Currently, we have plenty of models for how individuals can support survivors of rape.
Feminists have built and maintained crisis centers, hotlines, and emergency services. Anti-violence organizations have created excellent how-to’s and information guides for friends and families. Counselors and therapists are trained to help rape survivors recover from trauma.
While there is still work to be done to provide survivors with adequate services, our culture understands the need for these services.
And this is all a great start.
But until we create public spaces where the experiences of survivors are honored, Americans’ reactions will continue to do more harm than good for a population that has already experienced enough harm.
Private responses to sexual violence make sense in our collective consciousness. What our culture does not yet understand is how to support survivors publicly.
What should high school students do when one of their classmates is gang-raped at a weekend party? What should a town do when a local hero is prosecuted for assault? What should a family do when the reality of incest surfaces?
Where is the how-to guide for them?
There isn’t one.
The article details three key steps to transform our community responses to sexual violence: We need to “honor the experience of survivors,” “remove the stigma,” and “create space for healing.” Check out the full piece for Nagle’s thoughts on how we’ve begun working toward these goals and what more we must do.