#GivingTuesday, Giving Hope After Sexual Assault

As a rape survivor, hearing people talk about their sexual assault stories is empowering.  I’m filled with pride for those who seek peace from being victimized.  I’m filled with gratitude for their efforts to seek justice. To all who support survivors, like the military’s Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) and Victim’s Advocates (VA), thank you for giving hope to those who were sexually assaulted.

30 years ago, when I joined the unwanted sorority of survivors, society provided no resources. No 800 hotline or shelter ~ locally, regionally, or nationally.  Even five years ago, when I began speaking about about sexual assault prevention, bystander intervention, and resiliency, the topic was taboo. Yes in some ways the topic is still taboo, but I’ve seen progress, but I’m still realistic to the work that needs to be done.

For example, pillars in our society, people like Charlie Rose, need to be educated.  It was painful to discover he, a man I revered for his worldly views, curiosity, journalistic research and seemingly compassion for all, is guilty of sexual abuse. Knowing he used his powerful position to manipulate and demean women for his sexual pleasure is gut wrenching. I shouldn’t be surprised. After all Trump became President after bragging about grabbing woman’s pussy without their consent, simply because he could, because he was a celebrity.

When I think of the big picture, of the work that still needs to be done, I get exhausted.  But when I think of individuals who take on this subject, who become David challenging Goliath, I give thanks to their courage.

On this #GivingTuesday I must thank all who give of themselves by advocating sexual assault prevention, bystander intervention, and resiliency.  Thank you for speaking your truth about this heinous topic. Thank you to those who listen to my story, for teaching me that the story is bigger then myself and that by sharing we connect, education, inspire others.