Twin Cities Mom Collective

Violence Thrives In Silence

Violence Thrives In Silence | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Every 92 seconds someone experiences sexual assault. 

92 seconds. Every minute and a half.

When I think about that statistic there are a few things that come to my mind. First, I think about how many people I know who haven’t told a soul about what they have experienced and my heart just aches for them. Secondly, I think about how many people in our community feel that they have the right and the power to abuse another human being and I feel disgusted. Thirdly, I start to feel a combination of angry and sad and ask myself the question: why?

Why as a community do we continue to turn our heads and pretend we don’t see it and pretend that it’s not there?

Why do we continually question if someone is telling the truth when they disclose?

Why do we continue to worry about the perpetrators future and not think once about how the assault has impacted that survivor? 


I work as an advocate at a local domestic and sexual violence organization and it saddens me when I go into the community to speak about these issues and I sometimes hear, “Wow, I didn’t realize that this happens so often.” Some people are interested in hearing more and start asking questions. Then there are some that stop making eye contact with me and their faces turn away. I can tell that they don’t want to talk about this anymore. But I just can’t stop.

I can’t stop talking about the violence happening in our community. I can’t stop talking about it because I hear stories every day about how violence has impacted many lives. I can’t be a keeper of their stories and not be an advocate for change.

I understand that this is not an easy conversation topic. My family and friends are probably sick and tired of me bringing it up during dinner and at social gatherings. I recognize that talking about violence and sexual assault is common language to me and I realize that it’s uncomfortable for some people. It’s my normal, but it’s not everyone else’s.

But what if it was?

What if it was normal for us to talk about the effects that sexual violence has on people? 

What if it was normal for someone to tell their close friends what happened to them over the weekend and for their classmates to show empathy and support rather than blame or ignore? 

What if it was normal for us to have conversations with our kids about consent?

What if it was normal for us to teach our children what respect and healthy relationships look like rather than just assuming they know the difference?

Violence thrives in silence. When we don’t talk about the issue of violence in our community, when we ignore it or hide from it – it multiplies. Some survivors want to share their story, some don’t. Our culture isn’t going to change by having more people share their story. Our culture and community are going to change when we start supporting and believing the survivors who are sharing. 

As a community, let’s start having conversations with our kids and our friends and our neighbors. I believe as a community we can do better.

A lot of people are unsure of how to support a victim of sexual violence. Here are 4 ways that you can help support a victim of sexual violence. 

Start by believing.

Saying “I believe you” is one of the most impactful things that you can say to a survivor. You may be the first person that someone is opening up to. The way you respond makes a huge difference for survivors.

Remind them that it’s not their fault. 

No matter the circumstances, they were not looking or asking to be assaulted. It’s very common for a victim to blame themselves. Be one of the voices in their life that continues to remind them that it wasn’t their fault.

Listen and support. 

Hear what they are saying and support their next steps. Some victims will want law enforcement involved and others will not. Do not pressure them into making decisions. Instead, help them explore all the options.

Let them know that they are not alone.

Be a person in their life that they can come to when they need someone to talk to. Point them to resources in the community when you feel like extra support is needed. There are advocates in the Twin Cities area that would love to help. 

If you know or are a victim of sexual violence, I’m sorry for the pain that you have had to endure. Maybe you have a support system and maybe you haven’t told a soul. There are resources out there for you to reach out and get support. If you don’t have anyone else in your life telling you this, hear me when I say, “I believe you and I support you.” 

Check out our Seeking Help, Finding Hope resource guide for local resources.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.

To find out more information, visit The National Sexual Violence Resource Center. 

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