December 13, 2016
, Natalie Ziemba
, secondary survivor
, sexual assault
, sexual violence
The impacts of sexual violence can include a wide array of frustrations and barriers to daily functioning for survivors. Watching from the sidelines as a loved one struggles with those difficulties can bring a similar yet different sense of helplessness and frustration. Secondary survivors — the partners, friends, and family members of survivors — often go through their own trauma response as a result of hearing about the survivor’s experiences and witnessing the negative impacts.
Whether a primary survivor is still reeling in the immediate aftermath of having experienced sexual violence, or whether they are struggling with flashbacks and triggers months or years after the initial incident, it can be painful to watch someone experiencing a crisis. It is important to note that a crisis is different than an emergency. An emergency presents imminent risk of physical harm, whereas a crisis is the mental and emotional response when a situation is too overwhelming to be handled by regular coping methods.
As the person on the outside watching someone suffer, it is a common response to want to do anything you can to make it better, and also common to feel like there is nothing you can do to make it better. While you may not be able to fix the whole situation, your presence and support can be an invaluable benefit to your loved one. Here are a few suggestions for small ways to help someone through a crisis: Read more
We’d like to share a special thank you to Ronald McDonald House Charities and Wells Fargo, who have recently made gifts to the Center to support our Community Education and Latino Services programs.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Carolina supports our Community Education program. The Center offers educational programs for both raising awareness about sexual violence and teaching prevention skills in an age-appropriate manner. Trained educators teach children basic safety lessons such as what to do if they experience violence, how to recognize warning signs in order to prevent it, how to avoid bullying and cyber-bullying others, and how to safely intervene as active bystanders. Core lessons include the Personal Safety Saying (“Say No, Get Away, and Tell Someone”), the difference between good and bad touches, when not to keep a secret, and identifying trusted adults to talk to in the case of violence. The Center reaches over 10,000 youth and adults each year with this crucial safety education. Some of those 10,000 youth and adults are local Spanish-speakers, whom we reach out to through our Latino Services program.
Wells Fargo recently awarded the Center a grant to support our outreach and services for the Latino community. In addition to bilingual education programs as listed above, all our crisis services are also bilingual. Anyone needing support can call our 24-Hour Help Line and request to speak to someone in Spanish. Our bilingual Companions and our Spanish-Speaking Advocates (those who speak only Spanish) respond to crisis calls, offering support, information, and referrals. They can also accompany survivors to the hospital, the police, or court. In addition to help line services, the Center also offers support groups for Spanish speakers.
Our Community Education and our Latino Services programs are vital to preventing violence and supporting survivors. We very much appreciate the support that Ronald McDonald House Charities and Wells Fargo provide to ensure these programs are successful.