Letter From the Editor: Stories for Survivors of Sexual Misconduct
In recent months, we’ve all experienced the deluge of revelations about sexual harassment and assault. These stories have focused largely on holding powerful men accountable for their actions: Hollywood moguls, renowned writers, elected representatives, celebrity chefs, television personalities, publishers… the list continues literally ad nauseum.
The sum of these stories has felt like a cultural tsunami, but missing from this national dialogue is a discussion for and about people who actually experience sexual harassment and assault. We at Greatist are hoping to push the conversation forward, to focus on and support survivors of sexual misconduct. We’re asking: In the wake of sexual misconduct, how can we best support ourselves and each other?
Sexual misconduct can happen to anyone, and while it’s important that these stories from Hollywood have been gaining traction—and the people who perpetrate these crimes are being increasingly brought to justice—the average person who has been harassed may be wondering, What now? After all, most of us can’t go to the media if our boss harasses us or a friend assaults us; for regular people, news coverage—or even lawyering up—simply isn’t an option.
But if the recent coverage of harassment has shown us anything, it’s that many folks face these ugly situations all too commonly, across all walks of life. That’s why we’re focusing this collection on presenting options for anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct—and providing resources for friends and family who want to support them.
We’ve included in this collection an introduction to therapies you can use to work through issues resulting from sexual trauma; ways family and friends can legitimately help, support, and avoid retraumatizing survivors; an explanation of what triggers really are, and why they aren’t BS; strategies for folks who are struggling to form healthy relationships after sexual assault; an exploration of the emotional benefits and drawbacks of naming an abuser; and a list of 67 resources that can help survivors navigate the road to recovery after experiencing sexual misconduct.
We’re also offering a guide detailing what to do if you’re experiencing sexual harassment at work; a look at the link between sexual trauma, memory, and forgetting; a comic that explores what consent does and doesn’t look like; a writer’s struggle with the knowledge that her father committed sexual assault; and a story that traces the dissolution of two best friends’ relationship after they experienced trauma together.
In this national conversation around sexual misconduct, survivors deserve our focus and attention. We hope that these resources can be useful, comforting, and enlightening to those who are looking for ways to heal themselves or to help people they love recover.
-Jess Novak, Senior Editor, Unfiltered by Greatist