Survivors of sexual violence were watching as the jury passed down the guilty verdict on Thursday in Montgomery County. In fact, survivors are watching each time a major news story breaks about sexual violence. Sexual violence is a serious and widespread crime, committed against people in our own communities every day. Survivors read the news, watch the blogs, and follow the hashtags. In many cases what survivors see has a direct and personal impact.
One in 2 women, and 1 in 5 men will experience sexual victimization in their lifetimes. Most cases of sexual violence will go unreported. Survivors choose not to report for a variety of reasons. The court process is grueling. Often, survivors fear they will not be believed. Many survivors will wait days, weeks, and even years before they tell someone about the abuse.
Seeing a guilty verdict in a high-profile case for an incident of sexual assault that took place over a decade ago sends a message to survivors. It tells survivors that it is never too late to talk about what happened. It restores some hope that our justice system may help them find restoration after all. Justice will look different for every survivor, but you are not alone in figuring out your healing journey.
For decades, sexual assault centers like SARCC have had the privilege of listening to survivors’ stories. Our 24-hour support line provides help and hope to community members in their darkest hours. Counseling and support are available to survivors and their friends and family members regardless of when the victimization occurred. All services are available at no-cost. Call us at 570-628-2965 in Schuylkill County or 717-272-5308 in Lebanon County to connect with a sexual assault counselor.
Watching the news coverage on the Cosby Trial, the Nassar case, or the #MeToo movement can bring memories, feelings, fears, and even hope to the surface for survivors in our community. Know that your voice matters, and healing is possible.