Undergrad Founds "More Than A Body" Group for Survivors of Sexual Violence

More Than A Body project founder, Megan Taylor with newly designed t-shirt
The #metoo movement has propelled the world into discussing issues around sexual assault and abuse, but what happens when survivors come together and turn these shared negative experiences into a positive source of healing?  Megan Taylor, junior Studio Art, Textiles major at Kent State University, is doing just that. When she is not creating art and music, she is on a mission to help survivors of sexual violence heal from their trauma.  Inspired to name the group after a song she wrote, Taylor founded the More Than A Body project (MTAB) two years ago. With Taylor serving as the president, the group has been steadily growing since, touching lives on Kent State campus and beyond.  

According to the official flyer, “MTAB is a self-love project established to bring awareness and support to survivors of sexual abuse and assault, as well as women feeling insecure about their physical body.”  The official symbol of the organization, the sunflower, was chosen because it is always blooming towards the light.  The group’s meetings are centered around open conversation, art, and music.  Taylor says art and music have helped her own healing process immensely. 

“I started MTAB, because as a survivor of sexual violence myself, I wanted to create a space and community for survivors,” said Taylor.  “There are a lot of wonderful organizations on campus that already spread a lot of great awareness and education, but I saw a lack of a survivors’ space specifically,” she said. “I wanted to create a place where people can go, move towards the light and heal and also help break down stigma that talking about sexual violence is taboo.”

Taylor wants people, regardless of gender or identity, to feel less alone as a part of this community. The group was founded with survivors in mind, but anyone who identifies with the message of MTAB is welcome to join.  As an official campus organization, the group holds regular biweekly meetings and additional events for its members, including a series of poetry workshops with Wick Poetry Center.  This has led to an upcoming Poetry Night which will take place on Monday, December 3 at the Williamson House from 6-8:30 p.m. A concert fundraiser is also being planned for the spring semester.

Taylor says starting the project has been humbling and unexpected because of the outpouring of messages from people of all genders who shared their stories with her.  She is also surprised in how much the project has helped in her own healing. “Once you think you have reached a place where you have healed enough, you realize there is more to process, new layers to peel back. I am grateful that MTAB has helped me continue this journey alongside all of these amazing people involved,” she said.

What is in the future for MTAB? 

“What I really hope is that people get what they need and the healing and love continues,” Taylor said.  She hopes the Kent State MTAB community will continue to grow and perhaps other branches can be started at other colleges around the country. 

For more information, please visit the MTAB Instagram or Facebook page. 

 

Images: (top) MTAB Executive Board. From left to right it is Natalia Francescon (Event Coordinator), Regina McWilliams (Vice President) Amanda Leon-Martin (secretary), and Megan Taylor (President). Treasurer, Abby Farabaugh is not pictured. (Image in text) Megan Taylor with a fresh t-shirt design made at the Spark Innovation Studio on campus.