When I read the comments posted on the stories on our site, I notice that some volunteers share their own experiences of sexual violence. Although I don’t have direct experience with sexual violence, I decided to become a volunteer because I believe that people shouldn’t have to work through difficult emotions and thoughts on their own. Behind this article is a volunteer who hasn’t experienced rape or sexual abuse, but has decided to contribute to a compassionate and safe environment for people who have experienced these things.
As a volunteer who doesn’t have a story, I have willingly made the choice to lend an ear. I’m not going to invalidate your feelings, say that you’re being untruthful, or tell you what I believe you should do. I won’t pretend that I understand what it’s like to have flashbacks, but I’ll listen to you talk about what triggers the flashbacks and how you cope with them. I can’t say how it feels to come into contact with an assailant, but I’ll listen to how you’re feeling about the encounter and encourage you to do something nice for yourself. You have decided to talk about a traumatic experience, so I’m going to let you know that there’s someone who cares.
Since sexual violence tends to be viewed as a taboo topic, it’s not uncommon for people to make the decision to keep their stories to themselves. If you aren’t ready to share what has happened, that’s okay. I’m not going to pressure you to share your story with me. If you decide to talk to me, I won’t push you for details.
Despite the fact that I don’t have a story, I’m a safe person to confide in.
Click here to learn more about joining A Voice For The Innocent’s volunteer team or to submit an application.