Speak Out-April is SAAPM

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

I speak out because I believe that every survivor deserves a safe place to find help. Speak out with me this Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Visit: rainn.org/SAAPM #SAAPM

The Statistics

Graphic states Every 92 Seconds an American is sexually assaulted. Speak Out so other know there's a safe resource.
Graphic states 8 out of 10  rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. 19.5% are by a stranger. 39% are by an acquaintance 33% are by current or former spouse or boyfriend or girl friend 6% are committed by more than one person or the victim can't remember 2.5 % are committed by a non-spouse relative. Speak out about the resources to fight sexual assault
Graphic states Male College Students 5 times more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.Speak out about the resources to fight rape and sexual assault.
18-34 year old college women were at more risk than other women to be assaulted. Women of the same age and not in college were 4 times as likely to end up raped or assaulted.Speak out about the resources to fight sexual assault.
Graphic states every 9 minutes a child is sexually assaulted. Speak out about the resources to fight child sexual assault.

The statistics are terrifying. Every ninety-two seconds someone is sexually assaulted. That means that by the time you finish reading this short post, someone has been assaulted. Maybe someone you know. 

Make a Call

If you’ve been assaulted, or you know someone who has been, it can be overwhelming. You don’t know what to do or where to turn. 

Reach out. 

Whether you’re need support, information, advice, or a referral, RAINN’s trained support specialists are ready to help.

Call 800-656-HOPE (4653). There is no charge.

Or if you prefer, there is a CHAT feature available on the RAINN website.

How You Can Help

  • Post a photo on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook of a blue triangle on your hand on Thursday, April 4 to show your support of RAINN Day. A blue triangle represents a megaphone to remind us to use our voices to spread awareness about sexual violence.
  • Change your Facebook profile photo to include RAINN SAAPM frame. Available on Facebook on April 1. Search RAINN SAAPM 2019 to find it.
  • Tell one person in your life about RAINN and SAAPM.
  • What to share? This week, encourage others to speak out by sharing our custom-made posts below on social media:

Want more information about RAINN before you volunteer or donate? Read my post Help Me Help Prevent Sexual Assault.

Why I Speak Out

Although I’ve written briefly about my sexual assault in other posts, I’d rather stay quiet about my suspicions that I was a victim of sexual assault. I was very young, my memory is not clear…I could be wrong…but I don’t think so.

I know that talking to someone about sexual assault can be scary. But it is healing. Even when you doubt your memory. It took time. It took talking to therapists but I did it. And so can you.

There is no one way to heal from sexual assault. Your path will be different from mine. Know that there are resources out there. You can get help. It probably isn’t going to be easy. But you need to know that healing is possible. That is why I must speak out.

You May Never Know

The images and much of the text of this post are courtesy of the RAINN website https://www.rainn.org and the copyright for the images and words belongs to them. But their message is mine. Their message is yours. Speak Out. Spread awareness. Tell one person about RAINN or about the Sexual Assault and Awareness hotline. You may never know how your words helped someone recover from a sexual assault.

Educating the Heart, the Writer’s Heart

When Aristotle spoke of educating the heart, he meant that one must be emotionally intelligent. Of course, the term emotional intelligence didn’t come into common use until after the publication of the book by the same name in 1996.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.

–Psychology Today

Educating the Heart

It’s not that you’re supposed to actually manipulate the emotions of others. Too many people do that far too often. What it means is to be self-aware and to be empathetic with other people. How do we become empathetic?

Reading is the number one way most people educate the heart. Stories not only help us define terms we use to identify emotions, it shows that two people experiencing the same event can feel differently.

Why do I bring this up? As a person, this is important. As a writer, it has another level of importance. Storytellers have an obligation to our readers. Our characters emotions need to reflect real emotions. This is where you must write what you know.

Your emotional experiences are real. They are what you must be able to put on the page. Get back in touch with how you felt when you had your first kiss or you lost your first race.

In the first draft, we often slap a label on the words your character is using. Labels aren’t the most effective way to express emotion. Look at these two examples:

“I can’t go,” he said sadly.

“I can’t go,” he said. His shoulders drooped and he avoided looking me in the eye.

Which one resonates more?

Watch out for the tired words like sighed, smiled, and frowned. Get to the gut.

Educating the Writer’s Heart

Having trouble identifying those physical reactions? There are several ways to educate the heart of your writing. One is to, wait for it . . . Read. Highlight or copy passages that strike an emotional chord with you. Read psychology articles and texts. Journaling your own emotions can be helpful. Writing down what your body feels like and what you do can be instructive. Finally, I highly recommend The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. It’s chockful of physical, internal, and mental responses to emotions.

We writers educate ourselves on how the plot works, how to create conflict, and a myriad of other story techniques. That’s great. Those things will help you tell a story. But don’t forget to educate the heart, too.