What do you do when trauma goes viral? Open a social media platform and you’re likely to see headlines about survivors, sexual assault, and strong opinions about both.
Hashtags like #MeToo, #BelieveSurvivors and#WhyIDidntReport are shattering the silence that often shrouds sexual violence. While this can counteract the isolation so many victims and survivors feel, it can also be overwhelming and even triggering. Media coverage and subsequent on- and off-line conversations can also magnify the stigma that many people feel after experiencing abuse; victim-blaming and other myths about assault and trauma are often amplified alongside daily news stories.
If you need support, you are not alone. You can call our confidential 24-hour hotline at 703-237-0881 at any time to talk. Whether or not you want to tell your story publicly, Doorways is a safe place for you to share your experience. If and when you disclose is up to you; healing is not linear, and everyone’s journey is unique.
You can seek help at any time, no matter how long ago the assault took place; there is no time limit on seeking supportive services. To learn about the services available to women, men, gender-queer, and non-binary individuals in our community, including youth, visit our website and/or call our hotline at (703) 237-0881.
For Friends, Family, Colleagues and Neighbors
When someone you know discloses that they have experienced sexual violence, including rape and sexual assault, you may be the first person with whom the survivor shares their story. The assault may have happened recently or long ago. Your reaction to their disclosure is critical. There are many things you can do to support the survivor and empower them in their unique healing process. Visit www.DoorwaysVA.org/supporting-a-survivor for tips.
You can also call the Doorways’ 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline at (703) 237-0881 to discuss your situation and the resources available. Counselors are always available to support you as well as your loved one.