Episode Notes

In light of the #MeToo movement and as we move into Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), Sex Talk Happy Hour talks with four different people who identify as survivors, victims, and targets about the aftermath of sexual violence. We also hear from the Alliance Intervention Coordinator, Ashleigh Anderson, on how best to support a friend or family member who experiences sexual violence trauma. For more info, visit http://svfreenyc.org/

The Alliance also promotes Survivors Magazine, an awareness campaign through fashion and photography that highlights survivor stories. Their official launch will be in late April, and can be followed on IG @SurvivorsNYC.

This Episode: Co-Host Jeenie Yoon (NYCAASA), Ashleigh Anderson (NYCAASA), and 4 Special Guests: Jamie, Lisa, Danielle, and Rehanna. Follow us on Twitter @NYCAASA or on Instagram @NYCAlliance, and use our hashtag, #SexTalkHappyHour to let us know your thoughts! This episode was produced and edited by Jeenie Yoon.

United States
explicit content


00:00:05hey everyone I'm Genie you and I use she her pronouns and you're listening to sex talk happy hour a podcast hosted by the New York City alliance against sexual assault if your new Welcome to our humble little podcast and if you're returning welcome back thanks so much for your patience as we worked on this new episode I want to share that we were really overwhelmed with the amount of love and support that we got about our first episode thank you for listening subscribing and telling your friends to do the same we're going to try and make every episode better and better
00:00:36April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month also known as Sam we believe that one of the most important ways to address sexual violence is to just listen to survivors and to uplift and honor their voices so today you'll be hearing from for amazing incredible and beautiful people who also happen to identify a survivors of sexual violence instead of talking about their traumatic experiences we're going to be focusing on the aftermath of a sexual assault and how each of them experience that we believe a Survivor story is there's to tell and there's a loan and we're honored to have our guest. Just a part of themselves with us today also we wanted to give you are beautiful listeners some tools in case you ever receive a disclosure it from a friend family member co-worker whoever at the end of the episode you're going to meet another Alliance staff member who is going to provide us with some advice on how to be supportive and helpful so make sure you do stick around for that it's going to be great as before we believe it's appropriate to provide a warm self-care heads up today's episode may be triggering for someone
00:01:36you're so please do take care of yourselves and whatever ways you may need one final note some of these conversations take place in person and others over the phone so we hope that you'll be forgiving of the mix audio that you'll definitely be hearing today alright enough for me let's meet these incredible people hello okay will you introduce yourself the pronouns you use and your favorite dinosaur I pronounce Hershey and my favorite dinosaur is Rex from Toy Story So my name is my name is my pronouns are seeing her I've got to go with a brontosaurus dinosaur was the huge toy dinosaur at Toys R Us in Times Square that was so great thank you so much for being here in chatting with me so today we wanted
00:02:36focus on talking about the aftermath of sexual violence and how each person experiences that can you tell me who did you tell first how did it go any thoughts or experiences around that that you want to share drive me and thank you for highlighting the aftermath Pacific that rarely if ever gets gets discussed in any sort of like new monster tangible way so it's incredible to have this opportunity to speak to that when I was sexually assaulted it was at a work or treat my coworker so the first person who is actually called with the police that was my foray into telling my story was to an actual police officer moments after my assault happened and that was a horrible experience the police officer looked me up and down I was wearing pajama pants and a tank top asked me if that was what it was wearing a diaper change before hand and was wearing something more provocative I was asked you know how much alcohol pad I consumed I was questioned about past sexual partners when I told the
00:03:35just have to have that I had a boyfriend he asked me repeatedly if I just cheated on him and now he felt bad and was like coming up with a story so I wouldn't have my boyfriend up so it was a horrible experience beginnings and that actually once the initial question was over I refrained from pressing charges at first and they handcuffed the my attacker in the end let him go cuz I just didn't want to deal with this is what was going to be like I did not want to deal with it anymore I completely shut down I was emotionally closed-off I was numb and I just didn't want to deal with it anymore I bet you when I actually came to terms with what I had been too but really it was more the admission to myself it took me a really long time to acknowledge know this is Anthony this is what the definition of this is that was not okay that was an assault
00:04:32and he knew that the accused they wear the same Social Circle circles and because that person was a very powerful person he decided he thought look I'll talk with him let me reason with him ask him to stop
00:04:49but when he did so that person basically said f off and went about his business and obviously the things escalated the harassment escalated the second time that I experienced a rate I was much more aware that it was erased versus the first time so I didn't really have like a who did I tell first story to go with that experience but with this second experience I told a friend of mine that I am incredibly lucky to have because she is a social worker she works very closely with survivors and even then it was still really nerve-racking what were some of the things if any that did not feel as supportive or helpful to you I had a couple of really negative experiences when I did share what had happened to me in in the situation where someone made it about them rather than me and there was a lot of anger associated with
