Hope Project Newsletter November 2018
“ On average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States ” (rainn.org). Sexual assault is a violation of a person’s body, sexuality, sense of self and safety. We know that sexual assault has lasting, long-term effects psychologically, emotionally and physically. Sexual Assault survivors can be of any age, any gender, and any background. Survivors may never forget their victimization, but they can heal with support from their family, friends, and community.
Sexual Assault and Suicide
Sexual assault is associated with an increased lifetime rate of attempted suicide. Survivors who experienced sexual assault at some point in their life have an increased risk of mental health conditions. Survivors often suffer silently, and the impact can lead to very dangerous outcomes. The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs reported that people who have been sexually assaulted report numerous suicide attempts and are more likely to be treated for an injury related to a suicide attempt.
Transgender Awareness Week
November 13th is the start of Transgender Awareness week. Although sexual violence affects every demographic and every community, studies show that it is even higher for the LGBTQ+ Community. As a community, LGBTQ+ faces higher rates of poverty, stigma, and marginalization, which puts them at greater risk for sexual assault.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects (NCAVP) estimates that nearly one in ten LGBTQ+ survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) has experienced sexual assault from those partners. Studies suggest that around half of transgender people and bisexual women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes.
The U.S Transgender Survey in 2015 found that “47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their life”. Within the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people face the most alarming rates of sexual violence. The epidemic of violence within the LGBTQ+ community is something we must all work together to address. Every survivor deserves healing. For LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual assault the discrimination they face because of their identities often makes them hesitant to seek help.
What is Transgender Awareness Week?
Transgender Awareness Week is a time for transgender people and their allies to take action and bring attention to the community by educating the public and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender people face.
Check out GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) :
Meet Tiq Milan and his story as a transgender Advocate.
What Can I Do?
It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they have experienced sexual violence or sexual assault. Here are some supportive phrases that can help a survivor through their healing process.
“I believe you.” - It takes a lot of courage for a survivor to come forward and share their story. They may feel ashamed, concerned that they won’t be believed, or worried they’ll be blamed. Leave any “why” questions out of the conversation. Simply let them know you believe them.
“It’s not your fault.” - Survivors may blame themselves, especially if they know the perpetrator personally. Remind them they are not to blame and reassure them that they did not do anything to deserve this.
“You are not alone.” - Let the survivor know that you care about them and that you are here to listen and help in any way that you can. You can also remind them of the resources that are available to support them.
“I’m sorry that this happened.” - Let the survivor know that this should not have happened to them. Acknowledge that the experience has affected their lives. Using phrases like “This must be really tough for you” and, “I’m so glad you are sharing this with me” can help to communicate empathy.
Hope Project Self-Care Tips
Click here for Self-Care tips after experiencing trauma https://www.rainn.org/articles/self-care-after-trauma
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Be a part of the solution!
Hope Project volunteers advocate for Sexual Assault Survivors at our local hospital.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-703-3762 ext. 17 for more information.
Hope Project advocates are available to provide information about our program and free presentations on awareness and prevention to schools, businesses, churches, and other organizations. Email email@example.com or call 360-703-3762 ext. 16.