Why we’re here:
Years ago an abuse survivor was searching on the web for help. There were lots of sites for survivors of abuse but only one that had the kind of in-depth, powerful, insightful discussion he was looking for. After a few weeks on their discussion boards he made an amazing connection – he found someone who had more in common with him than anyone he had ever met. They exchanged several long, meaningful posts. Healing was happening.
Then the site went down. Their correspondence was lost. The web master left a note up saying he had been hastily forced to delete everything. The site never came back up.
The abuse survivor was also a professional web designer. He decided to create a well-rounded, professionally-designed site to help other abuse survivors heal. The idea for isurvive.org was born.
A bit of history:
After hatching the idea for isurvive.org, it was decided to have isurvive.org incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The original owner asked 2 people he knew very well to serve as Board of Directors with him.
Because the 501(c)(3) non-profit status was established in 2001, it allowed isurvive.org more security, and offered more protection, to participants than a site run by an individual.
Thanks to this non-profit status, individuals who do not support our potentially controversial discussion topics will have a much tougher time silencing our exchange.
Lori Schmitt joined the isurvive.org community as a Moderator, checking forums for editing and offering words of support where she could. Her role was small, but she took pride in being able to give a little something to a population of individuals trying to heal from childhood trauma.
Both the builder of isurvive.org and the then Executive Director decided to leave. The position was offered to the Moderators first. Lori submitted her resume, was interviewed twice and finally given ownership of isurvive.org. After two months of close training, she was on her own.
Lori’s focus on isurvive was second to none – she gave it an even more personal touch by adding a Toll free number so that members could talk to her directly if they were struggling or needed resources. She put in many hours each day to ensure the safety of isurvive and put all who came to join first and foremost.
The message boards were upgraded to add even more security for members. A chat room was installed to enable members to meet with people they had built friendships with. The chat room was secure and only members could gain access after contacting Lori for permission. Lori was always visible on the boards in her interactions with members. She gave a personal touch that is rarely seen on message boards like these, believing that everybody who came through the doors of isurvive deserved to be cared about; and she did just that.
That year also saw Gizmo joining as Lori’s assistant. She had been quietly offering support and assistance behind the scenes for several months before it was publicly announced. Gizmo had been an active member of isurvive under another handle for some time. Her background as a qualified therapist in the UK enabled her to give valuable insight at times when members were struggling more than usual. Gizmo was asked to sit on the Board of Directors as Treasurer, to oversee the distribution of any funds.
Jonesy, who was also an active member under a different username, joined the team as a much needed Moderator and assistant to Lori. Her role was to offer member support and work behind the scenes in the war against spam.
Lori passed away very suddenly in February 2011. This left a huge hole in isurvive as many members had developed close relationships with her.
It was a unanimous decision that isurvive would continue to be there for survivors, and Gizmo returned to join Jonesy in ensuring that Lori’s work would continue.
In July the site was transferred from a USA based server to one in the UK and took on a fresh new look. This brought with it the addition of direct support via our site technician Vince.
In August, Gizmo left to help create a new support site for abuse survivors.
In November isurvive added a new home page allowing guests easier access to resources and information regarding isurvive, while also creating another level of security for our forums. The forums were also upgraded and took on an integrated look with the full site.
In January, site policies including terms and conditions were reviewed and updated with legal council, helping to ensure added protection and safety for the site and membership. In addition, some needed forum changes and descriptions were added to help facilitate use by the membership.
In May, moderator and member representatives were added to the Board of Directors.
The site was upgraded to a dedicated server in August to increase the speed of performance, ensure security and reduce traffic issues.
In April we established a new area of the site entitled ‘Articles and Blog’. It covers topics such as healing, after effects, stories of recovery, research and reviews.
In May we reintroduced Tapatalk, following a fix of previous issues. This enabled easier viewing for those accessing the site via a mobile device. We were nominated for, and won, best site of the month by our server providers, heart internet. This month also saw us being listed in the resources section of a book.
In July one of our members came up with the idea of creating business cards as a means of further reaching out and 500 isurvive business cards were ordered up.
In August we added Google Translate to the site in an effort to open up to non-English speakers.
In September the isurvive cards were mailed to moderators, board members and forum members throughout the UK, USA, Germany, Belgium, Australia & Canada. The response by members willing to distribute them was overwhelming and we quickly ran out! Another 500 cards were ordered… again they were snapped up.
In November we partnered with Good Therapy.org, through their Good cause programme, which gave us increased exposure to a wider audience as another way of trying to raise much needed funds.
We continued to try and improve our chat experience by establishing a regular meet-up time. And so, on a member’s suggestion, the first Monday of the month was established.
In February, an issue with our service provider caused the server to go down; resulting in our WordPress area being destroyed and inaccessible for over a week. It was rebuilt but troubles continued on the forum and, as a precaution, a decision was made to shut down for several days to ensure security was adequately restored.
In July, our honorary Board member Joe (husband to Lori) sadly passed away.
Another highly frustrating year, blighted with IT issues and software upgrades, finally culminated in a fresh new look with subtle colour changes.
We moved chat providers twice this year trying to find one best suited to our needs. Success!
Our new site technology guru, Russ, came on board and assisted in restoring outstanding issues from the crash in 2016. He also ensured a smooth transition to our new host.
In March we made the sad decision to no longer seek ways of restoring the content from our old 2001-2006 message board (Orange Site). Russ had spent hours; restoring databases, configuring ancient PERL scripts / installing dependencies on the host to make it run. He restored the database to the point that he could search if he was looking for something specific but was unable to get the actual board software to run. We still have the data safely stored but are unable to make it accessible to the members.
Russ spent a considerable amount of time restoring the database from our old 2006-2011 forum (Blue Site) but was unable to get it back up and working. Watch this space as we haven’t yet given up.
Serenity became a Director and was appointed to assist in the daily running of the site alongside Jonesy. Her ever-expanding role was to include the organising of our resources and working behind the scenes registering new members.
The membership grows continually, and includes survivors from around the world.
Jonesy and Serenity, along with the Board of Directors and a team of Moderators, continue to give of their time freely and to work tirelessly; helping to ensure the safety, support and on-going work, of the haven that is isurvive.