2014 has seen so many high profile rape and sexual abuse cases, bringing the experiences of survivors to people’s newspapers and TV screens, but so often the message that has come with this reporting is one of disbelief and judgement. We at Survivors’ Network are committed to supporting survivors to know that they are believed, to know that there is no wrong or right way to react to violence enacted against them, and to begin their journey to recovery. So this New Year we want to make a clear promise of what we will do in 2015 to make a difference in the world of survivors of sexual violence.
We’re launching a hashtag campaign encouraging as many people as possible to make New Year’s Resolutions of simple, practical and realistic things that they can do to help stand up to sexual violence and/or to support those affected by sexual violence. These resolutions will then be tweeted from our account with the hashtag #supportsurvivors2015. We’ll be tweeting pictures of our team and local supporters on New Years Eve, but we’ll also be using the hashtag from today onwards to remind everyone that a pledge to fight against sexual violence is not just a new year resolution, but something you must commit to all year round.
Will you join us? To get involved, you can:
1. Write your resolution on a piece of paper, including the hashtag, and email a pic to us at: email@example.com
2. Tweet a picture of yourself or post a sentence using the hashtag (and including @SurvivorsNetBtn if it’ll fit!) so that we can retweet it
3. Email a statement over to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can tweet it on your behalf. We can keep this anonymous if you’d prefer.
You can incorporate the hashtag into tweets such as “I will #SupportSurvivors2015 by challenging rape jokes” or “I will #SupportSurvivors2015 by volunteering with Survivors’ Network”
Perhaps you’d like to use this as an opportunity to raise awareness of your own local support services, or to encourage people to donate to Survivors’ Network for the service we provide in Sussex. Perhaps you’d like to use the hashtag to share your own experiences, or to reach out to friends and family to let them know that you believe them, and that you care about survivors.
Across the country, activists and charity workers are fighting tirelessly against violence against women, and against the sexual harassment and rape of people of all genders. We are providing services to help people through dark times, from counselling to help line support to creating spaces for survivors to meet and help each other. We are also standing up in the streets, joining reclaim the night marches and hollaback campaigns, raising our voices in person and online, speaking out in every way we can against the horrific abuse that remains so taboo and yet so prevalent in modern society. We are fighting for all survivors, regardless of their gender identity, sexuality, profession or background. We are standing up to say that survivors deserve to be heard, and to be given the love and care they need to keep going after experiencing trauma. And we are promising that in 2015 we will do everything in our power to make a change. We hope you will, too.
By Helen Race and Caitlin Hayward-Tapp at Survivors’ Network