My Favorite Bit of Information From The Week:
Sexual Assault Awareness and Mental Health
Content Advisory!!!This Content could be triggering, if you feel you would rather not read this week’s edition for any reason please feel free to skip. If you are unsure, and would rather E-mail me questions or meet with me for coffee and the highlights please just reach out. If you have experienced Sexual Assault, and wold rather not read the content, you are also welcome to skip down to Resources at the bottom of this E-mail.
It is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This topic is very important to me with regards to mental health, because most humans I know have experienced sexual assault in some way, and the mental health repercussions and the stigma surrounding being an assault survivor are rarely talked about in our culture.
This is a huge topic, and it would be impossible to cover the scope of it in one E-mail. My goal this week is to share the realities of the situation and some resources. If you desire more articles on other aspects of this topic, or would like to further the conversation in future E-mails please let me know.
1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men and 1 in two transgender humans report experiencing an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. It is also known that many of these assaults go undocumented.
If you have experienced a sexual aggression, you are not alone. If you are wondering “Has anyone I know experienced a sexual aggression?”. I assure you, they have.
What is Sexual Assault?:
“Sexual assault refers to sexual behavior that occurs without the clear consent of the victim. According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), this includes:
Attempted rape;Fondling or unwanted sexual touching;Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body; and Penetration of the victim’s body (rape)It’s important to note that force does not just mean physical force, but includes manipulation, coercion, threats, and situations where a person is unable to give consent. This subject is important to me because Sexual Assault and violence is very much a systemic issue and a part of how we are culturally. In countries where women are as respected as men the sexual aggression drops. The issue is tied to racism, sexism, and a lack of respect for certain genders and sexual preferences. It affects me, and it affects everyone I know (no matter their gender).
This issue is wide and deep, and I cannot cover all that is necessary in an E-mail. So, I will share a bit about the history, a bit about how you can be a part of change, and some resources to either use or offer as support.”
What Does this have to do with mental health:
While survivors of a sexual assault are resilient, strong, and can heal, there are huge stigmas placed upon them in our culture. Victims are blamed, often times victims aren’t believed and it is rare that their attackers receive any consequences for their actions. Although we are slowly getting better as a society, the truth is that rape and sexual assault is often treated more as a moral issue than an act of physical violence. Because of the stigma, it can be hard to talk about the experience. It is also hard to talk about because often times, quite literally, trauma experienced in the body can be challenging or truly impossible to verbalize. For the full article quoted above click here
Articles and Organizations on Sexual Assault:
1. History of Sexual Assault Awareness Month: If you are curious about the origins of Sexual Assault Awareness month in the U.S, please click here. The article starts with the amazing Rosa Parks and moves to current day. You can also find out how to participate, either this year or in future years.
2. Facts About Sexual Violence World Wide: Please check out this list of information from UN Women, an organization dedicated to ending Violence Against Women.
3. Sexual Assault is connected to Our Culture: We, as a culture, promote Rape. I do not think it can be too understated that the stories and songs we tell ourselves alter how we act as a group. The societal and psychological implications of this are powerful. What we tell our young humans alters how they interact with one another. We can only change course by acknowledging the truth and changing our narratives, understanding the potency and affect of our words. This Slam Poem does an excellent job of articulating this fact.
4. Sexual Assault is Connected to Racism and Sexism: This was best articulated and sunk into my mind best when reading Bell Hook’s article on the definition of Feminism found here. While talking about the wider meaning of the word feminism, it connects most potently to sexual assault in my opinion. I have more articles on this topic if you are curious as well. Or if you want to have coffee or tea and chat about it I am open to that as well (Via facetime or the phone is also available if you live outside Chicago).
5. The Breath Network: This organization is truly amazing, it helps people in a way that really sees the individual in need of information. Their blog is also a wealth of information. If you are curious about educating yourself further about Sexual Assault in our society, please check out The Breathe Blog here. About: “The Breathe Network connects survivors of sexual violence with trauma-informed, sliding-scale, holistic healing arts practitioners. We provide training and education for healing arts practitioners in understanding the impacts of sexual violence and how to provide trauma-informed care within their practice.” Check them out here.
Please check out the bottom of this E-mail for resources if you or a loved one has experienced Sexual Assault.
Update on my Show:
Trauma Yoga Workshop!I was a part of a weekend-long workshop on trauma, and how to lead trauma informed Yoga classes. It was exhausting, but incredibly healing and informative. Molly Boeder-Harris lead the workshop, she created The Breath Network that I mentioned earlier in my E-mail, and I learned so much from her and the wisdom of the other humans in the room. I am excited to take what I learned and create new layers in my script this week. Also, I have been preparing for a meeting with Hope For The Day next week! Going over planning, schedules, and finances!
Please check out the One Woman Hamlet Website:
AND! my update Video.
Many, Many thanks: Margo Siwak and Joe Siwak for the design of the logo, and to Jillian Best and Bill Best for the Website creation and Design! I feel very blessed to have such beautiful humans in my life.
Thank You: Thank you VERY much to all who have donated thus far, making this project possible.
Ways to Support: If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here: https://www.gofundme.com/one-woman-hamlet
New Resources From Last Week:
1. The Breathe Network has already been mentioned, but I think it bears repeating. The resources they provide are extensive and specific in a way I have never seen before. Please check them out here.
2. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN):RAINN provides live help for survivors sexual violence that is free, confidential and secure. Operation is 24 hours a day. Volunteers and staff at this call center are trained on issues surrounding sexual violence and can provide support and information about individual or group counseling, medical attention, reporting a crime to law enforcement as well as many other services. If you or a loved one is in need of any of these services, please click here
3. He For She: He For She, started by film actress and advocate Emma Watson, does an excellent job of making gender equality approachable, when we have gender equality sexual violence goes down. Check them out here.
All my best and heart to you,