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Q:

Sexual violence is hard to talk about. How can I get more comfortable with this topic?

A:

The first thing that you can do for yourself as an ally/accomplice is never stop learning. As cheesy as it sounds, knowledge is truly power. Sexual violence can be really hard to talk about for anyone, especially if you are a survivor yourself or do not know much information about the particular topic. I think it is a conversation that one should prepare themselves for. Statistically speaking, 1 in 3 women-identified individuals and 1 in 6 male-identified individuals are assaulted in their lifetime. What this means is that this is a type of conversation that may come up.

When it comes to talking about sexual assault, it may also be extremely important for you to do some self-check-ins. A lot of us have our own struggles that we have yet to address. It may be time to look into why this is so hard for you at this time. Also remember to take care of yourself. If something is too hard for you to talk about, you can opt out of conversations that make you feel uncomfortable and/or unsafe.

Overall, the only way to truly get more comfortable in talking about this topic is to continue learning about it.

According to RAINN, “Sometimes support means providing resources, such as how to reach the National Sexual Assault Hotline, seek medical attention, or report the crime to the police. But often listening is the best way to support a survivor.”

Hopefully, once you get comfortable in knowing more about the topic, you will become more comfortable having those conversations and/or supporting a mentee if they come to you needing support. I know these conversations are not easy at all. And they may take time. There are also some good resources out there to help you get better at them.

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