Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2014 Article

I thought I would write a Sexual Assault Awareness month 2014 Article for a lot of reasons, as many of you do know April is sexual assault awareness month.  I do not know if anyone is even reading my blog anymore, but regardless I want to share my thoughts on this month and the survivors including myself and all the wonderful people who help those who have been hurt.

Awareness months are very hit and miss with me, while I understand that they are important, per my usual I wish they could be named “Support” Months, lol.  Many are aware of Sexual assault and I have found that the statistics are really not important to those that have not been assaulted or do not work in the field who assisted those that were not raped (again this is just from my experience). From just one blog, like my own, it is difficult to write about what would be the best approach for Ideas for Sexual Assault Month , but I have a few and would like to share them.

About two years after my rape I was on a radio show about rape with two other individuals. These individuals were in the Psych/Therapy/Victim Assistance field (I do not recall exactly which).  They wanted a survivor on the call and I agreed, however I spoke the least and was asked very few questions.  I would obviously have no knowledge if the other individuals on the show were sexually assaulted but if they were it was not mentioned.  They were the “professionals” and therefore it seemed (seemed to me) that their input was more important. That I believe is an issue with many talk shows, radios programs, and Awareness months.

 Now I know that many who plan awareness events or enter the field they are in is because they have been assaulted and that is a wonderful thing.  They truly know what it is like and how being sexually assaulted is different from person to person. However there are numerous people in the “helping” field have not been there, that does not mean that they are wrong or fail in their fields or event planning, that is not what I mean at all. What I do mean is that when it comes to having to Sexual assault awareness month events I think it is important that if one wants to raise awareness it has to be powerful, emotional, really hit home. That being said, here are my sexual assault awareness month ideas.
1.      
 Gather Survivors at your event – Everyone knows that people get deeply engaged in stories, (ex. Books, movies, etc.).  By finding survivors who are comfortable talking about EXACTLY what happened to them, the awareness becomes real, not just facts and statistics. This is a double benefit for those you are trying to reach and the survivors. Many survivors want to be heard, what to tell their story, want to prevent it from happening to others, and by them sharing it helps them to do that as well as engage the listener. Also, getting family members to speak can drive home the fact that this can happen to your daughter, son, sister, brother, whomever.
2.        
Many Sexual Assault Awareness events are geared at youth, as it should be, and they need the stories more than adults :).  As I recall, the “it will never happen to me” mindset was at its height as a youth and although I am older now and a lot has changed, I doubt that part has:).  Obviously if you can find youths that are comfortable talking about their experience that is wonderful, but many times not the case.  An approach with youth may be a video or slideshow, but not one of those facts or sexual assault tips, I have seen too often (don’t ignore those, a flyer would work).  While you do not want to scare youths, you do want to drive it home, you can take youth survivor stories (without names) and create an engaging, yet real story of how easily and how violent sexual assault can be.  If anyone really has an issue with that and think it may be too frightening or offensive, then I think you should take a good look at what they are watching on TV or perhaps the video games they play. It they can handle this they can handle the real thing.
3.      
 There are some great Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2014 events that I wish more people would do.    I love the events such as self-defense, joining up with bars and nightclubs, Rock against rape, and mock trials are great. If trying to raise awareness or funds go further than the T-shirt, why not partner up with items that people really want, it can get your organization more funds and provide more income to create wonderful events in future. Examples would be Consumables such as food, candles, mother’s day gifts, etc.  People want those things and if they can donate to a worthy cause and get them they will.
So in summary, be real when it comes to the events, do not sugar coat because you are worried it will be too graphic, IT IS GRAPHIC!  Make your events fun, real, and raise funds with items that people want, not a tee shirt that is going to end up at some flea market or thrift store.

Also, please do keep in mind in this Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2014 Article, that these are just my opinions on what I have seen with events and ideas I have to make the events more powerful and profitable, I am not putting down any I have seen, as they all do a good thing for a good cause.

Victoria
P.S. I will actually be writing again tomorrow, I know odd, about a great free event that I have attended in the past to help with recovery. 

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