Tag Archives: sexual assault

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and there’s a lot going on! Click the calendar file to open it in a new window and zoom in. Once the image is open you can also control click or right-click and save it to your computer.

I’ll try to post regular updates here with information about locations & times, and any new events we hear about. You can learn about the history of SAAM by clicking here.

The IUSACS Last Minute Gift Guide!

Are you realizing that you forgot a present for someone in your life? Don’t worry, SACS is here to help. We’ve gathered a list of beautiful gifts that are fun to give and receive and support survivors of sexual assault — what could be better? Here are our top picks for your holiday shopping.

 

Hope. Courage. Strength. Tote Bag from RAINN. $25

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This sturdy tote bag will help your loved one tote his or her books around campus, pick up groceries, or carry a change of clothes and a toothbrush for an overnight trip — all while spreading an important message. All proceeds to RAINN. Click here to purchase.

The INCASA Cookbook. $15

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The Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault published a cookbook this year. This makes a great gift for a friend who is living off-campus and learning to cook, or anyone who enjoys food! Proceeds support INCASA’s work in the state of Indiana. Purchase & learn more about INCASA here

NO MORE Water Bottle. $26.95

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This sleek, reusable water bottle accomplishes two missions: reducing plastic bottle waste and spreading the word about the national organization NO MORE, a group that aims to unify those working to end domestic violence and sexual assault. The group also has magnets, t-shirts, pins, and other products to fit any budget. Go shop here.

Declaration Necklaces from RAINN. Individual $8.50 or pack of 4 for $27.70.

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These strong, simple necklaces come in four messages: STRONG, HOPE, COURAGE, & STRENGTH. Choose one or a whole set for the strong survivor in your life. Proceeds to RAINN. Shop here.

Tiny Pine Press Gratitude Cards from the Joyful Heart Foundation. Set of 6 for $24.

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A practical gift this time of year. These sweet cards feature the word “Gratitute” and a single Swarovski crystal on the front and the mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation on the back. The Joyful Heart Foundation is an organization that aims to heal, empower, and educate survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. It was started by actress Mariska Hargitay who plays Detective Olivia Benson on the popular television show Law & Order SVU. 100% of the proceeds of this card go to Joyful Heart. Purchase here.

Finally, no matter what you buy, if it can be bought through Amazon.com, Ebay.com, or a whole host of major online retailers, it can be purchased in such a way that a small portion of the proceeds go to RAINN. You can click links to those websites or download an app that will automatically route you through their system at this link.

Thanks so much for shopping to support these important groups, and from all of us at SACS, have a wonderful winter break and a safe and happy holiday!

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Not Ever by Rape Crisis Scotland

Just wanted to share one of my favorite public service announcement videos ever. It is 100% on point.

Nobody asks to be raped.

Self-Care Sunday: Home For The Holidays

Joy, peace, love, and family. Tables laden with delicious and carefully prepared food. Gifts wrapped in shiny paper with big bows on top. Menorahs and Christmas trees, Thanksgiving turkeys, the champagne toast at midnight on New Year’s, laughter, gratitude, and festive decorations. This is the cultural script we all here every year as late November and December roll around.

For survivors of sexual abuse, this season is not always as joyful and carefree. For some, going home to family means seeing the very people that abused you or covered up your abuse. For others who have ‘come out’ about their abuse while at college, going home means putting on a fake smile again. For some who are healing, the stress of so many social obligations can be daunting. And for the many survivors of sexual abuse who are struggling with an eating disorder, the good-centered holiday celebrations can be upsetting, frightening, and nearly unmanageable.

It is possible to get through the holidays in one piece, and we want to help you do that. There are many tools, services, and methods you can use to ease the stress of the holidays. Here are our top five tips for getting through the holidays:

5. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” This sentence is one of our go-to phrases. When dealing with difficult or manipulative family members or friends, it can be easy to be overwhelmed and struggle to come up with a response. This simple phrase is honest, direct, and often surprisingly effective at shutting difficult conversations down.

