Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Friendiversary!

According to a friend of ours on facebook, this week is National Best Friends Week. While my internet fact checking came up with a different time of year to celebrate we decided to buck the system and get the party started early. Renegades? Maybe. Or just two best friends who have stood by one another for the past 21 years and always open to a reason to bust out some cake.

Just yesterday the topic of our friendship was the basis of an interview with a fabulous peer educator from Northwestern. She interviewed us for an article she’s writing (appearing soon on the community wall). Her slant and insight are well beyond her years. Her focus was on the role we can all play as members of a survivor’s support system and she wanted our point of view on how we can all be better friends while respecting the disclosure process. We talked a lot about what an honor it is anytime someone trusts us enough to share that they have been sexually assaulted—a privilege Kelly nor I ever take lightly. I think it is important to remember that our friend is likely not disclosing to us because they expect us to have all the answers, but because they believe we will listen, that we will believe them and we will help them seek out support and resources. There is no one size fits all response, but showing up and keeping the focus on the survivor is a good place to start. It is ok not to know everything. It took us years to be this brilliant- kidding! We are all works in progress and knowing we can help to set a positive tone for someone’s recovery process is a beautiful gift. If someone discloses to you- you have earned their trust and should feel honored. If you want a more matter of fact list of suggestions to refer to if a friend discloses to you, here is the link to our resource on “How to Help a Friend”.

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