One in five women will we be sexually assaultedat some point in their lives, and 70% of them will not report their attackers. The main reasons for women not to report sexual assault is fear of retaliation from their attacker and a belief that the police would not do anything to help.
Since the story of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse allegations came into the news, workplace sexual harassment and discrimination complaints rose 12%compared to the previous year, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Victims are increasingly speaking up about their #MeToo experiences, which is a positive note in very unfortunate circumstances. Providing a safe environment for women to be heard without the fear of being judged, questioned or labeled is more important than ever.
“There are still so many social barriers for women to come forward about their experiences. What will this do to my family? What will my kids say? Will my friends believe me? Sadly, we are years away from supporting survivors the way they deserve,” says Ana Pompa Alarcón Rawls, Founder and CEO of findSisterhood.
findSisterhood is an anonymous social media network created by a woman for women to share their experiences, both good and bad, and to support each other. It’s a place where women’s voices are heard, understood and supported, without judgment. A place where women who have not yet shared their #MeToo experiences for any reason can finally have a space to speak freely and be heard.
“The #MeToo movement is an important moment for women to come together and unite to support victims and their stories. A moment to stop competing towards one another and unite,” says Rawls.
In light of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, many women have taken to the social platform to share their own experiences of abuse and to voice their opinions on the topic. The images below are just a couple of examples of real posts and conversations from within the app; and the support system women are providing for each other.
Support is key because many women are still afraid of sharing their experiences because of the fear of not being believed, not getting the support they need, and hurting their loved ones. If there’s anything we’ve learned from Dr. Ford going public about her rape allegations, it’s that women still care a lot about the standards society has created for them.
Majority of the time, women do not want to be associated with a sexual assault, and that adds to the many reasons women often don’t share or report what has happened to them. Shame plays a major factor in why women choose to stay silent. “Shame is a natural reaction to being violated or abused. In fact, abuse, by its very nature, is humiliating and dehumanizing,” Gershen Kaufmansaid in his book Shame: The Power of Caring.
Furthermore, some women feel very responsible for their loved ones and are afraid of how their stories will impact those around them. Women worry about things such as how her family will be affected if she suddenly reports a rape, or how she will tell her parents or other family members.
This is just one of the many reasons why findSisterhood is proving to be a source of support for victims of sexual assault. Many women want to be heard and understood but at the same time do not want people to know who they are. The app is strictly for women or anyone identifying as a woman, making it a safe space for women to share personal stories and experiences.
“It is incredible to see the power of women coming together and supporting each other,” shares Rawls. “Every day we can see on findSisterhood how survivors come forward and share their stories and a whole tribe of women from all over the world listens to them, shares advice and kindness. I want every woman to leave findSisterhood as a stronger, more confident person.”