Where did the month go?! April is coming to an end and our Sexual Assault Awareness Month was filled with educational trainings, awareness events and important conversations. We want to thank everyone who participated in our events and supported us financially. We would love to keep up this momentum all year long! It is crucial we keep supporting survivors, educating helping professionals and pushing our lawmakers to implement legislation to support survivors.
There are a few simple things YOU can do in your daily life to help us make a culture change. First, volunteer your time at our local Rape Crisis Center. We have multiple opportunities and a mixture of direct service and administrative tasks. We truly have something for everyone! If you are interested in learning more contact our Volunteer and Intern Coordinator, Holly at HollyL@hope-healing.org
Second, we need to advocate for laws that destigmatize victims and press for accountability of perpetrators. We need to not ask victim blaming questions like; “What were you wearing?” “Were you consuming alcohol?” “How hard did you try to stop it?” “Why didn’t report this sooner?”. Survivors often already blame themselves. Anyone asking these questions is just reinforcing the thoughts of self-blame. Instead of us asking the survivor these questions we need to BELIEVE them. We need to provide resources, support and advocacy! We need to elect politicians who are implementing effective legislation for survivors and care about agencies and organizations who provide advocacy services.
Third and most important, we need to BELIEVE survivors. When someone discloses sexual assault, we should tell them “I believe you.” Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crime because of the stigma and culture created by society. This means there are less perpetrators being held accountable and less survivors getting the justice they deserve. The way you choose to respond to disclosure from a survivor could determine how they proceed. For us at the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties we want to be a resource for any survivor or co-survivor. Our 24/7 hotline is open for resources and emotional support 330.374.7273.

Megan Vermillion
Assistant Director of the Rape Crisis Center