the volume on the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse while also seeking to change attitudes that all-too-often blame victims.
Through their Advocacy work, Joyful Heart seeks to improve the criminal justice and community responses to violence and abuse through reforms to laws and policies. They work to bring more compassion and less judgment for survivors and to enhance their access to justice if that’s what they choose. The focus of their Advocacy work is to end the backlog of untested rape kits. It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of untested kits just sitting on shelves in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the United States, each one a lost opportunity for healing and justice for a survivor.
Because all of their work is grounded in evidence-informed methods and in being responsive to their community, Joyful Heart values the gift of feedback—both formal and informal—to guide their work. Over the years, they have touched thousands of people directly through their healing efforts. They’ve helped to pass legislation from Hawai‘i to New York to Texas. They’ve reached millions more through their awareness campaigns, website, and online community. And they have heard so much from program participants about the impact of their work. Through all this work Joyful Heart seeks to expand, enhance and support existing programs and services of their partner organizations. Their intention is not to duplicate what is already being done, but to support and affirm existing programs.
Click here to learn more about Joyful Heart Foundation