In The Media


The Heal Project is focused on preventing childhood sexual abuse through addressing its systemic root causes, working “through healing the wounds of sexual oppression and embracing sexual liberation,” as the group puts it. The group provides training, programs, and media for colleges, organizations, and conferences on this topic, and is led by Ignacio G Hutía Xeiti Rivera, a Black-Boricua and Taíno cultural sociologist, and Aredvi Azad, an Irani-American certified sex and relationship coach. Rivera says the group is often overlooked when it comes for funding because they don’t take a traditional approach in trying to eradicate childhood sexual abuse. For example, part of their focus is on reworking how children are taught to unconditionally accept what adults say.

The Rivera-Azad Sexual Healing Integration Model (RASHIM) is a demystifier of the world of sex and sexual relations. It contains more than three decades of combined experiences of Mx. Rivera and Mx. Azad, two intersectional sexuality educators who have dedicated their work to healing sexual trauma through sexual liberation. Every element of sexuality must be understood within the existing power relations, and that redistribution of power is essential to the work of sexual healing and liberation.


A sexual violent culture is what we all live and breathe. It impacts everybody to different degrees, depending on the types of violence that you have suffered. And depending on who you are, how much support you have in your life, how marginalized you are, it can show up in very different ways," said Aredvi Azad, a sex and relationship coach and co-executive director of The HEAL Project.

  • The Invisibles | by Ignacio Rivera, To Be Published in We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival by Natalie West | February 2021

With inadequate responses to CSA and little trust in police among people of color and immigrant communities, relying on cops to address an intersectional issue like CSA is questionable, at best. Yet, CSA, together with other forms of sexual violence, has turned into an excuse to justify policing. ~Ignacio & Aredvi


  • Mother Fuck! | by Ignacio Rivera, To Be Published in Becoming MILF: Parents in the Adult Film Industry on Sex, Parenthood, and Stigma by Madison Young | TBD
  • Fluidity: Conduit of My Light | by Ignacio Rivera To Be Published in My Race is My Gender by Stephanie Hsu | TBD
  • Finding Our Desire: Survivors Exploring Sexual Liberation| by Ignacio Rivera, Edited by Aredvi Azad, To Be Published in 'Me Too' International Blog | TBD
  • BDSM: A Survivor's Tool | by Ignacio Rivera, Edited by Aredvi Azad, To Be Published in 'Me Too' International Blog | TBD


Rivera noted nongendered pronouns apply to all people, not just those in the queer and gender-nonconforming communities. They added that it's critical to encourage young people to explore their own identities in a variety of ways. "Denying young people that right only speaks to the power and control adults have over young people; it doesn't allow for them to experience life on their terms," Rivera said.

We need to help kids understand every aspect of sexual and gender identity, and that asexuality is a thing, too," said Aredvi Azad, who identifies as genderfluid and uses they/them pronouns.

We believes that there is a knowledge, there is a wisdom that survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse hold that can be helpful in ending the cycle of [sexual] violence. ~Aredvi

I’m just living my life, this is my healing journey. People don’t get it, but I often say kink and sex are my medicine, and they are mine to have; it is a thing that brings me joy because I have control over that now. ~Ignacio

In this interview, featuring their baby grandson, Ignacio discusses growing up in Brooklyn, becoming politicized in Massachusetts, and the connections between sexual liberation and ending CSA.

Our guest this week, Ignacio Rivera, is an individual truly committed to sexual healing. ​Ignacio is a Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit, Black, Boricua, Taíno who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they.” Ignacio’s work focuses specifically on queer, trans, kink, and sexual liberation.

Rivera's own healing journey highlighted for them the importance of breaking down the stigmas around sex and sexuality. "My abuser was a girl, and, for so long, I struggled with my attraction to women because my abuse happened when I was raised and socialized as a girl. I had feared that my desire for other girls was a result of the abuse and I shouldn’t act on that, and I suppressed my own queerness for years," they share with Allure.

Veteran sex educator Ignacio Rivera shares highlights of many Desire Mapping workshops and talks about the power of community as a solo poly sex activist, survivor, and mother.



  • Consent, Community, Psychedelics | Ignacio Rivera, Panelist at Maine Fungi Fest | May 2024 Watch the panel here

We constantly see that victims and harm doers are created in a culture of secrecy and shame around sex,” explained Aredvi Azad, the organization’s Director of Education and Programs.

A panel of seasoned activists share an in-depth heart-felt analysis of uniqueness of queer and trans survivorship. The HEAL Project is a BIPOC/trans/survivor-led initiative working to prevent and end Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) and the cycle of sexual violence, and The Network/La Red is a survivor-led organization working to end partner abuse in LGBTQ communities.

Working through sexual trauma is deep, continuous work. A powerful tool for healing is manifestation; and when combined with ritual, crystals, or other elements of nature, manifestation can amplify positivity. Working with the natural beauty around us not only grounds us, but aids in raising our vibration, allowing healing to occur.

This session features national survivor advocates and community organizers, focusing on how the movement to end child sexual abuse has changed in the intervening 10 years. The session includes an opening grounding meditation and concluding self care check in.

This symposium includes two workshops. Ignacio's workshop,  "Oh God: Pleasure and Faith" starts at 1:24:00.



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