Walk-a-Lap for a Survivor
By Dana Thornbury and Shari Murnahan
DLA Land and Maritime SAPR
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Master Sgt Maggie Ladd welcomes particpants supporting survivors of sexual assault at the Walk a Lap - Going the Distance event on Apr. 12.
COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 13, 2017 —
Going the Distance to support SAPR
Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month Challenge
Thank you to all the associates and service members that came out to show your support and raise awareness about the serious causes and effects of sexual assault.
Starting the conversation and raising awareness is the first step. Often times, victims are scared or feel they are to blame. Hosting events like this one and our Going the Distance Challenge raises awareness and lets survivors know they are not alone.
Events are geared to provide information, resources and options in a safe environment. Victims have reported that events like these where stories and resources have been shared gave them the information, resources and strength needed to report and know they are not alone.
- Every 107 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.
- 1 out of 6 women & 1 out of 33 men are assaulted in their lifetimes.
- We have a responsibility to do our part in not only preventing sexual assault but by educating ourselves on how to support survivors.
- It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially when that person is a family member, friend, or loved one. Consider the following ways of showing support:
- Listen. Communicate without judgment.
- Be there. If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to report, offer to be there. Your presence can offer the support they need.
- Encourage self-care. Following an assault it is important to practice good self-care during this difficult time.
- Offer support. Encourage the survivor to get support. Share resources like the SAPR team has available today but realize that only the survivor can make the decision to get help.
- Be patient. There is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.
- Remind the survivor that you care: Let the survivor know you don't see them differently and that you are here to support them.
- Be a good listener: Let the survivor choose when they want to talk and how much they want to share.
Do's and Don'ts when talking to a survivor:
- Do concentrate on understanding the survivor's feelings.
- Do allow silences.
- Do let the survivor know you are glad they disclosed to you.
- Don't interrogate or ask for specific details about the sexual assault.
- Don't ask "Why" questions such as "Why did you go there?" or "Why didn't you scream?"
- Don't tell them what you would have done or what they should have done.
Protecting Our People, Protects Our Mission.