According to the Department of Justice, National Crime Victimization Survey, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.
With any violent crime the numbers matter. For us, what is most alarming is that a majority of sexual assault victims are under the age of 34.
This majority is key to our project – The Soundingboard Project, as it brings us to the Why? Why we do what we do.
Candidly, The Soundingboard Project did begin as a personal mission to create something I felt I needed following my assault – a sounding board. Something, or someone to listen to me without judgement or that loaded look of pity that says “I want to get it, but just can’t.” The project continued to evolve as I worked with survivors as a volunteer Crisis Counselor for the Sexual Assault Response Team. Sitting with survivors during their SART exam was humbling and heartbreaking. As I held each survivors hand and did my best to follow their lead to best support them, their strength was never lost on me. I watched as they gave up their privacy and control of their bodies again, for hours at a time, in the name of justice. I carry each survivor I had the honor to sit with in my heart today, and hope to honor their stories each day with The Soundingboard Project.
As my career shifted, and I had the opportunity to work in student housing at a local university, and work with mostly first-year students. It wasn’t long before I realized how much technology had changed the landscape of communication. While there was not a tremendous age gap between me and the students I worked with, some of the challenges they faced seemed so foreign to me. As I worked backwards to address roommate conflicts that had escalated to severe online bullying or harassment; it shocked me that in many instances the issue snowballed because students did not know how to deal with conflict. Most students were uncomfortable having the difficult conversations like, “please don’t leave your dirty dishes in the sink”, or “please do not listen to your music loudly after 10pm” face to face. Instead, students were texting or tweeting their requests - forfeiting context, and allowing their fair requests to become passive aggressive demands, that escalated overtime.
I realized then, that most of the students I worked with had grown up with a hand held device. At young ages they were familiar with social media and instant, electronic communication. It struck me that if students struggled to deal with basic roommate conflict without electronic communication, how could they be expected to deal with trauma without a safe, supportive electronic forum? We needed to create something that met them where they are – online.
This realization inspired the goal of The Soundingboard Project: to provide a safe, supportive online network for Survivors and the Warriors who love them; and create a healthy path forward with a focus on mental, emotional, social, spiritual and physical wellness.
Stay tuned as we continue to dive into they why; specifically, why we also think it is crucial to serve the Warriors who are doing everything in their power to support Survivors of Sexual Assault. In the coming weeks, we will also be reviewing the what, how and who: what we plan to accomplish in the coming year, how were going to do it, and who is going to help us get there.
In the meantime, thank you for your on-going support! Please continue to share The Soundingboard Project and contact us if you or anyone you know and love could use a soundingboard.
We are here, without judgement.
The Soundingboard Project Team