We’re a small community: that sort of thing doesn’t happen here.
If we don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen.
That only happens to poor people.
Only women need to worry about that.
Only promiscuous women need to worry about that.
Sexual assault is wrong and so are all of the above statements. It happens in Stevens County, it happens even if we deny it, it happens to the poor and the rich and everyone in between, it happens to men, and it happens to women regardless of the number of sexual partners they’ve had.
So what do we do about it? Start by believing.
Imagine “Pat” is raped. After the immense pain and distress of being violated, Pat somehow musters the courage to tell “Terri.” But instead of support, Pat receives a shaming. Terri says, “Well, what did you expect? You should have known better than to go out by yourself.” Pat is now less likely to seek help and is more likely to develop psychological problems such as PTSD.
If someone comes to you and says, “I’ve been raped,” what will you do? You don’t need to be a trained therapist, a police officer or a forensic examiner. Just be supportive. You can say something like, “Oh no, I’m so very sorry that happened! Let’s get you to the hospital to make sure you are ok.” You can also respond by saying, “This is just terrible! I don’t know how to help, but I know people who can. Let’s call the Family Support Center.”
The first person a victim confides in after an assault is typically a family member or friend. That friend or family member’s reaction is going to have a big effect, so let’s make it a good one.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available. Call the Family Support Center 24 hours a day 509-684-6139.
Family Support Center