For sexual violence survivors, speaking up can be an empowering first step towards healing.
Why most survivors stay silent
If someone has not been through sexual violence, it may be difficult to understand why survivors stay silent about being assaulted. Here are some of the main reasons:
Sexual violence has an intrinsic psychological characteristic of silencing its victims...not just about the assault, but in many aspects of life.
Survivors risk misunderstanding, insensitivity, and “victim blaming” when exposing their victimization to their social circles.
Sexual violence victims worldwide live in cultures where reactions to survivors range from indifference to serious threats upon their lives.
Survivors can often feel, and are sometimes directly told, that by speaking up “they are bringing disgrace upon” or “destroying" the family.
Why we support survivors speaking up
Sexual violence occurs in every community around the world. This means we all know and love someone whose life has been harmed by sexual violence. Here are just a few of the reasons it's important to support them in speaking up:
Widely-recognized research shows that safely “telling what happened” is a first key step in recovering from sexual trauma.
Stopping Sexual Violence
By exposing sexual violence, perpetrators who tend to attack multiple victims no longer have the benefit of hiding within the shadows.
We need to gain better understanding of this social epidemic that plagues our communities and survivors speaking up can help us do that.
The MapYourVoice anonymous assault reports assist survivors in safely telling AND combine to create data essential to ending this global epidemic.
Safety and anonymity - a top priority
We know speaking up can be very difficult, so we designed MapYourVoice to make taking that first step as easy and safe as possible. Here's how:
- MapYourVoice is a not-for-profit, free public service designed exclusively to support survivors and to bring an end to sexual violence.
- For anonymity, an alias (fake name) can be used to set up an account.
- Survivors have full control over of what's visible (or not) on the map.
- Assault report pinpoints are randomly placed within a region/zip code.
- To maximize web security, we never collect personally-identifying data (real name, address, phone, etc.).
- We offer survivors tips for practicing digital safety on a device and on the web while using MapYourVoice.
- At the heart of MapYourVoice is an assault reporting questionnaire developed and field tested by experts in sexual trauma recovery. It guides survivors through a safe and beneficial process of telling their stories.