Sexual assault is a topic near and dear to my heart for many reasons. I have several close family members and friends who’ve survived sexual assaults and I’ve seen firsthand the damage it does. I was also the director for a sexual assault services program that served two rural counties in New Mexico. In that role, I was introduced to the implications of sexual assault in our communities. I worked with police officers, attorneys, advocates and other professionals who are in the difficult position of trying to pick up the pieces of sexual assault within a system that is sometimes very backward and confining.
I’ve seen horrible trauma. But I’ve also seen hope.
S is for SANE. SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, a group of specially trained registered nurses who perform exams on victims of sexual assault and abuse. SANE’s are often the first people who listen to a victim’s story and, in that role, they represent a first step toward recovery. These nurses often work on a voluntary basis, taking on-call hours in addition to their full-time jobs at hospitals and clinics. The burnout rate for SANE nurses is high because they experience high levels of vicarious trauma in their work….and yet, every day more nurses sign up to take on this critical role. In case it’s not abundantly clear, I think that SANE nurses are angels here on Earth.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Take a moment to think about and thank the many people who help victims of sexual assault. They don’t always get the recognition they deserve; and believe me, they do deserve it. If your community has a SANE program or rape crisis center, think about supporting their work through donations or volunteerism. Find ways you can help prevent rape in your community by becoming an informed and intervening bystander. And most of all, if someone tells you they’ve been raped…Start by Believing!
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.