By: Jen Pool
Each year, the United States Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), leads communities throughout the country in their observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW). This year, NCVRW has taken place this week and lasts through the weekend, and the theme is “Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change.”
The theme is all about amplifying the voices of survivors and creating an environment where survivors have confidence that they will be heard, believed, and supported. This is an important goal and one that is personal to Grit + Gumption and the women that we serve. Trafficking, DV/IPV, and crime in general, have devastating impacts on victims and their families. Survivors may experience physical, emotional, and financial harm, and they may also struggle with feelings of isolation, fear, and anger.
Having worked, and been friends with, with survivors of trafficking and domestic violence for many years, I’ve seen firsthand the strength and resilience of each individual survivor. They’ve overcome incredible odds, and deserve to be heard and supported.
There are many ways that we can support survivors in our own communities. One vital way is to provide them with access to resources and services, such as safe housing, counseling, legal aid, and financial assistance. We can also help to create safe spaces where survivors can share their stories and connect with others who have been through similar experiences.
Another important way to support survivors is to challenge the myths and stereotypes that surround crime and victimization. Too often, survivors are blamed for the crimes that have been committed against them. It’s important to remember, and speak up about, how crime is never the victim’s fault.
Finally, here are some ways you can be supportive to someone who is a crime survivor:
- Believe them
- Listen without judgement
- Help to source, and connect them with, resources and services
- Remember that healing takes time and isn’t linear
If you or someone you know has been a victim of crime, there are resources available to help. You can find more information on the OVC website at https://ovc.ojp.gov/. If you are a crime survivor, please know that you are not alone. There are people who care about you and want to help.
Jen Pool is a Board Member for Grit Plus Gumption Farmstead. She also works as the Director of Community Development for another 501(c)(3) outside of Washington D.C. and is a certified Life Design Coach, Enneagram Coach and ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Trainer.