00:05:49I think people understand how often that happens and then it's the fear of survivors that if they share their experience even with the people that their closest you that they're going to get it anger responsive how could you not tell me this incredible how people can take something so painful and so personal and still make it about them and how could you not include me in this and why didn't you let me see Justice for you you could confide in other people you when you muster up the courage to say listen I'm going to put an end to this and then you tell the people you think who would help you and they do nothing for the Daytona Blind Eye and they they make you think they're being helpful but in reality they are not the number one question that I've gotten that immediately affect me is why didn't you report it just feels so judgemental
00:06:49that moment because I feel like I have to explain myself on a decision that's so personal and backed with so much evidence that it could set reporting could go wrong bunch of examples of how reporting goes wrong and the first time that I experienced sexual violence was right around the case with the swimmer Brock Turner and seeing a case like Brock Turner where every single thing goes right you see there's a witness that seems what happens there's evidence all over the place to jury even said like this guy did it like every single thing went right for this woman to get Justice and yet the judge stepped in and didn't want to ruin this guy's life and this woman had to go through so much I had to recount so much had to tear her life upside down so publicly and then received almost no justice or just nominal Justice and so.
00:07:49question for me about why I didn't report seems almost obvious in your personal Journey what's been the most helpful or healing for you support you know when you go through something like this there's a chance you lose friends some people lose jobs for me I have to say while I did there were things that I lost there were people that really showed me a lot of support emotional support not only that you're believed that people trust you they trust what you're saying they are seriously that moving through PTSD with my therapist was so crucial because I had very obvious PTSD symptoms like anxiety and Nightmares and jumping and not wanting to be touched and a lot of those very obvious one but I also had some PTSD symptoms that I didn't really recognize as PTSD and working through those with her was so critical
00:08:49and she hasn't been nothing but so supportive and I've been working with her for like a year and a half now and I could not imagine going through this without her and as amazing as my friends are and as beautiful and educated and wonderful as my friends are most of them are just not licensed therapist and on top of that they shouldn't have to play a therapist role in healing the most empowering and helpful notion that I've ever been told us that healing is cyclical and I never really understood that until I was in something this this traumatic before would have had someone told me that there is no beginning middle and end you look for an endpoint like I woke up so many days waiting for okay is this the day that I'm going to feel normal again am I going to feel back to my old self I can see that and other people around me to go case this today that Danielle's not afraid to go out anymore is this the day that you know she would have came to Partners this is the day that I was going to want to have sex now like when is when is the
00:09:46you know that your story going to restart that's not how healing works there are some days where it feels like it never happened to me there are other days where it literally feels like it was yesterday so we know that each person who has experienced a form of violence identifies differently in my experience most people use the term Survivor but I know that other people use different terms and I'm wondering if you're willing to share but how you identify identify as a Target because the difference I would say between a Target and a Survivor the sexual violence isn't just violent in the literal definition of the word sexual violence can be non violent and I think that's the difference in my situation I was just targeted there were things happening but no one physically put a hand on me or otherwise for me when I come for everyone and I think the people need to have the freedom to identify however they they please over me
00:10:46Survivor and victim are the same word and I like to go by victim actually instead of Survivor I'm a sexual assault victim this is something to happen to me for me that word in there itself is very powerful want to see how that word has been faster. Faster size really and people use victim to somehow be an affront to someone in and now it's like this ugly weird that I find so much power in that that I have overcome something incredibly dramatic so that's what survivor and victim mean for me is that this horrible thing to happen to me and it wasn't my fault it didn't matter what I was wearing it didn't matter what I was drinking it didn't matter that I had previous sexual consensual relationships with other people this was someone violated my humanity and I have Rose above it through help from a lot of people and continue to do the work to heal from that trauma and in that have found an underlying strength and a lot of underlying weaknesses that make me exactly who I am the core but this is something that happened to me this is not something that I did to myself and and that's why I find the victim particular to be a really active
