The Power of Support: Why Believing Victims and Survivors is Important

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In light of the recent news surrounding being assaulted and the LGBTQ communities, it’s essential for advocates and allies to rally together to remind victims and survivors of sexual and physical assault that they are believed, are heard, and will be supported. Here are some tips from lotus. facilitators Radha Prabakaran and Quinn Pellerito about why it is important to believe and support survivors.

Victims and survivors of crimes like hate crimes, sexual violence, interpersonal violence, and stalking often are met with disbelief. This is unfortunate because the first response a person receives is formative to their healing journey.  This experience is even more common for individuals with marginalized identities, like being an LGBTQ person of color, particularly for black LGBTQ individuals. Seeing media conversations focusing on the believability of a victim or survivor can be incredibly harmful to folks who have survived these sorts of crimes and make it even harder for them to seek out support.
 
Trauma is internalized uniquely by each person and there are endless ways a victim or survivor can present that may or may not line up with expectations of how a traumatized person is expected to act. If you know a victim or survivor, do your best to not question their trauma and check in with them about the care they might need. Every person has different needs, wants, and responses to tough news and conversation. It’s possible that they may not want to need anything, but it is also possible that you asking was exactly what they needed.
 
 
lotus. is a sexual violence educational program developed in collaboration with WOAR in order to create a broad, LGBTQ-competent resource network to ensure that LGBTQ victims and survivors feel safe, supported, and liberated in accessing related services. Funded by the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, lotus. provides narrative-based best practices trainings for individuals supporting, treating, and advocating for LGBTQ victims and survivors. In addition, we also facilitate trainings within LGBTQ communities to educate members about safe, supportive, and liberating resources available for victims and survivors of sexual assault.
 
Do you know an organization who would benefit from a free training on how to better service LGBTQ victims and survivors of sexual assault?