REQ.1 is a non-profit organization that provides victim-survivors of gender-based violence with safe and supportive outlets for physical activity, self-expression, and community connections. It is built on a socially responsible framework dedicated to healing, recuperation, and transition. REQ.1 empowers its participants to transcend trauma and heal through movement and art.
REQ.1 and Ploome, our sister fitness boutique and studio partner, promote mindfulness and balanced living through physical activity, self-expression, and community connections.
REQ.1 and Ploome took root in Philadelphia, PA in 2010 and quickly gained momentum. The non-profit organization and corresponding fitness boutique have existed in various forms and across three continents since 2006. Then, as a Dartmouth graduate, founder and president Christina M. Stoltz embarked on a career in international human rights advocacy with a focus on human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and domestic and sexual violence. Following the publication of her Masters thesis in 2007 and with the support of her alma mater, the US State Department, UNIFEM, international outreach organizations, and state prisons, Christina organized and facilitated community campaigns, educational programs, and artistic projects in the United States, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to raise awareness on the issue of gender-based violence.
While working in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Christina survived a brutal assault and attempted abduction that left her feeling powerless. She was physically and psychologically broken, far from home, and unable to access the resources she needed to heal. As a community education coordinator and as a victim advocate in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, Christina found support and understanding from the residents of the crisis centers where she worked. Her personal recuperation through fitness and commitment to body studies inspired her to develop a creative healing program in Bishkek for trauma survivors of bride kidnapping, human trafficking, and domestic and sexual violence. Together, she and the participants of this program utilized innovative fitness, response writing, and experiential art to transcend trauma and heal through movement.
Following the 2010 civil uprising in Kyrgyzstan, Christina returned to the United States and dedicated her professional pursuits to trauma rehabilitation and recovery. She created the REQ.1-Ploome hybrid as a viable solution to the growing demand for affordable, empowering, and practical mechanisms of self-care that fitness facilities, non-profits, and community organizations in the US and abroad cannot systemically deliver. Together, REQ.1 participants and Ploome clients get fit & give back. Active, engaged, and informed, they share in the fun and innovation of movement that matters.
Gender-based violence is a global epidemic that perpetuates human rights violations and public health concerns. It takes many forms including, but not limited to: human trafficking; commercial sexual exploitation; and domestic and sexual violence. GBV is rooted in the inequities that stem from culturally defined and socially normalized gender roles. It is a challenging social evil to eradicate because it is often regarded as a "domestic" or "personal" issue. The assumption allows societies to ignore the prevalence of GBV and to isolate victims, perpetuating the false notion that GBV is a private matter. This makes it harder for victim-survivors of GBV to mobilize against it and to access long-term support and resources.
Trauma is the experience of injury, hurt, and harm. Processing trauma is a continuous struggle for victim-survivors of gender-based violence, whose reactions to traumatic events can be both physical and psychological - from muscle tension, fatigue, and impaired concentration to feelings of powerlessness, fear, and isolation. These symptoms are compounded by the social stigma of GBV. Societies often hierarchize victimhood and demoralize the recovery and rehabilitation process. This prevents victim-survivors of GBV from communicating their experiences and, in turn, exacerbates the physical and psychological symptoms of their trauma.
REQ.1's healing modalities are designed to support victim-survivors of all forms of gender-based violence. We utilize innovative fitness, response writing, and experiential art to encourage self-reflection and build self-esteem. Unlike many social service agencies that categorize victimhood and trauma response, REQ.1 provides its participants with a safe space and practical coping mechanisms to transcend trauma and heal through movement and art. We take a community-driven approach to self-care, empowering our participants to reach their goals and to support one another.
REQ.1 is also an opportunity for social service organizations to offer programs and models for healing that their budgets and staffs cannot systematically deliver. We step in as third party consultants to these affiliate agencies, but regard their clients as our own. REQ.1 places the needs and goals of its participants at the forefront of its programming, empowering them to determine the scope and trajectory of our work together. In short, REQ.1 participants name the terms, REQ.1 calls the shots, and affiliate organizations support the process. Our services continue as long as the healing does.