Special Edition: Healing hearts after Sandy
People I love experienced some of the most devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy earlier this week. Family members and friends living in New York City and on Long Island are thankfully safe, but living through post-disaster conditions as they try to return to daily life. Many are still without power, dealing with damage to their homes and neighborhoods, have no transportation, no heat, and limited access to basic supplies. It is scary to know that even while pushing through this difficult time, they are also at increased risk for experiencing sexual trauma.
My New York family is definitely a tough breed. We can’t even convince them to leave their homes for a few days of heat, hot water, and warm meals—and I don’t think it’s because of my cooking! For me, it feels like I am so far away, and so limited in the help I can offer. I’m thankful that they have many of the protective factors that help to build resiliency and safety after the storm. They have shelter, support, and access to so many resources. At the same time, I worry for the many people who do not have access to these things. We also know that the sexual assault prevention and support system has been effected in the aftermath of Sandy. Staff, volunteers and organizations are going through the same experiences as the people in my New York Family. If you’d like to learn more about the risk and protective factors for sexual violence after a disaster situation, please look into Sexual Violence in Disasters: A planning guide for prevention and response. English-language and Spanish-language versions of the book are available online. You can also take a free 1 hour online course that was recently made available:Sexual Violence in Disasters: Understanding the Scope of the Problem.
One way that I think many of us can help, even though we’re far away, is by deciding to make a donation to the Relief Fund for Sexual Assault Victims. There are many different ways to make a donation. With the new Text-to-Donate option, just text PREVENT to 80077 to make a $10 donation. We also have a new way for people to contribute by buying Cards that Care, where 100% of proceeds support the relief fund. Help us by sharing the Relief Fund Flyer in your community. Simply sharing this information on social networks will help to build funds for victims and make a difference. I really, truly appreciate any help you can provide in this effort.