April, is when we eagerly watch for new leaves and wildflowers. April is also sexual assault awareness month when we acknowledge the pervasive and unspoken trauma so many people suffer from surviving sexual assault at some time in their lives. We can bring this into the light, speak up, ask for help and take care of each other.
Bringing Sexual Assault into the Light
The observance encourages people across the country to raise their voices in support of survivors and speak out if they have experienced sexual assault themselves. One month isn’t enough time to solve this serious issue, but it’s an excellent place to start. This month, do your part to end the widespread problem that is sexual assault. Here’s a list of statistics about sexual assault in the U.S.
- Nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States have experienced rape (or attempted rape) at one point in their lives.
- 1 in 67 men in the United States have experienced rape (or attempted rape) at one point in their lives.
- Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
- Only 5 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison (which is why it is important to speak out if this happens to you).
- The majority of sexual assaults happen at or near the victim’s home, often by someone they know and/or trust.
- Health care is 16% higher for women who were sexually abused as children.
- Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported.
I support an organization called Speak your silence that is focused on helping others realize their innate value and worth so that they can take the necessary steps to move forward and live the great lives they were created to live. They help people get one on one counseling, they provide a forum to share your story, and move forward. You can help those you love by simply wearing their iconic orange zigzag – called “The Stitch” – which symbolizes your voice. It’s typically the most subtle of gestures like this that make all the difference in helping people finally get their stories off their chest. They have a campaign for self guided path to recovery called the six steps to freedom. with the goal to help 1000 people complete these steps this year!
This cause is close to my heart as my daughter, Rosie is a survivor of sexual abuse by her father and our entire family has been healing from the trauma this has caused her and each of us. Silence is the enemy and as long as this topic is taboo and surrounded by shame and fear too many will continue to suffer. Rosie’s abuse came into the light in 2015 when she told her brother who then told me. We spent a few years in the turmoil of police, courts, divorce, counseling, moving out of the house, moving back into the house and trying to rebuild our lives with love and trust. It has been rough, I am not gonna lie. Out of respect for Rosie, I have kept quiet, sharing only with those close to us, and those who could help and support us. I have wanted to blog and build community for “non-offending parents” (that is what we are labeled) because it is such a lonely and guilt ridden road, however, the story is Rosie’s first and until she was ready to share, I could not. Counseling, talking to each other, sharing hard painful feelings and being present for each other has helped us through. Last year, Rosie told her story on a podcast at Mdrnday Muse and this year she has poured her energy into a clothing line she calls BUMMER, donating $5 of every sale to Speak your Silence. Please go see her instagram @bummer.bywosie, she has videos that tell the origin story of the BUMMER clothing line and details about this month’s collaboration with Speak your Silence. It has transformed her outlook. She has been working her way through the six steps:
Get it off your chest
Strip the weight from it
Tell yourself “you Rock!”
Diffuse the anger
Choose to forgive
Visualize what you want your life to look like
CALL TO ACTION
I have not gotten there yet, I spent most of the first 5 years making sure Rosie and her two brothers were going to be okay. It is hard to let go of being mom to even adult children when trauma happens and you are suddenly a single parent. This year my counseling has turned to helping me with my own grief and trauma. I must learn to trust and forgive which I find so so challenging. Rosie inspires me with how much she has healed and grown on her own path in her own way. I have been using counseling, writing, playing music and time in nature to help me reclaim myself. Many days are hard, I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want this to be our life and I dream about changing my name and escaping to a cozy seaside town in Maine where nobody knows me…….. but I would miss my kids and all the other blessings in my life. So I work every day to stay grounded in the here and now, I work to find things to be grateful for and I throw myself into my work as and ER nurse. It is crazy to use my work in a trauma center to escape my own trauma but it allows me to help other people through theirs.
This post is to help Rosie reach her goal of 100 shirts this month so her donation to Speak your Silence will be matched. 100 shirts = $500 donation! with the match is $1000!!!!! You can email her at email@example.com to order your shirt by April 30 and she will ship it to you beautifully packaged in May.
National sexual violence resource center https://www.nsvrc.org/saam
No More https://nomore.org
A guide to help survivors https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/friends_and_family_guide_final.pdf