Me opening the door to 2021, a little hopeful, a little hesitant, and a little…
Beautiful people, April is recognized as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and it also contains National Crime Victim’s Rights Awareness Week.
In honor of survivors of childhood sexual violence, my image in the above photo, where it replaced that of Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State Football coach and convicted pedophile, in the Inspiration Mural near Penn State following his conviction in June 2012, has a blue ribbon wound through my hair and body. The month of April offers many opportunities to support survivors of violence, and to raise awareness of the need for that support. My deepest gratitude to muralist Michael Pilato of Pilato Murals and The Public Art Academy for the honor of their choice to replace Sandusky’s image with mine in recognition of my 30 years of activism on behalf of survivors of both sexual and domestic violence. Thank you, Michael, for this honor and for all of the work you do to honor survivors and their healing.
In acknowledgment of how much of our lives have moved online this past year, since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the increase in securing our safety online, the National Sexual Assault Resource Center has identified the 2021 April is Sexual Assault Awareness theme as WE CAN BUILD SAFE ONLINE SPACES. The campaign statement says: “Sexual harassment, assault, and abuse can happen anywhere, including in online spaces. As we connect online, we can learn how to practice digital consent, intervene when we see harmful content or behaviors, and ensure that online spaces — whether they be workspaces, classrooms, social media platforms, or otherwise — are respectful and safe.”
The Children’s Bureau’s has identified the 2021 National Child Abuse Prevention Month theme as THRIVING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES: PREVENTION WITH A PURPOSE.
The United States Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime has identified this year’s 40th Anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Awareness Week theme as SUPPORT VICTIMS. BUILD TRUST. ENGAGE COMMUNITIES. NCRVW will be commemorated from April 18 – 24, 2021.
As April draws our attention to an array of intersecting issues, I want to point your attention to this extensive listing of International Resources for Survivors of Sexual and Domestic Violence available on my website, in the event that you or someone in your life is in need of support and/or assistance. I’ve expanded this list over the past year to offer a much wider array of resources that are available to you, no matter where you may be in the world.
My book, the scorched earth, is also used widely as a resource for survivors, as it documents my own journey from victimization to survivorship, through healing from a history of both sexual and domestic violence into empowerment and advocacy as an award-winning poet, activist, speaker and teacher.
This 2015 expanded, second edition of the scorched earth includes:
- The Foreword by Eve Ensler, award-winning author of The Vagina Monologues,
- the scorched earth: spoken Audio Companion of me performing all 35 poems,
- An in-depth, comprehensive Discussion and Study Guide designed for use in a variety of settings to explore the issues of both domestic and sexual violence and
- A listing of International Resources for Survivors of both forms of violence, as well as Harassment and Human Trafficking.
REMEMBER: You are not alone. It is not your fault. You will be believed.
And there is support available to hold you as you find your way.
ALL PEACE TO EACH ONE OF YOU. DORA