In the wake of sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (and now other powerful men in the public eye), the hashtag #MeToo has become a rallying cry of solidarity for survivors.
Now, a new campaign hopes to help those survivors heal after experiencing sexual assault, and, in some cases, after sharing their stories.
Teen Vogue reports that the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City has launched #HealMeToo, which aims to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder amongst sexual assault survivors.
Most of the time, PTSD is discussed in the context of soldiers coming home from war — but #HealMeToo wants you to know that it also frequently happens amongst women who have been assaulted.
"At a time when so many sexual assault survivors are coming forward to be heard, the goal of this campaign is to give them the resources to be healed," the campaign's website reads.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of PTSD in the two weeks following the incident — symptoms including repeated thoughts of the assault, memories and nightmares, avoidance of thoughts, feelings, and situations related to the assault, and negative changes in thought and feelings.
The campaign's website allows people to share their stories of PTSD after assault, and to offer advice to help fellow survivors heal.
"You’re not a burden to anyone because of the reasons you suffer from PTSD," one person wrote. "I found that when I kept my feelings to myself, I suffered deeply, but when I talked things out, honestly, I felt better. Most importantly, take time for yourself to heal."
The site also provides resources for people to get help, including contact information for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network as well as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
As we reach a point when more and more survivors are speaking out about their experiences with sexual assault, it's important to remember that their bravery in sharing doesn't mean they don't still need support — and that's what #HealMeToo wants to provide.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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