Speaking the truth of sexual violence takes courage. For survivors, the courage comes in so many forms. In some cases, it’s overcoming lies, coercion, manipulation, and fear instilled by the person who committed the violence. At the same time, survivors face very real fear, and draw on their courage to tell friends, family members, and helpers what happened to them. There are dark parts of the healing journey that take extreme courage to work through. Many times, courage is required to revisit hard things or draw on coping skills they’ve worked to build.
Preventing sexual violence takes courage too. Active and engaged bystanders need to overcome self-doubt, risk, and the social impacts that it takes to disrupt problematic behavior and shift the culture around them. It takes courage to shift conversations about accountability and behavior change away from the actions of survivors and toward the people responsible for the harm. It takes courage to name, and understand the impact that systems have on increasing the risk for violence.
In an increasingly divided political climate, it will continue to take courage for Survivors, Communities, and organizations like SARCC to continue speaking the truth about what we know about sexual violence. There is no political party, identity, neighborhood, gender, or income bracket that has ever been immune from sexual violence. It will take all hands on deck to understand the issue, build supportive networks of response for survivors, break down barriers, and build systems and support and understanding to disrupt this violence. Our goal, and the first value in our work, is to advocate. This means doing what we can to help survivors use their voices to seek justice and healing. Every elected official from all parties will benefit from understanding the impacts of legislative decisions, and the impacts of sexual violence on constituents in our communities. SARCC is grateful for the time that public figures take to visit our offices and learn about our work. Every person reading this post is a member of a community with local, state, and federal representation. You can use your voice to share what you know about sexual violence with courage.
Resource of the Week: Pledging he will not caucus with Democrats or Republicans, Berks County Representative Rozzi becomes Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives