Some would say this year has been very polarizing. I feel that it has been MOBILIZING. As a sexuality educator and Clinical Sexologist who specializes in sexual trauma, it is inconceivable what we have seen.
We saw convicted rapist Brock Turner serve only 3 months of a six-month sentence (prosecutors sought 6 years) for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
We also saw a man of considerable power “joking” with another man that he grabs women by their genitals without their consent. He brushes it (and the experiences of millions of women, men and children) off as “locker room talk” and then becomes the 45th President of the United States.
These events played out on the world’s stage and are affront to sexual assault survivors.
Every 107 seconds, someone in the US is sexually assaulted. Due to the shame, stigma, embarrassment and blame that surround victims of sexual violence, many never come forward to report the crimes committed against them.
According to the US Justice Department, approximately 70% of sexual assaults in the last five years went unreported. In cases where reports had been filed, only 3 out of every 100 rapists will ever spend even a single day in prison. According to a new Justice Department analysis, the other 97 will walk free, facing no consequences whatsoever for the violent felonies they have committed.
This past Saturday, I marched in Washington D.C. alongside hundreds of thousands of individuals. I marched, because in 2017, victims of sexual assault are still guilty until proven innocent from blame. I marched to stand in solidarity and give a voice to the traumatized who have been silenced by our broken sexuality education system, our broken media, and our broken criminal justice system.
People around the world woke up on Sunday trying to find their own way to make a difference. We start by BELIEVING SURVIVORS. Think critically and speak openly. Be cognizant of the way that opinions of sexual assault are formulated. We need to challenge ourselves to rewrite the dismissive and victim blaming narratives that have been fed to us for so many years.
You can also volunteer at or donate to organizations that impact the lives of survivors. As you may know, I am on the Board of Directors for The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. Along with providing assistance and referral in times of emotional, financial and community crisis, each year the Crisis Center provides prevention services, hundreds of sexual assault forensic examinations and specialized trauma counseling to thousands of survivors.
There are lots of ways to get involved with The Crisis Center, but today I am asking your help to serve as a supporter of those who have been the silent victims of sexual trauma. I’d like to give these women, men and children a chance to be heard through your generosity.
The Cup of Compassion Breakfast is a yearly event to educate the community about the incredible work that is done every single day at the Crisis Center. One month from now, at my table at this event, there will be one empty chair. I am reserving that chair as the “Survivors’ Seat” to represent, give a voice to, and honor the millions of nameless, faceless victims that have been forced to remain silent in the wake of violence that has been perpetrated against them.
Please click the link below to provide a tribute gift to the Survivors’ Seat. Truly, any amount will help. If we share this far and wide, any gift can multiply exponentially. Through your efforts, The Crisis Center can continue to be the first stop for help, hope and healing for those affected by sexual trauma.
Thank you for your support!