00:11:46empowering title and I think that we've veered away from that in so many ways and then people don't want to call themselves that but that is what I am and I have been able to move forward in my life despite someone victimizing me and I find power in that to you find power and identifier using the term victim how did it how does the term Survivor make you feel like it has definitely become more of a triggering word for me now that me to is become such an incredible movement it is powerful yes but I also see so many women have you spoken to so many women privately who saved no I haven't come forward yet and I have bad Survivor and I somehow doing a disservice to this movement I do to service to other women to other victims to other survivors should I not be strong enough to share my story to step forward and that's me it's heartbreaking that we have again put this this responsibility in this onus to fix rape culture on the victims and on people who've been victimized
00:12:46buy it and that is devastating and no one should feel obligated to put themselves in the situation we was going to be the victim blaming in there you know they're going to be judged in and rid of the old until we fix that culture we shouldn't be demanding people share their stories so survivors obviously very empowering and I and I feel that in my car as well but I think that we've also attached this obligatory need for people to to come forward for the betterment of everyone even though we haven't helped the Survivor first and foremost and and that's that's my my worry with the hashtag me to campaign really taking off around October of last year even though it really started about a decade ago its spark some really intense conversations about sexual violence so how have you experienced Posh tag me to has it been positive negative both neither play for me personally it's almost like I can breathe a little there's this sort of societal validation by hearing all these people come out and
00:13:46talk about things that has happened so many survivors survivors with me who are really open about their experiences and I'm trying to get you to understand what's happened why does my time trying to convince people that this is a bigger problem than I realize that's incredibly frustrating on the one hand and it really going to ask you what it is that you did that like you into the situation so that complaining because in their mind it's not that common and here if it is then it's written violent inmates on this really get correction it was like you don't really have to take a step back and it was like okay wait a minute what is happening here and I'm glad that a lot of men are coming out of the woodwork
00:14:46about nobody talks about awful people that's around and this sort of nebulous support group that you can't necessarily but it's there an Insidious nature of sexual assault in and of itself is that on one hand you're so relieved that you're not alone but you also feel guilty that you're relieved that you're not alone because of the fact that you're not alone means it's so many other people have experienced this this horrendous horrible act and you don't want that yeah the me-too movement has been a complicated one for me and I think it's been complicated for a lot of people Survivor or not from my standpoint I as you mention I am very vocal about being a Survivor and also about being a feminist but I much more and
00:15:46Progressive so I think a lot of times when these movements come up people expect some sort of commentary from me they want to hear my thoughts on it they want to hear how it makes me feel and as a Survivor I may not always want to share those things particularly around me to me to is really triggering I say it's really triggering not to say that I wish it didn't happen because I'm thrilled that happened this conversation should be happening women should be heard that should be at the Forefront of our conversation and I really believe that talking about it to this level is the only way to make a change however there is the part of me that is thrilled about how we move away from rape culture and there's a part of me that's protecting myself from the rape culture what would you want other people to know about what it means to be a Survivor or a victim why what do you think is important for other people to know about that experience or that identity
00:16:46you know we all are comprised of positive and negative experiences in our lives and this is something else that falls into that category having people understand that they no survivors even if they don't know that they do tend to be really aware of the fact that so many people there surrounded by husband's through from type of experience at this and it's horrible and it's sad but it's so important to acknowledge that and the other thing is I feel like it when people hear that someone is a survivor of something with it is and it's completely understandable and with all the love in the world however it's something that I think people should try to keep within themselves a little bit it's fine for you to be sad and feel sorry that somebody who has been through something like that but when you try to express it to that person it's going to make them in my experience a little bit more clothes off
00:17:46After experiencing for women or men or children happened we're not out there looking for it and no one in their right Minds wakes up and says oh I'm going to go to wherever and be sexually harassed today no one does that and I think the more empathy should be with the victims or survivors or targets you know it's not just because a woman dresses a certain way means that she deserved what happened to her do you have any words for anyone who has not yet said me too doesn't want to share or is maybe feeling guilty about not sharing
