Svava Brooks: Survivor-Led Trauma Summit Online



Online summit about trauma.

Any of these things would get my attention but put them all together and I’m intrigued.

So when I heard that Svava Brooks is hosting an online summit about trauma recovery with over 20 guests that she’s interviewed and making the content available for free I had to know more.

If Svava’s name sounds familiar it’s because she appeared in the documentary, Invisible Scars, co-produced and directed by Johnna Janis and Sergio Myers and written about on ACEsTooHighsvava

A Little Bit About Svava Brooks 

Svava Brooks, mother of three children, has dedicated her life to ending the cycle of child sexual abuse through education, awareness, and by helping survivors heal and thrive.  She is a survivor of child sexual abuse and the co-founder of a nationwide child sexual abuse prevention and education organization in Iceland called “Blátt áfram.” 

She is also a certified instructor and facilitator for Darkness to Light Stewards of Children, as well as a certified Crisis Intervention Specialist, a certified Parent Educator, a BellaNet Teen support group facilitator, and an Abuse Survivor Coach who writes about healing after trauma on her blog and leads a discussion forum on Child Sexual Abuse Healing and Recovery online. 

My Interview with Svava


Q & A with Svava Brookssvava1

What makes you care so much about trauma?  

I was a victim of child sexual abuse and domestic violence my whole childhood. The silent and secrecy caused me more harm than the abuse itself.  I acted out and self harmed as a young adult and struggled with all aspects of my life until I started healing.

When I found the support I needed and found my voice I realized that breaking the silence was not only healing and empowering but also very helpful to both other survivors that did not know they could speak up, and to bystanders that did not understand how abuse happens and why kids don’t tell.

After 10 years of healing I started working as a child sex abuse (CSA) prevention educator and have educated 1000 of adults on how to keep their kids safe. I especially appreciate talking to parents.

As I healed myself and learned to become the parent I needed as a child I also educated my kids on body safety and spoke very openly how to stay safe, how CSA takes place and NO is always ok in setting boundaries with all people.

Now 20 years into healing – I know we can heal, we can restore… the abuse I suffered is not who I am, it is something that was done to me. I am not a victim, I am an empowered survivor, now thriver.. holding space and modeling for others what is possible.

Do you remember when you learned about ACEs and the impact it had on your personally? 

Yes, I learned about the ACE study in 2006, I heard Dr. Felitti speak in a conference in So-CA.  I almost ran out of the room. It was hard to fathom that this truth had been known for so long, yet no one is talking about it. I share the ACE study far and wide since. I invited Dr. Felitti to speak in Iceland about it and have interviewed him a couple of times.


It empowered me to get serious about healing and healthy lifestyle. My body has endured a lot. Now I am kind and gentle with myself and invest a lot of time in self care, mindfulness, excersise and nourishing my body, mind and soul with healthy, uplifting and positive activities.

How has learning about ACEs informed your work, as a mother, as a writer, as an activist? 

It is validated my experience, and passion in continuing to educate all around me, about the impact of trauma on us individually and  the world.  I have in the last year become a vegan – when you learn to connect with yourself again, and see how we are all connected, you start to respect all creatures.

As a parent, kids are not bad, they act out because they are hurting somewhere.  As a mom, I had to be role model of a kind, compassionate human being, and I walk my talk with my children and husband every day. Yes, bad things can happen but we can choose how we respond to it. How can we support each other in feeling our pain, sadness, feelings, ask for what we need and assume the world is a safe place were good things happen?

I have a motto that says: “It’s not trauma informed if it’s not informed by trauma survivors” which is part of what Parenting with ACEs is all about – working together. I’d love your thoughts about this and if and how you see the trauma treatment field changing?trauma informed

I love it – I think the good news is that the helping profession is understand the role they play in helping a survivor. It is about empowerment and encouraging the survivor to know they have power, can make choices and know what they need and want.  If the helping profession keeps treating victims as victims they are continuing the problem, keeping survivors feeling stuck, helpless and unsure of themselves.

Giving survivors a place and voice to share what they needed, and what will help them the most, empowers and deepens the connection between the helping field and the survivors… the very thing they are learning – to trust again.

A Little Bit About the Trauma Summit

Svava sends out two 1/2 hour video interviews each day for two weeks. They are available to watch for 3 days. This is similar to the format that is done on the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) if you are familiar with those. Those video interviews are excellent but only available if one can watch them live (find out more here).

To get more information or to sign up for , see the audio summit page.  Although it’s already started I’m sure one could sign up for the remaining days if interested in the content.trauma-summit

Does anyone in the Trauma summit speak about ACEs directly or indirectly? 

Not this time – I interviewed Dr. Felitti last time. But we do refer to it in a couple of interviews. –

What were you most surprised to learn in your interview process for this summit?

A few therapists are starting to use tools other than talk therapy. Mindfulness, meditation, energy work and healthy eating are all playing a bigger part in healing.  That has been my personal experience and so it is always wonderful when the outside world mirrors your inside world or the journey you are on.

Note: This blog post has been cross-posted on Parenting with ACEs on the ACEs Connection Network.capture

You Matter Mantras

  • Trauma sucks. You don't.
  • Write to express not to impress.
  • It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
  • Breathing isn't optional.

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