“the common-sense guide to being a survivors’ advocate” from Inside The Crimelab
1. If there’s a story in the news about rape charges or a survivor brings a story to you, don’t dismiss that story. Listen. Don’t assume automatically that the charges are false or could be false. The chances of it being false are extremely low. Don’t make excuses for the person who is being charged or the person you’re being told the story about. In other words, stop couching your opinions in rape-apologist language. This is one of the many factors that contribute toward survivors not speaking up – a cultural atmosphere in which we are, in so many cases, automatically dismissed.
2. If a survivor comes to you with a story and would like advice as to how to proceed, let the survivor direct the course of action (as long as that course of action isn’t dangerous to anyone). Remember that there are survivors’ organizations and crisis centers in your area that can help and have the resources to do more than you can alone; that’s always my first suggestion. Those organizations will also in many cases help the survivor through criminal, legal and medical filing if that’s what the survivor chooses to do.
3. Donate your time and/or money to a worthwhile organization that supports survivors’ services in your area. There are local and national shelters, hotlines, and other nonprofit organizations that are always in need of your energy.
4. If the person being accused of assault is an artist or musician (or producer of goods, so on and so forth), step back and question why you’re supporting this person’s work, if you are. There are enough artists and musicians out there that you’re not losing anything significant by not focusing on, supporting or choosing not to associate yourself with that person’s work. If that person is a member of your community, help figure out community strategies to deal with the resultant issues. Keep in mind that safety within the community comes first.