00:18:46so guilty about not coming forward I see you I hear you I believe you I don't have to hear your story to believe you it's not your fault and you are under no obligation to tell your story what does Justice however you define that look like for you that's a really hard question and the reason that I find that to be a hard question is because I personally don't feel like I will ever experience Justice not for what happened for me not in those two cases those two cases I did not report for personal reasons that only I need to find valid and that I don't feel like I need to explain to anybody else which is kind of the point you were making it's tough for me because I will sort of always live with this knowing that my perpetrators will never be punished for what happened not for what happened to me that's so passive for what they did to me so that's tough to know that that Justice is just never going to happen for me but I do have to say that when I see men
00:19:46standing up and saying I did something wrong even on like a small level like I didn't realize that cat calling was harassment where I didn't realize that when I said this thing to a woman and made her uncomfortable and I'm going to be better when men stand up and say I have been wrong I have hurt people I've hurt women in intentional ways or otherwise and I'm going to try to be different. Feels like justice to me because that feels like they will then go on they will call out there male friends they will raise their sons differently they can start being the change that clearly I couldn't have been and so I need my male allies and my male friends to stand up and really spread that word make a pledge that they're going to call out anything from harassment to keeping helping keep their girlfriends safe from rape I need to see them take some action I feel like that's the only way I can find Justice I would know
00:20:46give advice to another Survivor on how they should find Justice because it's going to be different for everybody I really do hope that more and more women feel comfortable reporting but that's got to come from them as also got to come from change in the way that police officers hear the story the way the police officers react when they hear the story and then the way that the court system handles the trial there after they were dropped a year later after my rape kit was finally processed because it was a he said she said there wasn't enough evidence so then in there I had to refocus do I still think that we need to have more rest yes absolutely we need to change the way that we talk to victims police officers need more training but for me it by version of Justice now is what happens when I share my story and I have someone get ahold of me afterwards privately and they feel comfortable sharing there's two Iris
00:21:46Facebook at a high school outside of Philadelphia about consent and sexual assault and interpersonal violence and I had five students afterwards who who came up to me to speak one-on-one and share their stories to me creating an environment even with just my voice to make others feel safe to come forward even if it's one on one to me that some semblance of Justice me that someone realizing that their voices matter their stories matter their Humanity matters that they're they're worth something that they're valuable that someone cares enough to listen so definitely recalibrated what what Justice Means to Me is education for everybody in every aspect where there is the people who haven't been through it but you can't be educated that it has other people and how they need to respond to that it is education for people who are survivors for them to understand that that's actually what happened to that makes you get so many of them
00:22:46cases now right where people don't come out until years later and you have all of these voices saying or what took her so long or what took him so long like and it's not just about you putting survivors on identifying what day is been through editing potential perpetrators on what it means to be respectful of someone else's boundaries and their comfort level we can't understand what that looks like it's understand what it what consent means men realizing that hey we're doing something wrong and the good bunch of us should really stand up with these women and and look for it for change your words change I also think Justice would be ending the blame game
00:23:39you know we tend Society tends to say oh well it's her fault what was she doing what was she wearing but you know how big are her boobs or you know she was looking for it and that really has to stop I think we should all try to educate ourselves Justice would also be organizations in schools employers wherever these type of behavior happens or may happen there needs to be a safe place for victims or targets to to go to and complain without intimidation Rihanna I know this year you were involved with survivors magazine and I'm wondering if you could just share with us a little bit about that survivors magazine is a magazine that raises Awareness on sexual violence through fashion and photography I am one of the participants featured in this year's is you and I chose to participate because like so many other women
00:24:40I have been to Target of sexual harassment the proceeds from the magazine goes to benefit the alliance Rihanna thank you so much for sharing that I'm really excited to see your photo and story because I know that you're going to be just stunning if you're in New York City we will be having a lunch of the magazine on April 27th and we'll make a formal announcement wants me to secure the venue were really close to having one so we hope to see you there okay last question just to end on a high note what is giving you life these days it's honestly I'm very lucky and privileged in so many ways my son is hilarious I know if you ever hang out with three-year-olds but they're weird and crazy if it's like hanging out with the proverbial trying to present at all times I feel like I'm back in college was a crazy roommate like he's so funny and then a lot of volunteering as lame as that sounds was it has really gotten me through this healing process that I said his continued
