2014 End-of-Year Reflection

December 18, 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, when I think about the past year and what the LKW Fund accomplished, I feel immensely grateful to everyone whose support has helped Laura’s Fund survive and flourish to the degree it has. So I approach 2015 with a renewed pledge to continue our advocacy to bring awareness to the pervasive problem of sexual violence and work to end it. With this in mind, I’d like to share with you both an assessment and inherent plea made by Kim Fountain, the Executive Director of Pride Center Vermont:

Bringing the topic of sexual violence into social conversations is not easy. I have thought about skipping over it, but I have a voice that comes up from my heart that says every opportunity to provide education, support, or exposure for a topic that desperately needs all three is important.
So often, we hear the dismay of the general public when a high profile sexual assault case catches the media’s attention. Questions ping all over the internet and talk shows. “Why didn’t anyone say something?” “How did so many people know and so few do anything?” “Why did she or he not say anything when they were assaulted?”
Sharing stories of surviving sexual violence is difficult in a culture that either makes a spectacle of it or denies it, often leaving survivors feeling harmed all over again. Yet, what we know is that survivors, including victims and those who care about them, must be able to tell their own stories. This process often helps us regain control over our experiences and to nurture healing journeys.
Stories are also ways for other survivors to learn that they are not alone and that their feelings are shared by others. They create communities of acceptance and safety and this in turn leads to more people being able to rise up and demand accountability and change in our responses to sexual violence.

With Kim’s words in mind, let us move forward together in 2015 resolved to make it possible and comfortable for survivors to tell their stories, to listen to their stories with compassion, to share our own stories, and to do all that we can to take an active role in ending sexual violence. Opportunities for our involvement do exist more often that we may realize but are too often ignored. The reality is that each one of us does have the power to be instrumental in preventing and, ultimately, ending the travesty of sexual violence.

I wish you joyful holidays and a new year of peace and harmony. JoAnn W.