“the body: a home for love” -A Stunning Reclamation

Salomé Gómez-Upegui
5 min readApr 30, 2019

In the words of founder Deun Ivory, “ the body: a home for love, is a beautiful integration of wellness, activism, and the arts; merging all of those for the purpose of sensory healing through visual storytelling and dialogue around sexual trauma and the black female body.”

“Even the name to me is an affirmation,” Ivory continued. “Because it speaks to the identification of the body as a place for God’s spirit, for love and joy, comfort, and beauty. When you think about sexual trauma and survivors, a lot of times we’re robbed from experiences of joy and self-love, and what it means to be free in our bodies. Through the body: a home for love I’m essentially advocating for this process of reclaiming.”

The realization of this extraordinary initiative began unraveling last year when Deun’s attention turned to a grant program released by VSCO, that was looking for stories on empowering marginalized communities. Intrigued by the subject, and motivated by her friends, the idea organically sprouted as Deun filled out her application.

“The concept for the grant was home,” she recalled. “At first I thought, ‘ok, maybe I can talk about black people’s beauty. But God and I were going back and forth. I had this feeling that I had to deepen my photography practice and use it to heal myself. When the thought ‘you should do your project on sexual abuse’ came up, initially I was like ‘No!’ But it kept coming up, and I trust God in my life. I felt like obviously there’s a reason he wanted me to do this on sexual abuse, and I thought ‘Fine, I’ll interview black women about their healing experiences regarding sexual trauma.’ That’s when I began thinking about the home like a body, and how the body should be a place of love.”

Deun referred further to her deliberate focus on black women: “I don’t think that black girls or black women are ever seen through the lens of innocence, I feel like sometimes it’s nearly impossible for the world to see us as innocent. I decided I wanted to focus on women who look like me, and who were never given a chance to speak about their sexual trauma because they’ve been blamed by their community for their own abuse, and sexualized at a young age.”

Upon sending the grant application, Ivory knew it was meant to be. “Even though…