April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and we’re highlighting our charity partner RAINN.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN carries out programs to support survivors, educate the public, prevent sexual violence, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. Since 1994, RAINN’s programs continue to expand and evolve to provide services to more than 3.5 million survivors and their loved ones.
We spoke to Maxine, a member of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau, about how RAINN has helped her and what advice she would give to others.
Did you know about RAINN or did someone connect you with them?
I was connected to RAINN by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a member of the Speakers Bureau to also participate and become a member of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau, too.
How has RAINN helped you?
RAINN has helped me by helping my story and my fight against violence, particularly sexual violence, to gain more mainstream attention. Most notably I was asked to speak on behalf of RAINN at an awareness event in collaboration between Tina - The Tina Turner Musical (presenting the life and story of Tina Turner) and Condé Nast. This was a star studded event hosted by the great Anna Wintour and there was even an article on Vogue.com. Everyone in that room had influence and a platform, so to share my story and spread such critical awareness was super rewarding and impactful for the cause. RAINN has also helped me by increasing my knowledge and awareness of the status of the crisis of sexual violence and all the various resources the organization has, which lets me share that information with people who really need it.
What advice would you give to anyone struggling?
Firstly, I’d advise those struggling to begin by attempting to end self-blame. You didn’t do anything wrong or deserve to experience what you have no matter what the circumstances were. It’s easy to feel shame and guilt, which is founded in some sort of self-blame but we must end that so we can move forward with receiving the proper help, being ok talking about what happened, and beginning the crucial steps towards healing.
Secondly, I’d say please don’t lose hope. Many struggling may have severe intimacy issues or struggle with relationships and may think they are doomed to always have it that way following an experience with sexual abuse. I am now in a happy, healthy, loving relationship and am newly engaged. My partner is so supportive and understanding and even comes to therapy with me to understand and love me through my sexual trauma. This goes for family, work, and friend relationships. There is hope to restore your trust in other humans. But it does start with utilizing the critical resources and starting the raw and often uncomfortable healing process.
If you or someone you know needs support, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org to chat. As always, services are free, confidential, and available 24/7.
We are proud to support RAINN and the work they are doing to support survivors. You may select RAINN as your charity partner of choice at checkout and 20% of the proceeds from your order will be donated.
To learn more about how RAINN supports survivors, sign up for their newsletter at www.rainn.org/join-us.