My Favorite Podcast of 2012: How to Help a Friend Who's Been Raped
Last week I released the Top 12 Flipswitch podcasts and articles of 2012--the most popular items of the year. This week I toyed with the idea of sharing my thoughts on my most favorite Flipswitch podcast of 2012, which is 5 Things NOT to Say + 5 Things TO SAY to a Person Who's Been Raped or Sexually Assaulted. (This podcast was the fifth most popular Flipswitch item of 2012.) The overwhelming support I got from survivors of rape who wrote in to tell me how this podcast touched them is something I will never forget. Re-releasing this podcast is also timely in light of the stories in the media this week, surrounding the gang rapes in India and Steubenville, Ohio which highlight two things 1) rape culture is a problem that affects everyone everywhere and 2) through social media, you and I have great power to change the world!
When I put together the podcast, I was motivated by the women in my life who have been victims of rape--some of them were abused by a family friend as children while others were assaulted by acquaintances they thought were friends. The fact that I know a handful of women in my life who have been attacked highlights just how common this problem is--1 in 4 women in the US will have been raped or sexually abused in her lifetime; 1 in 6 men will also be victims. In most of these instances, the women I know have rebuilt their lives and are now happily married wives and mothers. In one case, however, a friend's rape and her family's extremely negative reaction, destroyed her. Depression and PTSD are common byproducts of rape, making this problem both a physical and mental health issue. Witnessing this injustice is what moved me when I recorded the podcast. I am thankful to the women who wrote in about the podcast--here is a sample of people's responses:
--Listener 1, "I cried when I heard this podcast because all of the things you're supposed to say to someone who's been raped--nobody ever told me those things I needed to hear."
--Listener 2, "All the things you're not supposed to say--what were you wearing?, etc--those are the things my parents told me after I had been raped. This podcast touched me..."
You and I Can Change the World
By now, you may have heard about a 23-year old woman who was gang-raped in India. She and her male companion were attacked by a gang while riding a bus in New Delhi. The six attackers assaulted the couple, robbed them of their belongings, and dumped their badly beaten bodies along the side of the road. A few days after the brutal rape, the young woman died in a hospital in Singapore, where her body was airlifted because of the severity of her injuries. (Her male companion survived and was released from the hospital.) But ever since her death, there have been protests all over India--people demanding justice for the victim--people who want an end to rape culture. Over here in the US, you may have heard about the events in the town of Steubenville, Ohio–home to 18,000 people. A 16-year old girl was drugged with "Roofies" (the rape drug) and raped multiple times on August 11 and 12, 2012 during and after a party. Dozens of jokes and pictures of the girl naked and unconscious (taken on at least a dozen partygoers' phone and iPads) were shared on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. Despite all of this, Steubenville's police department had taken almost no action until last month when a group of crafty computer hackers called Anonymous started releasing damaging information about the young men involved in the rape that includes videos of them telling graphic jokes about the rape. Because of Anonymous' determination and skilled use of social media, this injustice in Ohio is finally getting the attention it deserves. Two young men have been charged with rape and will apear in court next month. With more information imminent, there is speculation that other parties may also be charged. (Picture found at meganeking.wordpress.com)
Share Knowledge, Ask Questions
Illustrating our power in the social media era, I'd like to share one of my favorite exchanges on Facebook regarding the aforementioned podcast:
--K,"As a non-survivor, is it okay if I sometimes say 'I'm sorry' to survivors? Or is that condescending? Sometimes I don't know what to say. I want to help and understand but having never been 'there.' I always want to make sure that I am kind and gentle without smothering..."
--A, "There's no one answer we receive depending on the stage where in...The fact is that nothing in life prepares you for this situation until you've experienced it & the best thing you can do is allow them to tell you what they need to..."
Similar Podcasts; Depression & Bipolar
Other podcasts that have received similar praise include:
5 Things NOT to say + 5 Things TO SAY to a Depressed Person (most popular Flipswitch podcast to date)
I look forward to 2013, which brings another year of Flipswitch! On that note, I have some good news: Flipswitch just got nominated in the WEGO Health Activist Awards--category: 2012 Best in Show Blog. I couldn't have done it without you and all the support you've given me since I took over as host in April 2011. Since then, the number of Flipswitch listeners/readers has increased by 397%. Thank you for listening, reading, and sharing Flipswitch podcast and blog. Have a wonderful year!
--Author and host, Jessica Lynn Gimeno