Interpersonal violence takes a toll on those who witness and experience it. Many secondary survivors feel fragmented, disjointed, and may come to believe their lives will always be this way. Writing can be a tool for recovery, integration, and advocacy for access to healing. It must include all survivors – those who have had the traumatic experience and those who love and support them. FAQ’s and How You Can Help handouts are brilliant and necessary, but they are simply not enough.
As we evolve in the advocacy movement, we must continue to widen the scope of services to include the “secondary survivors” experiencing trauma vicariously. We must recognize that while survivors of sexual violence are fighting their way through the rubble of destruction, their loved ones are often holding an immense load supporting them while also experiencing the complexity of their own confusion, grief, loss of control, discomfort, guilt and deep sorrow.
Trauma does not exist in isolation, and neither should healing. With so many current events in popular media being focused on sexual violence, this time could be particularly difficult for primary and secondary survivors. This is a chance to come forward and share your stories, thoughts, and opinions of a difficult matter in a nonjudgmental atmosphere. We welcome you to submit your experiences and stories by April 20th to firstname.lastname@example.org; selected entries will be displayed in the library on the Discovery Wall on April 25th.