It’s April, which means it’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It can feel weird to talk about such a sensitive subject – a subject that affects countless lives. By opening the conversation, we hope to erase the uneasy feeling surrounding the discussion and to open avenues of healing for the people who have been affected. For some, telling their story is therapeutic. For others, hearing those stories reduces the feeling of alienation that comes from experiencing assault. No matter how you heal, remember that others are surviving and healing too. If you need to help or guidance, resources are posted at the bottom of this post. If you are feeling motivated to speak up or otherwise support survivors, we have a few suggestions to get active this April.
Share your story
This is only applicable if you have a story to share and you want to share it. There is no deadline. There is no requirement to share at all. If part of your healing process involves sharing in the hopes of helping others, please do. If you do not wish to share publicly, do not let anyone pressure you into it.
Survivors and allies alike, listening empathetically and validating the emotions of a survivor are some of the best ways to help. Listen without judgment. Help when needed. Be respectful of privacy and do not push for more information than they are willing to share.
Normalize healthy discussions
Discussing sexual assault is difficult! It can be uncomfortable, vulnerable, emotional, challenging… but it can be talked about in healthy ways. The more open you are to having this conversation, the more normal it will feel. To clarify, we aren’t asking you to normalize sexual assault. We are asking you to reduce the stigmas surrounding it by having open conversations, stopping accusative or degrading narratives, and supporting those who are healing.
Hotlines. Therapists. Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS). There are many professionals and volunteers who are available and will join your support system towards healing.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Confidential and free.
Sexual Assault Support Services: 541-343-7277. Local, confidential, and free.