As we are quickly rounding out the first week of 2013, we cannot escape the headlines reminding us of the unnerving events occurring daily across the globe. Whether it is sexual assault within our own country or violence in another, the reality is that we all may find ourselves a victim, in one way or another. Amidst the sadness of such current events, we are sometimes reminded of our own experiences. This can be emotional. When nurtured in the proper environment, exploring these emotions can often times lead to empathy and empowerment.
The Victim’s Information Bureau of Suffolk (VIBS) advocates that counseling helps victims understand what has happened to them, and helps survivors explore their options and take control of their lives. VIBS was created in hopes of changing lives and restoring dignity. If you are looking to start the year off by giving back, it may interest you to volunteer as an Emergency Room Companion (ERC) or as a Speakers Bureau Volunteer. For more information, visit http://www.vibs.org/volunteers.html.
In 2013, don’t forget to plan for your safety. Educate yourself and increase your understanding of our nation’s criminal justice system, social services and non-profit organizations fighting to make our neighborhoods safer places. Familiarize yourself with available counseling, information or hotlines associated with sexual assault. Learn where the nearest Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Centers are located. For instance, there are four SANE Centers on Long Island: in Nassau County, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset; in Suffolk County, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Peconic Bay Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center.
Be sure to remember the importance of self. Always be mindful of your thoughts and recognize the importance of being a survivor. Acknowledge the journey that has brought you to where you are. And if you are not a survivor, but know someone who is, encourage them throughout their journey, as that is what life truly is.
Photo courtesy of YanivG via flickr.com