How to Support Victims of Sexual Violence

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News reports over the weekend publicized the sexual violence recently perpetrated in the cases of Steubenville and New Delhi.

The fact that both these cases occurred in public with more than one perpetrator was particularly grievous, horrendous and terrifying. 
The first media reports about these two cases felt like the unnerving news of the shootings at Sandy Hook, the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and the Aurora, CO movie theater.

Is no one safe from sexual violence even on a bus, at a party, on a military base, in a church?

We know the answer. We’ve heard and read about it. One of every six women who read this has experienced sexual abuse, one in 33 men. 


This, like all cases of sexual violence I read or hear about, pains me, as a human being, a woman, and a person who has experienced sexual abuse.

The reports, images, and news talk linger in my mind much, much longer than they do in an 30 or 60 second news blurb. 

For the victims it lasts a lifetime, in one way or another.

This is an emotional laden subject and one you may click through. Not because you don’t care, but because you feel hopeless or powerless about this subject. 
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But you are not powerless to help support someone who has experienced sexual violence.

You can become more aware, volunteer with an organization that assists victims, donate money, and/or support organizations that are dedicated to stopping sexual violence.  

One of the national resources is RAIN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network). These suggestions to help emotional support someone comes directly from their site:

  • Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
  • Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with the crime.
  • Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual violence are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
  • If you are dealing with an issue involving your child, create a safe place by talking directly to them.
  • Encourage your loved one to report the rape or sexual violence to law enforcement (call 911 in most areas). If your loved one has questions about the criminal justice process, talking with someone on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, can help.
  • Let your loved one know that professional help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.
  • If your loved one is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany him or her wherever s/he needs to go (hospital, police station, campus security, etc.)
  • Encourage him or her to contact one of the hotlines, but realize that only your loved one can make the decision to get help.
rainn.org

To help support victims you don’t personally know, use your shopping acumen by  shopping to support RAINN. From Amazon to Urban Outfitters, and in between, anywhere from 7% to 1.5% of sales are contributed to this organization. Or buy some RAINN Gear, they have some very cool bracelets that I bought. Here’s one of them. 

Or help support my personal 30 day campaign to raise funds for RAINN. It’s not a whole lot, but it’s my pledge to support victims and be part of the change to make lives better. 

On my Facebook page I’ll have status updates for the next 30 days (until April 19, 2013). I’ll give away one of the bracelets.* 

Contributions are tax deductible, safe on a secure website, and you will receive a receipt from RAINN.

*details will  be posted on my FB page about giveaway.




Categories: Encouragement, Facebook Mona AlvaradoFrazier, RAINN, RAINN fundraiser, Rape, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, Strong Women, Support for victims

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