April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an important time to raise awareness to the prevalence of sexual assault and to cultivate resources for survivors. This year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, has chosen the theme We Can Build Safe Online Spaces. This is an essential topic and more important than ever with the impact of the internet and social media on our culture.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “Sexual violence is an umbrella term that includes any type of unwanted sexual contact — either in person or online — including sexual assault, harassment, and abuse.”
What does online sexual violence look like? This might include youth being groomed for exploitation by predators online through social media or apps, individuals receiving unwanted sexual content from others, feeling coerced or forced to send sexual content to others online, and Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), which is also called child pornography. It also impacts adults in many ways such as being sent unwanted sexual content, being asked to send sexual content, ignoring clear boundaries, and coercive communication.
If you are a parent looking to support your child in creating a safe space online, talk to them openly about the content they are viewing. Be sure to speak from a place of curiosity without judgement. Share an interest in what they find interesting. Many kids will be happy to talk about the things that they find interesting, and it will help them to feel seen and understood. Educate your children about how to stay safe online by talking about what is and is not appropriate content, how to report inappropriate content, and how to speak up to you about seeing something that feels inappropriate.
How can we facilitate a safe space online for ourselves and our loved ones? For ourselves, we can start by being mindful of the content that we intentionally engage with. We can use social media intentionally by liking, commenting on, and following pages that feel safe and enjoyable. We can block, mute, unfriend, or unfollow people or pages that post harmful or invasive content. We can take time away from social media and the online world by intentionally turning our devices at night and engaging in activities that feel mindful and promote feelings of peace and calm.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can create a safe online space for yourself in many ways, such as:
Connect with a support group, online or in person. You can find a directory of support groups for sexual assault survivors by going here: https://www.211oc.org/sexual-abuse-support-groups.html
RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incent National Network) hosts The National Sexual Assault Hotline, which also has an online chat option. You can contact the hotline at 800-656-HOPE(4673) or utilize the online chat function by going here: https://rainn.org/
Engage in a movement practice that support healing. A great resource for survivors is the organization Transcending Sexual Trauma Through Yoga, which trains individuals in providing trauma informed yoga and offers an 8-week class program, which is also being offered virtiually. You can find more information by going here: http://www.zabieyamasaki.com/about/transcending-sexual-trauma-through-yoga
Listen to podcasts that provide support in healing from sexual assault. You can find more information by going here: https://unapologeticallysurviving.com/rec/podcasts/
Listen to podcasts that provide education on sexual assault. You can find more information by going here: https://www.nsvrc.org/podcasts
Connect with online communities that support sexual assault survivors. You can find more information by going here: https://www.womenslaw.org/find-help/national/chats-and-message-boards
Follow social media pages that support survivors in their healing. One amazing example of social media accounts that promote healing for survivors is @speakoutcuse on Instagram. You can find their page here: https://www.instagram.com/speakoutcuse/ and you can read an amazing written about how this page is empowering BIPOC survivors by going here: https://www.thenewshouse.com/off-campus/can-the-internet-bring-salvation-to-survivors-of-color/
Find supportive resources online. Metoo published A Toolkit for Survivors During Covid-19. You can find more information by going here: https://metoomvmt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/MeToo-COVID-Response_TOOLKIT.pdf
The National Eating Disorder Association will be having the annual NEDA Walk on April 10th, 2021. This year will be a virtual walk event to help provide a safe way to interact during the pandemic, but you can still get involved by hosting or joining a virtual team or making a financial contribution.
Per NEDA, 30 million Americans suffer from an Eating Disorder and the NEDA Walk is a great way to increase awareness and access to recovery. It is likely that you know someone in your live who is suffering from an Eating Disorder, and the NEDA walk can be a great way to show your support for your loved one and their recovery journey. If you are a person who is suffering from an Eating Disorder, know that there is help out there and that you deserve care and support in your recovery journey.
TheraCare Wellness is participating in the NEDA Walk this year and would love to have you join our team. We are a team of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Therapists, Registered Dietitians, and Acupuncturists that want to help raise awareness to the Eating Disorder Recovery process. You can join our team or make a financial contribution by going here: http://neda.nationaleatingdisorders.org/goto/theracarewellness
We had the opportunity to chat with Joan DeFilippo, Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement at The National Eating Disorder Association, this week about the NEDA Walk. The year for the NEDA walk, individuals can create their own team, fundraise as individuals or as team members, or donate a financial contribution. There are also many volunteer opportunities if a financial contribution is not accessible for some.
Because this year the walk will not be in person, NEDA will be offering a live zoom session on April 10th at 11 AM PST and will include guest speakers, an MC, a musical performance, and a photo booth. Many people are choosing to meet as a family in the safety of their homes, or safely social distance to be able to engage with loved ones. After the zoom meeting, participants will have the option to walk a mile. For some participants, exercise might be restricted due to their individualized movement plan and needs, so folks are being encouraged to explore with their treatment team or providers if they are cleared for this level of movement.
If you would like to get involved with volunteer opportunities, you can reach NEDA via email at email@example.com Volunteers are needed and can help out by calling participants and reaching out to past participants, posting on social media, or even creating their own recovery journey videos to raise awareness. When someone has a story to tell, their story may impact others and raise awareness to the help that NEDA can provide.
