To survivors and our community

To survivors and our community

For more than four decades, the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center has supported survivors of sexual assault and their families with innovative, comprehensive services and resources to help them heal, while advocating for systems that better respond to the needs of survivors.

We want you to know we will never waiver from our core commitment to survivors, and that commitment transcends politics. 

Our openness to hearing a survivor’s truth should not be based on who the perpetrator is. Making that calculation diminishes the experience of all survivors. 

Over the years, we have developed a keen understanding about the impacts of sexual violence trauma. Among other things, we know it is common for survivors to:

  • Delay reporting;

  • Lack clarity about details, perceived as a “changing story;”

  • Hesitate about going public for fear of how it will impact oneself or family

We also know that survivors are individual, and every one of their lives and experiences is different. When other aspects of a survivor’s life are used to discredit their story, or to question their motivations for speaking out, it sends a chilling message to all survivors: you will not be believed, and your experience does not matter because of things that have nothing to do with your assault.

We know that false reports of sexual assault are rare, and that sexual assault is still an exceedingly underreported crime. That means far too many survivors do not get the help they need to heal, and that perpetrators are not held to account. While we have made substantial progress toward empowering survivors to speak out in recent years, we risk a substantial backslide by dismissing survivor stories we deem inconvenient.

We expect our leaders to be models of respectful behavior and speech.  Where they have caused harm, now or in the past, they must take responsibility and be held accountable. Importantly, accountability isn’t limited solely to a criminal justice response, and must include the input of those who have been harmed.

Our culture, rooted in misogyny and power, plays a key role in perpetuating sexual violence. When we examine and address all the ways abuses of power play out in our society, and when each of us steps up to challenge long-accepted norms and behaviors, we stop sexual assault from happening.  

We encourage everyone to be part of the solution. Ways we all can support survivors and help end the scourge of sexual violence include:

  • Speaking up when you hear comments that blame victims for what happened to them;

  • Supporting community-based services to help survivors and their families heal, and encouraging friends and colleagues to join you in doing so;

  • Being open to considering complicated truths that do not have easy, pat answers; 

  • Listening compassionately to survivors’ experiences.

Let’s continue to make progress together.

My best,

Mary Ellen Stone
Executive Director