‘Me, too’ campaign prompts outpouring of stories: Here’s how to get help if you need it

12:54 p.m Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 Austin360 Home

This week started off in a sobering way: Millions of American women posting on social media about their experiences with sexual assault and harassment. As you scrolled through Facebook on Monday, the chorus of responses was impossible to ignore.

The “Me, too” campaign has been around for years, but last week, when actress Alyssa Milano called for people to speak up if they, too, had dealt with inappropriate behavior, the movement gained international attention as women, and some men, shared stories about the times they were catcalled or harassed online and the first or even recent memories of being touched without consent.

Many women posted that they didn’t know anyone who hadn’t had such an incident, but the outpouring of posts was a reminder that this kind of abuse, assault and indecent behavior happens as frequently now as it did years ago and that it’s still a subject that feels taboo.

As several people have pointed out online, if reading others’ posts about sexual violence triggers you to re-live your own experiences, it’s OK to take a breather from the internet to avoid further trauma. There are many resources to help you heal from those encounters, no matter how long ago they occurred.

In Austin, you can reach out to SafePlace to report sexual assaults and find resources for recovery, and the University of Texas has a 24-hour counseling line (512-471-2255). The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault has helpful resources on understanding rape culture and the different forms of sexual violence.

On the national front, RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, is the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, and they partner with agencies around the country to provide services for victims. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center also has lots of resources for survivors of any kind of sexual violence, including podcasts on the subject.

Stop It Now is a national organization focused on preventing sexual abuse of children, and here are tips on talking with your kids about sexual assault and what is and isn’t appropriate conduct.

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