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Believe Survivors

It's not about "should've" or "could've"—it's about simply believing survivors' stories and supporting their healing journey.  Let's not wait for proof of videos over the initial disclosure that took sooooo much courage to share.

To the survivors in my tribe: Your well-being is paramount. Please take care of yourselves, especially when such triggering content is circulating. Don’t hesitate to disconnect from social media, unfollow, or do whatever you need to do for yourself. Reach out for support, lean on your community, and know I believe you. Your story matters!

How Do We Know They’re Telling the Truth?

That’s the question I received. If this is a question you have or had, this is my response.

When it comes to responding to abuse claims, especially when proof is not immediately available, it's a sensitive balance. The priority should be to provide a safe space for the accuser to speak up and be heard ABOVE ALL. Secondly, it was mentioned women who accuse men. I must challenge these statements even in that. Survivor stories are not just women and men, but humans. The automatic assumption it's a women's issue or a truth issue diminishes the core of what this truly is: a human being issue.

Any survivor who steps up and reports should be believed. It’s not our job to play detective. Our role is to provide support, compassion, and a safe space for these voices to be heard. The statistics overwhelmingly show that false accusations are rare. Does it occur? Yes. Do we believe in justice for those falsely accused? Yes. Instead of focusing on the exceptions, we need to center our efforts on the overwhelming majority who are truthful and need our help. By doubting survivors or needing to see facts to be confident to stand 10 toes down on supporting survivors, we further victimize those who are already suffering who reported and those who are suffering in silence because they are watching how we respond. Let’s choose to believe, support, and advocate for change.

It’s not about immediately concluding guilt without evidence but rather ensuring their voices, experiences, courage, and journey are not dismissed outright. Offering support and taking the allegation seriously is a matter of life and death, vitally crucial for someone who's taken the difficult step of coming forward. It’s about affirming, “I hear you, and I’m here for you,” while the necessary investigations and due processes determine the case's specifics. This culture is so quick to rush to show me the facts and stats that we don’t highlight and focus enough on the human who bravely shared in hopes of justice. We don’t even need to judge. We simply need to believe. And that is what I would challenge: why can’t you believe? Why does your default go straight to needing the facts over an empathetic response? Without the mind going to what took so long, why now, is this a money grab, etc., etc? This is an example of renewing our minds daily, and when it comes to a victim-blaming culture, this is an area where so much work is needed.

In my view, with the work I’ve done through training, lived experience, and, most importantly, working with survivors, reconciling these aspects involves a commitment to support education and due diligence. It’s about creating an environment where victims can speak out without fear of disbelief or retaliation and where the accused also has the right to a fair process. It’s challenging, but approaching these situations with empathy and a commitment to justice is our best way forward. Survivor Centered leads.

As a Kingdom advocate, my model in all things is to lead and love like Jesus. So, if he is my model, where in the Bible do we see him needing facts/stats? The Pharisees always wanted to reference the letter of the law and were rigid in thinking and support. Yet, for Jesus, it wasn’t a challenge for Him. Jesus believed in survivors. He listened to those who were marginalized and hurt. He extended His love and compassion to them without hesitation. For those who are followers of Christ in my tribe, if he did it, I’m doing it. You & I are called to do the same. Let's embody His example by believing, supporting, and being survivors wholeheartedly, which will reconcile the need to overcome the challenges. Those who are not truthful will be held accountable, but it’s not my job to lead with that or base my support on that. The more we can model THIS, the more we truly can be safe humans to those survivors who need it most. This is how you become the change you wish to see.

If this isn’t you but others in your circle, I hope I've equipped you a little to be that voice of change to them and shift their mindsets from fixed to growth as it pertains to this subject. My nonprofit organization (D.O.V.E.S. Network ®) and I offer in-depth trauma-informed training that dives into this much more than an email or post could. So feel free to reply if you have questions and/or are interested.


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