• Leah Burgess

Still your hero!


TRIGGER WARNING: sex offenders, perpetrators, harmdoers among us. If your loved one, mentor, neighbor, favorite entertainer or reporter, respected community member or hero has committed sexual assault(s) - you can still love, care, and deeply respect them. It is important to accept that we all fall short. Sex offending behaviors does not make the offender/perpetrator/harmdoer a monster or devil - that person made one of the poorest and trauma inducing sexual decisions but they are still human and a person you care deeply about. The people in our lives that have violated another person were the people who baptized you, counseled you, paid for your tuition, walked you down the aisle, paved a professional way for you, listened to you, made you laugh, encouraged you to value your life, has loved and cherished you.

Please know this article is not to excuse any form of sexual violence or harrassment whatsoever!!! This is my effort to value, validate, comfort and encourage any of you who are living out the experience loving, respecting, and honoring a person who has violated someone else. Listen, we have the capacity to do more than one thing. We have the capacity to love and hold folks responsible, in fact love does that (hold people responsible). We can still love someone who has abused others and hold them accountable.

I want to acknowledge you: the mothers, father's, the sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, children, colleagues of sex offenders (convicted or not convicted). I need you to know that it is normal for you to feel stuck, confused, angry, and to have a deep love for the one who made the choice to assault and violate another.You can openly and lovingly care for harmdoers. And you may often feel isolated because of shame or embarrassment. You want your loved one and/or hero to be accountable but you also want to comfort or encourage them.

You are having a normal reaction

to an abnormal situation.

Che and I desire healthy communities and families. We recognize that our communities, families, churches, schools, gyms, and workplaces are safer when everyone is healthy. Healthy to respect boundaries. Healthy to get consent. Healthy to be accountable! In this season of highly publicized disclosures it is important to take care of yourselves.

  • Unplugging from social media or TV is helpful.

  • Set boundaries in the conversations you have with people, if you're not willing to talk then don't.

  • Create a safe community to support you as you love someone who has committed a sex offense.

  • If you have also experienced sexual violence or domestic violence seek out help Call 1-800-656-4673 Available 24 hours everyday.

  • Pray

  • Listen to music

  • Take your prescribed medications

  • Go for a walk

  • Get some sunlight

  • Take a nap

  • Advocate for survivors

If you or someone you know is going through because a loved one, friend or hero has perpetrated sexual violence or domestic violence please know support is available for you too. If you are a non-offending loved one or friend, meaning you did not contribute to the sex offense then you can access resources too. In my work (vocation as a Victim Advocate) we identify people like you as Tertiary Victims. We have come to know that you need encouragement and resources too. If you need support as you walk alongside your loved one, mentor or friend you are welcome to reach out to trained advocates. Call 1-800-656-4673 Available 24 hours everyday. Be encouraged as you hold your person(s) accountable and #RISE

#victimadvocate #sexoffense #triggerwarning #community #love #support #selfcare #domesticviolence #sexualviolence #family #hotline #RAINN #2017

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