Why I changed the name of the company to SARA

by Sara Mishina Kunz

When I first had the idea to build a mobile app that would directly and discreetly give sexual assault survivors coping tools and healing resources I had a clear vision filled with passion, heart, and big ambitions. That big dream was  ‘The Survivor Stories Project’ and it goes back to 2013. 

In 2020 after losing my job as a performer and deciding to make this all happen, I used that same name to honor the survivor I was when I thought of it seven years ago. I incorporated, fundraised, competed in pitch competitions, and got a 501c3 designation.

Turns out I’m not the only person who thought ‘survivor stories’ was a great name. But that’s not why I changed it. Here are the real reasons this company is now called SARA (sexual assault recovery assistant)

#1- Someone copied me, but in an awful way.

One day, a few months after starting the company I woke up to an inbox flooded by lawyers and sexual predators. I got cease and desist emails because I had apparently named predators. I got emails from predators telling me how I am ruining their lives with a list of reasons they couldn’t possibly have sexually assaulted someone and how the person who named them “ is crazy", "a liar", bla bla bla- just a bunch of victim-blaming I don’t have time for.

I was triggered, confused, and pissed off. Worst of all, it was taking away time from the real work I needed to do.

Turns out another group formed using the same name and branding I chose, only this group explicitly named aggressors in graphic stories of sexual assault from survivors. Needless to say, that’s not what I do. It was the final push I needed to find a name that better reflected the specificity, intention, and effect of the work I do.

#2- I’m already one of over 30 million sexual assault survivors.

Using ‘The Survivor Stories Project’ made me one in a few hundred thousand which just isn’t special enough for what we do here at SARA.

#3- Everything I do is for survivors

The goal of the SARA app is to discreetly deliver solutions to the hands of survivors. I had to admit that having the word ‘survivor’ in a title not only made the entire operation less discreet, but for some survivors (like those in domestic and partner sexual violence situations) it could even put them in danger. That's not a risk I'm willing to take.

#4- Upgrade!

SARA- sexual assault recovery assistant. It tells you what I do, but can be hidden safely in plain sight. I avoided this at first because it’s also my name and felt self absorbed, but turns out people love the coincidence!

#5- This is so much bigger than a project

It's obvious, but this is a company. This is a federally recognized nonprofit. I've been working on this full-time for 9 months. This is my life. This is going to change the world. This is more than a project.

There you have it. SARA is easy to remember, clear, and directly addresses the needs of our users. Sexual Assault Recovery Assistant. So keep an eye on your inbox for letters from me- Sara at SARA.

And make sure you're on the mailing list so you can be the first to know when the SARA app is ready and participate in our user testing.


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