4. Carve out alone time, wherever you find it. A few years ago when I really needed to talk to my fiancé while he was spending time with his family at the holidays, he came up with a clever way to both honor his time commitment to his family and find time to talk with me: he volunteered to walk to the local store for eggnog. During his walk to and from the store, we were able to talk. Volunteer to run errands, walk the family dog, switch the laundry — whatever. Take advantage of bathroom breaks to take a few deep breaths, stretch, text a friend, or recite a comforting poem or song lyric to yourself.

3. Find ways to contribute that you are comfortable with. Maybe the big block party is too much for you and all the crowds and noises are about to send you over the edge. Can you sneak into the kitchen to help with dishes, or monitor the kiddos while they watch a Christmas movie? Maybe you can spend the evening whipping up your homemade cocoa and pouring it into mugs. Perhaps sweet old Mrs.Smith needs a quiet companion to converse with while she sits in her armchair. If you find ways to be involved that fit your comfort level, you will feel better and be less likely to catch flack from others.

2. Know your support team and help them help you. Before leaving for the holidays, ask a few friends if they can be your texting buddies in tense situations. Find out if any of your good friends will be home, and keep them on speed-dial. A good friend can always call and say they “need you” to help them babysit their little cousin or give their car a jump, providing you with an easy exit from any uncomfortable situations. If the annual New Year’s party will include someone from your past who you can’t handle seeing, find out if a few of your friends want to get together for a safe, trigger-free holiday night.

1. Reach out for helpYou are not the only one struggling this time of year, and there are lots of services that can help you get through the holidays. Follow these links for information about contacting the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network phone & online hotline; the National Eating Disorders Helpline; and the national suicide hotline.

Self-Care Sunday: Allow Yourself To Cry

I remember talking with a dear friend of mine, a gentleman who has been campaigning against sexual violence for many years. As a new and young activist, I was beginning to feel the weight of our work. I asked him what he did when he felt overwhelmed or hopeless in face of all the pain he hears about daily, and he replied that he bows his head and grieves for all that has been done to these people he deeply cares for.

It was such a simple answer, and yet it wasn’t one I had thought of. He encouraged me to allow myself time, ritual, whatever I needed, to grieve and mourn for the pain that I have experienced and the pain that I have witnessed.

So this self-care Sunday, I don’t have a cute or fun activity for you. I have the sobering reminder that far too many people are harmed by sexual violence every day, and that we must take time to grieve, as survivors and as their advocates. If you were harmed by sexual violence, I want you to know that I bow my head and mourn for what you lost. I want you to know that it is okay to recognize what you have lost and to mourn those parts of yourself. You don’t need to be a powerful survivor every minute of every day — some days you may want to stay in your room and cry and eat take-out and watch Netflix. That’s okay. Please do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself — you have suffered, in many ways, a loss. 

You may find some more structured forms of grieving to be helpful to you. Some suggestions I have are:

  • Write a letter to the part of yourself that was lost in your assault or abuse. 
  • Dedicate a candle to yourself and light it.
  • Draw a picture of what you have lost.
  • Listen to sad music and let yourself cry.
  • Sing lullabies to yourself or listen to lullabies on YouTube or Pandora.
  • Read poetry about sexual violence at www.endthesilencecampaign.org/poetry (warning: some of these may be triggering; proceed with caution)

Remember that while grieving your loss, or the pain that you have witnessed, is important, it is also important to not get stuck in this place. Please seek counseling to help you if you feel you need it.  Visit CAPS or SACS for more information about finding services. If you are not a member of the IU community but are seeking help dealing with sexual assault, either as a survivor or a supporter, please visit RAINN.org and consider using the Online Hotline.

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TBTN 2013

(Click on the photo to link to the IDS coverage of this year’s Take Back the Night march)