with Barbra Graber
Survivors Standing Tall
( UNDER CONSTRUCTION--SUBMISSIONS OR CORRECTIONS WELCOME)
National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault
Green Dot bystander intervention science and programs for schools and colleges
This American Life, a podcast about five women who were sexually harassed by the same office boss.
The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, on trauma
A website of resources about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, including pro bono legal aid
CONGREGATIONAL TRAININGS ON CHILD AND YOUTH PROTECTION:
Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (Evangelical)
Dove's Nest (Mennonite)
Samaritan Safe Church--child sexual abuse prevention
"I am Jane Doe"
Dr. Anna Salter
Jennifer J. Freyd's
Betrayal Trauma Theory
An important option for gaining some sort of justice and accountability for the crime committed against you means allowing our legal system to do what it does, albeit very imperfectly. Because the experience can be intimidating, challenging, and even re-traumatizing, it is important to find a trusted friend, family member, or ally to walk with us.
Some things you may not know:
-The lawyers who represent survivors of sex crimes in civil law suits (law suits in which the punishment is money) do not require you to have money to pay them up front. They receive a percentage of any settlement they win on your behalf. If they don't believe they have a chance of winning a settlement they will likely not take your case.
-If you would feel guilty filing a suit for money because it feels like "blood money," remember that rape culture has worked hard to make us feel guilty for expecting any compensation whatsoever and rape culture publicly condemns us for being "money hungry." If you are choosing not to file a law suit for these reasons, remember that any award you receive can be passed on to a non-profit organization of your choosing.
-Filing a civil suit, regardless of its outcome, brings the perpetrator's name into the public square. This makes it safer for others to come forward who were also harmed by the perpetrator. It also warns other potential victims and thus aids in prevention.
-You can file a civil suit anonymously as Jane Doe
-The truth is your best defense and the value of your truthful account of what happened stands on its own and has worth, even though a court of law may not find it to be so.
- Rape culture wants us to shut up and shove down and walk away from what happened to us. It tries to make us believe that if we are truly strong, we would just 'get on with our lives.' This approach can back fire years later when we discover the person who harmed us went on to harm others. Or we begin to see evidence that we have not 'put it behind us.' We should always be gentle with ourselves. Healing from sexual violence can take a life time.
-Do not expect your church to be helpful. Christians tend to push 'forgiveness' at the expense of prevention and justice. If your abuse happened inside your church community, especially by a beloved leader, the church officials' priority will not likely be your wellbeing or the public safety, but the public image and financial bottom line of the organization that pays their salary or serves their need for a spiritual community.
-Don't assume that because the perpetrator is deceased or because it happened many years ago, that reporting to police or speaking to a civil attorney who works with survivors of sex crimes is not a good idea. Just taking that step on behalf of accountability and justice for yourself can be healing, regardless of the outcome. You will also know that somewhere there is an official record and testimony of what happened to you, along with the name of the person who did it.
Finding a lawyer---where to begin?
1) Visit your local rape crisis center about lawyers in your area who have shown themselves to be helpful and competent for survivors of sex crimes.
2) Google "sex abuse attorney"
3) For a local lawyer recommendation, visit BishopAccountability.org, a Catholic survivor resource. They post names of lawyers who have worked sexual abuse cases in every diocese. Visit the Catholic diocese in your area for names to call.
4) Contact National Center for Victims of Crime. They have special history with survivors of sexual violence and their deputy executive director, Jeffrey R. Dion, is a survivor and strong advocate.
5) Visit https://www.timesupnow.com/ The #TimesUp movement has posted a resourceful website that includes pro bono legal resources. Though their focus is sexual harassment in the work place, their website is worth checking out for all forms of sexual violence.
Survivor reports and my own experiences tell me there are really helpful therapists and there are also really harmful therapists. Too many male therapists and pastoral counselors are sexual predators themselves, taking tragic advantage of a survivor's vulnerability and lack of boundaries caused by earlier abuse. This is a space for survivors to recommend the therapists and body workers you have found to be especially helpful in your healing. If they are open to new clients, and with their permission, we will post their names and locations here.
Here is an important guide on choosing a therapist from SNAP the survivors network.