In observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Awareness Month, the team at Lauren’s Kids is working around the clock to maximize this opportunity to raise awareness, prevent abuse, and support survivors. This year, we are standing tall in our power and using our voices to echo statements of strength, hope, and healing to each and every one of the 42 million survivors living in the U.S today.
Today we want to honor the power of voice, and how powerful survivors’ voices can be. One of the hardest parts about surviving the trauma of abuse can be the feelings of guilt, shame, and blame. Though these feelings should lie squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, victims have been manipulated and groomed into feeling complicit in their own abuse – which they were not. No matter the circumstance, a child cannot consent. Period. However, these feelings of guilt and shame often cause severe isolation where victims feel as though their pain and trauma are burdens they must bear alone. A crucial part of the Lauren’s Kids’ mission is to flip this dangerous narrative and help survivors heal, knowing their voice has power — that it’s “OK to tell,” and that it’s OK to heal, too. (More on that another week!)
When brave survivors of abuse choose to reject binding, fear-based narratives spun by their abusers and instead find and use their own voices, it’s a powerful first step in reclaiming their own lives and becoming the heroes in their own stories. What follows for most is to tell and tell and tell again — reliving their truth to doctors, therapists, police officers, and in front of courtrooms.
In best-case scenarios, the justice system allows victims to feel heard, their truth to be told, and their abuser’s wrongdoing to be reflected through fair sentencing. Unfortunately, we know that the system isn’t perfect. Sometimes they’re told there isn’t enough proof. Sometimes abusers get let out of prison. Sometimes abusers never see their day in court. Sometimes victims are left wondering if justice will ever be served. And sometimes, victims don’t get the vindication and validation they deserve because their voices are not heard and believed in the first place.
While sometimes the very people and systems supposed to protect us fall short, one thing is clear: your voice has power — and your truth matters — no matter what. Your voice can set you free and help you heal. Your voice can hold people accountable for their actions. Your voice can inspire other survivors to come forward and tell their truth. Your voice can provide an echo chamber to spread awareness and help to educate communities on abuse prevention and what resources are available that can help.
In an effort to expand this echo chamber of awareness, we’re asking for you to lend us YOUR voice today and join our POWERFUL army for change by submitting a quick video to the Lauren’s Kids PSA submission site about what standing in power means to you! This POWERFUL PSA will highlight some incredible voices uniting together – in power and truth.
Armed with the knowledge that 95% of abuse is preventable with awareness and education, Lauren’s Kids offers FREE resources to survivors, educators, and families. Conversations around sexual abuse can be difficult to navigate, but they shouldn’t be neglected. We know with knowledge comes power, and together, we can speak up and speak out to end this endemic of abuse.
For more information on ways to keep kids safe from abuse and find resources to help when survivors find their voice, visit www.laurenskids.org.