Lately, there has been a lot of attention surrounding the topic of sexual assault because of both the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the trending “me too” hashtag on social media. While all of this attention is great, because sexual assault survivors are getting the awareness they deserve, it can be difficult for some survivors to see all of the media coverage. The media attention and outpouring stories from people who have experienced sexual assault can be overwhelming and bring back unwanted memories. If you are experiencing this, or are a sexual assault survivor in general, here are some resources to help.
1. RAINN: RAINN is the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. It’s the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. Along with providing resources for victims, RAINN also strives to educate and improve public policy. It operates several free, confidential national resources for sexual assault victims, including the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE), the National Child Abuse Hotline (800.4.A.CHILD), National Organization for Victim Assistance and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. These are just a small sample of the services on their website. To view a full list, click here.
2. Safe Horizon: Safe Horizon is a non-profit victim support service. It offers support for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, rape and sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, homeless youth, and other forms of abuse. They offer a 24-hour hotline (1-800-621-HOPE), help connect victims to counseling and people who can help them report their abuse, and provide low-cost legal aid for their low-income clients.
3. 1in6: 1in6 is a supportive resource specifically geared toward men who are survivors of sexual assault. It offers a 24/7 confidential online chat with a trained advocate, online peer support groups, information on sexual assault and resources, and the stories of other male survivors of sexual assault.
4. FORGE: FORGE is a transgender anti-violence organization. It offers direct support to transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender nonbinary victims of sexual and domestic assault, date rape, and stalking. It connects victims to therapists in their area, offers guides for survivors, and runs a listserv, where survivors can share their stories and connect with one another.
5. Anti-Violence Project: AVP is a support service for LGBTQ+ people and those affected by HIV who have survived any form of violence. They offer direct client services to survivors, provide free legal counseling to survivors in New York City, coordinate the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, and offer a 24-hour confidential hotline (212-714-1141).
These are, of course, just five of the many resources available for survivors of sexual assault. If you are experiencing mental triggers because of the recent events in the media, please reach out to the community that supports you. Remember that the things you have survived do not amount to your worth, and remember to take care of yourself and take breaks from the media if need be.