Survivors of Torture, International is an independent nonprofit
organization dedicated to caring for survivors of politically motivated
torture and their families who live in San Diego County.
Since 1997, SURVIVORS has helped survivors to recover from their traumas through a holistic program including medical, dental, psychiatric, psychological, and social services.
SURVIVORS empowers torture survivors to reclaim the strength and vitality that were stolen from them by brutal dictators and governments. The specialized care SURVIVORS provides these vulnerable individuals helps them to become self-sufficient and healthy members of their families and of our community.
Meet Survivors «
- Facilitate the healing of torture survivors and their families;
- Educate professionals and the public about torture and its consequences;
- Advocate for the abolition of torture.
Our logo was designed by Steve Rivera who felt the logo “should symbolize moving beyond trauma, victory over defeat, breaking through to reconnect with humanity and life. As I looked further into trauma I realized that one never gets completely over it, but there is a point when a decision is made to confront what has happened and disarm the fear and hurt. That was the moment I wanted to capture.”
Most torture survivors are resilient individuals, many of whom were professionals and leaders in their homelands. Often, individuals are tortured because of their identity (ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, etc.) or because they are activists for human rights, women's rights and other causes. People may be tortured at random if the government or opposition group is trying to create a climate of fear in a population.
To date, SURVIVORS has provided services for more than 1,000 clients from more than 60 countries. SURVIVORS’ clients have included health care professionals, journalists, teachers, small business owners, government employees, and community leaders.
An estimated 11,000 survivors of torture live in San Diego County and an estimated 400,000 – 500,000 live in the United States. SURVIVORS is the only organization providing specialized care for torture survivors in San Diego.
“Many, many educated women, innocent people are tortured - for nothing.” - SURVIVORS’ client, a Middle Eastern mother of two.
Survivors of Torture, International was founded in 1997 as a grassroots nonprofit agency headquartered in the home of one of its three cofounders, Kathi Anderson. The first year of its incorporation, SURVIVORS did not serve clients directly. Instead, the three founders (Kathi Anderson, Bill Radatz and George Falk) spent the year building the organization’s infrastructure so that it would rest on a solid foundation.
They educated themselves on techniques of interviewing and treating torture survivors, researched the size and composition of the San Diego population of torture survivors, expanded the board of directors, developed a mission statement and three-year strategic plan, identified the vision and values of the organization, developed an effective, holistic service delivery model based on resiliency and recovery, established contacts with government on the local and national levels and began seeking financial support. During that year, SURVIVORS was awarded its first grant (and then only source of financial support) for $2,000 from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.
With no paid staff, SURVIVORS managed to treat 53 clients in 1998. Four contracted therapists assisted survivors by providing psychological counseling, preparing affidavits to document the psychological effects of torture, and testifying on clients’ behalf at asylum court hearings. As the only organization in San Diego providing this type of treatment, SURVIVORS was deluged with requests from attorneys and other professionals seeking this support for their clients applying for political asylum.
We would like to thank all the artists, photographers and other contributers for allowing us to use their work on our website. If you notice that any of your work is on our website and it has not been credited on this page, please feel free to contact us, and we'll make sure that you are properly credited. This version of the website was designed and coded in the Fall of 2008.
Anna Borska: flickr.com/aeter
Anduze Traveller: flickr.com/photos/anduze-traveller
Angela Sevin: flickr.com/photos/angela7
Carlotta Cunha: flickr.com/photos/_brilho-de-conta/
Michael Menefee: flickr.com/photos/fortphoto/
Ikhlasul Amal: flickr.com/photos/ikhlasulamal/
Matilde Zacchigna: flickr.com/photos/lunadirimmel/
Robino Robokow: flickr.com/photos/robino/