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The media can be a great tool for increasing public awareness about sexual violence, but it can also pose challenges for some survivors. Portrayals of sexual violence in movies, television shows, the news, and social media can prompt negative reactions, from flashbacks and anxiety to feelings of sadness or irritability. Below are a few ways to help limit your exposure to media that could prompt these uncomfortable experiences. Movies and TV Shows Movies and television programs that depict sexual violence can be part of dramatic plots, contain graphic scenes, or emphasize trauma over healing. Keep the following tips in mind to help navigate your viewing experience in a safe way. You are in control. You never have to watch something to prove you can handle it. If you go to a movie and find it upsetting, feel free to leave. If your favorite weekly television show includes a scene you find upsetting, it is ok to…

Having feelings isn’t a sign of weakness — they mean we’re human, says producer and activist Nikki Webber Allen. Even after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Webber Allen felt too ashamed to tell anybody, keeping her condition a secret until a family tragedy revealed how others close to her were also suffering. In this important talk about mental health, she speaks openly about her struggle — and why as a society, we must undo the stigma that misreads depression as a weakness and keeps sufferers from getting help.  

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse “in which information is twisted, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.” Essentially, gaslighting is a tactic used to destabilize a victim’s understanding of reality, making the individual constantly doubt their own experiences. Most of the time, this tactic is used to further uneven power balances with abusive partners, making victims second guess themselves when they feel they are being abused or attacked. Even if a relationship seems otherwise non-abusive, gaslighting is emotional and mental violence. This process in and of itself is toxic and unhealthy, regardless of whether there are other abusive behaviors taking place within the relationship. The thing about gaslighting is that it’s an especially terrifying tactic because it makes the victim feel they cannot trust their own mind, that their memories and experiences are…

Many people think they can’t advocate because they don’t know enough about policy, but this should not stop you – your voice matters!  Preventing sexual violence takes all of us, working together in big and small ways to create a culture of safety and respect in our society. With a problem of this magnitude, where does one person start? Action tip 1 – Learn: Listen to survivor stories. Learn more about sexual violence, such as; how perpetrators use power and control. how different forms of oppression intersect – Equality is not the reality in our society. Sexual violence is rooted in power inequities and is connected to all forms of oppression. We need to send a strong message that it isn’t OK when others aren’t treated with dignity and respect. Recognize rape culture happening every day. Learn what enthusiastic consent looks like. Action tip 2 – Think and Prepare: Treat…

eyes with the courage to stay open. they’re the only hope we have to find the peace we say we want to see. what could we possibly hope to discover with our backs turned? to fall asleep & invent the world we like with blinders on is a pretty game of privilege, & may be a pleasant illusion, but it will never soothe a soul. Courage moves toward, moves close, looks in the eye, feels with, moves with, fights for. she acknowledges her failure, & my, she fails often. but she tries & tries again for the love of her brother, her sister, the very ground on which she stands. yes, Courage keeps her eyes wide open.       what do you see?  – Torri Hodges                                              …

Continued… HERE’S THE THING NOW. Like I said after this incident, my brother and I never spoke of it again. So, we continued our relationship as usual (only now I had a sudden and intense urgency to constantly beat him up, which I would. Of course, now it all makes sense). But, we’ve been best friends since. Now that I’m thinking of it, what probably happened was that he was entering the puberty-age, and I think maybe he was scrolling through TV channels late at night. Sometimes, on HBO or Showtime, they would show dirty movies (I know this because I later discovered this when I first started puberty at around 9). I know that when I came across a dirty film for the first time (around puberty age too), THATS WHEN I first had any feelings of arousal and a desire to just touch myself. I began masturbating at…

I keep replaying a faded memory in my head lately. These past few years, I think I’ve only thought about it 3 or 4 times (and only for a split second). However, for some reason, for the past few months, I’ve begun to remember bits and pieces more and more. Each day, I think about it more frequently, and I’m hoping that since I’ve recently reinforced my daily self-care routine (daily meditations, writing my poems/lyrics, daily cardio, doing word puzzles, learning at least 1 new thing per day, keeping the house clean) that this new method of Philosophical Meditation will help me in uncovering and finally one day facing the truth. I’ve told ONE person before since it happened, and she was my best friend in middle school. I remember being in absolute shock that I had even admitted it. I don’t remember going into details, I don’t even really…

 At the very core of my being There is a living and all-powerful force Protecting me from the evil forces Sent to besiege and to destroy my spirit  I have been touched by tarnished hands Yet I’ve remained untouched  I have been seen with unwanted eyes Yet I’ve remained unseen  I have heard the sound of words Which were destructively piercing to the ear Yet I only hear the essence of my beauty being expressed  The tinge of filth has been poured upon me Yet I’ve remained as fresh as a blossoming flower  I have tasted the bitterness of abuse Yet my tongue continues to utter Sweet words of praises To the unyielding…Everlasting…All-Encompassing God within me  This strength prevails because The inner eye sees not like the outer The inner ear hears not like the outer The inner nose smells not like the outer And the inner mouth tastes nor…

My rapist was my ex-girlfriend. I’m a man. We weren’t together at the time. Actually we broke up due to her being quite abusive. She took advantage of me while I was drunk. She then kept messaging me and saying how she was pregnant and now we get to spend our lives together. I was depressed for months. “A small gesture can turn somebody’s situation around, support survivors by ONLY leaving a kind and thoughtful comment.”