00:25:40is kind of throwing myself into instances where I can volunteer my time and in my story and my boys and working with day one in New York City speaking at different schools around the city and in Philadelphia has been a really beneficial and then also very went to say no has been a truly life-giving lesson for me so what's giving me life these days is my five-year-old daughter the love from her and her dad and I follow a motivational speaker he passed away but his name was dr. Wayne Dyer and I follow his teachings on the power of intention so I have a littlest meet up this on my refrigerator and it's about 12 things that you do everyday everything from meditation to just be grateful being positive so that's my little Zen thing that I do and how goes log which I probably bought
00:26:40but it's Dutch chocolate sprinkles that I have every morning for breakfast or during the day as a snack I have to say that it is is a car show but it is just amazing This Is Us I know everybody's been talking about it I think that be on the fact that it's just terrific story at is really breaking down a lot of those stereotypes that are still in our society from gender roles and racism and body positivity and things like that in the population of being exposed to die and I'm finally getting a better idea and it's boring kissing pigeonholed and should be stereotypical castings and and things like that and then good for me personally this song Miley Cyrus Malibu I don't know what it is about this song but every time it comes on the radio I just feel like
00:27:39so that is definitely something that I turn to when things get super chaotic and overwhelmed by how she is just such an incredible artist she is so about positivity and she just like Stan's in her own space and she makes no apologies for anything and her music is just like upbeat and fun as well as having a message and like this and how she's that I'll definitely be checking out myself for sure thank you so much to each of our guests Janie Lisa Danielle and Rihanna we are so honored that you would trust us with your stories and I know that I'm personally feeling really empowered by each of you as promised at the top of the show we want to give you our listeners some tips on how to support someone who has experienced sexual violence trauma
00:28:40so I'm here with my colleague who's going to give you some basic advice please introduce yourself my dear colleague tax services to our clients including counseling accompaniment to NYPD or DA's office and advocacy for survivors thanks so much for being here today Ashley okay so what would you say in your expertise and experience are the most important things for listeners to know about supporting someone who's gone through something like this overwhelming here are just some helpful do you thin don't have to guide you through the process if it ever comes up so first of all Don't Panic if these feelings are coming up for you imagine how it must feel for your friend partner coworker whoever to disclose this information to you this person must feel that you are safe and trusted I lied so just start by listening it is not expected for you to be perfect
00:29:40try to put them at ease and reassure them that they are in a safe space make sure to validate Anna from their feelings and express how courageous they are by taking this difficult stuff by sharing your story with you show empathy and express your stance against the abuse The Experience be sure to follow their lead and let them guide the conversation respect their choices and decisions regarding our care now here is a list of some don't resist the urge to jump to action steps or to save the person let them tell you what they need and if they aren't clear just ask avoid why questions these questions place blame on the Survivor and or excuse the perpetrators behavior do not share the Survivor story without their consent they told you and only you for a reason and you need to respect that do not minimize the assault resume that the Survivor should be reacting in any particular way regardless of the detail is wrong and the way someone present after in a cell is different
00:30:40every Survivor listen validate support respect their choices if you do these 4 things you're being a real I make sure to take care of yourself throughout this process and know when you need additional help to best support a Survivor for more resources and for the complete list of do's and don'ts go to our website at SV free nyc.org or call her helpline at 212-514-7233 thank you thank you so much Ashley that was such great advice and I really hope I listeners got as much out of it as I did because I got a lot out of it that's our show for today if you're feeling inspired like I am and are interested in getting involved in some way with sexual assault awareness month is April we strongly recommend donating to your local Rape Crisis or domestic violence Center you can also attend to speak out of vent or public lecture at a local college or university also as our guest we had I mentioned earlier be on the lookout for survivors magazine you can follow them
00:31:40get some announcements through their Instagram at survivors NYC thank you to the alliance staff who helps make this podcast possible to my supervisors who support me and give me the green light to Nicky Cruz who is a social media Guru and makes everything run so smoothly for us to Ashley for your wonderful advice on how to support your friends special thanks to Sean King who spent time coaching us on how to create the best podcast possible he host his own podcast about technology in photography and if you're interested it's called your Mac life and of course another heartfelt thank you from the bottom of our hearts Choice special guests Jamie Lisa Danielle and Rihanna you inspire all of us remember to subscribe and rate US on iTunes or Google Play and tell your friends to do the same we hope to bring you more conversations and we really want to hear from you if you want to get in touch with us have feedback or thoughts or if you have a topic that you'd like for us to talk about you can tweet at us at NYC
00:32:40aasa or messages on Instagram at NYC Alliance that's at NYC Alliance and make sure you use our hashtag hashtag sex talk happy hour all one word thanks so much for listening in chat for now we'll see you next time

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