Women’s History Month is during March every year, and International Women’s Day is March 8 th . There are many ways to celebrate and honor Women’s History Month. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
1. Read books supporting women during Women’s History Month. Learn more by going here: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/01/cnn-underscored/womens-history-month-books
2. Watch documentaries that provide education on Women’s History. Learn more by going here: https://www.pbs.org/articles/2021/03/what-to-watch-womens-history-month-2021/ Watch an episode of the Smithsonian Institution’s episode of Social Studies Online on Women’s History Month. Learn more by going here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUyH3LPBv2Q
3. Watch movies that display empowering stories of women. Learn more by going here: https://redtri.com/10-inspiring-movies-for-womens-history-month-to-watch-with-your-kids/
4. You can give back to the community during Women’s History month by making a financial contribution, or a contribution of time through volunteer work. Give back by making a charitable donation to an organization that supports women and girls. Learn more by going here: https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&amp;cpid=2133 You can also learn more by going here: https://www.bustle.com/p/where-to-donate-during-womens-history-month-2020-22588039 Get engaged in virtual volunteer work focused on Women’s History Month. Learn more by going here: https://goodera.com/blog/virtual-volunteering/15-virtualvolunteering-opportunities-to-celebrate-international-womens-day/
5. Get connected to the art world by visiting a virtual museum, such as the Nation Women’s History Museum. Learn more by going here: https://www.womenshistory.org/womens-history/online-exhibits or the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Learn more by going here: https://nmwa.org/support/advocacy/
6. Learn about Women’s History and the Right to vote for this year’s theme of Women’s History Month, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced” Learn more by going here: https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/
7. Honor trans women by learning about historical events of trans women during women’s history month. Learn more by going here: https://transgenderlawcenter.org/archives/10002 Learn about the need for inclusivity and representation of trans women during women’s history month. Learn more by going here: : https://temple-news.com/trans-women-seek-more-inclusivity-during-womens-history-month/ Learn about how Black trans women aid in the fight
for women’s rights. Learn more by going here: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a35746428/black-trans-women-fight-for-womens-rights/
8. Listen to a playlist in honor of Women’s History Month. The Grammy Awards put together a playlist of women nominees for 2021. Learn more by going here:
https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/listen-womens-history-month-playlist-nominees-2021-grammy-awards-show You can also listen to a stream of music by women composers. Learn more by going here: https://www.yourclassical.org/listen/women-history Peloton added a playlist for Women’s History Month on Spotify. Learn more by going here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3GvFgvZOxlwJ64oXaFhyTf
9. Listen to podcasts about Stories for Women’s History Month. Learn more by going here: https://blog.listenwise.com/2019/01/stories-womens-history-month/ Listen to podcasts about remarkable ladies for Women’s History Month. Learn more by going here: https://www.radio.com/news/gallery/podcasts-about-remarkable-ladies
10. Journal about a public figure or icon that represent women’s empowerment for you. Identify what inspires you about this woman, what about her you want to emulate, and how she has made a difference in your life directly. Write a letter to a woman in your life that inspires you. This might include a family member or member of your extended family, a friend or colleague, a teacher or a mentor or a supervisor that you look up to, or even someone you know casually. We hope this list helps you identify opportunities to get connected during Women’s History Month!
It is not news to report that we, as a society, have been experiencing an immense amount of fear, confusion, and frustration this year. We have and are still navigating the unpredictable measures related to COVID-19 and reinventing our daily norms at a moment’s notice. Even though our nation has been under attack by this contagion for over a year now, it has shed light on another contagion that plagued us well before COVID-19: our nation’s history with racism and hate crimes, specifically related to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. In this 3 part series, I will begin by sharing a few statistics from this year’s uptick in AAPI hate crimes and practical ways one can engage in support our AAPI community. Then, I will share my experience with racism and my journey of finding my racial identity. Finally, I will end the series by sharing TheraCare’s value in providing an all- inclusive therapeutic experience for all who are seeking support.
On January 28, 2021, Vicha Ratanapakdee was taking his morning stroll in San Francisco, CA. He was pushed to the ground in broad daylight resulting in injuries. He died a few days later. This is just one incident that received media attention amongst many hate crimes towards Asian Americans this year. According to the STOP AAPI HATE (an organization documenting anti-Asian hate in the midst of COVID-19) National Report, there have been 3,795 incidents received from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021. Out of the 3,9975 cases, 503 cases reported just in the beginning of 2021. The majority of these cases reported as verbal harassments and shunning as main forms of discrimination (68.1% and 20.5 %, respectively). Moreover, women are 2.3 times more than men to report cases. I also wonder if an aspect of under-reporting is impacted by cultural standards/ influences of “saving face” and gender role expectations.. There has also been a signifiant difference between various Asian communities experiencing these hate crimes. The Chinese community is the largest community to experience hate (42.2%), followed by Koreans (14.8%), Vietnamese (8.5%), and Filipino (7.9%). In many major cities, AAPI hate crimes have increased to at least 50 % (see graph below).
These statistics and stories may lead you to feel lots of different emotions: despair, heartache, anger, and/or activated in some type of way. Fear not (!), there are some practical ways to hopefully provide some helpful tips around supporting your AAPI community:
- Stay Curious
- I believe a strong way to support the AAPI community is simply to stay curious about their experiences in their community. If they are feeling the weight of their experiences of discrimination and racism, ask if there is something you can do directly to support them. Try not to assume that everyone in the AAPI community needs or wants help at the moment. The best, most powerful act that we can do for one another is to listen.
2. Support an AAPI organization/ local businesses
- Here are some AAPI organizations that you could monetarily support and/or volunteer at:
- https://stopaapihate.org– Organization that is tracking anti- Asian hate during COVID-19
- https://aaci.org– Non-profit mental health agency located in the heart of San Jose
- https://dearasiansinitiative.carrd.co – Organization that works to bridge the gap between #BLM movement and anti- Blackness in the Asian community through translated letters to create unity amongst minorities.
3. Be an ally and educate yourself.
I will leave you with this. Amanda Nguyen, a social entrepreneur and civil rights activist, eloquently said: “It’s important to not just compare issues across communities, but rather work together in solidarity, Justice is a fabric that has threads from all different communities.”
– Jennifer Nguyen, AMFT