The majority of sexual assault occurs between the ages of 12-24. As sexual violence continues to be at the forefront of the national dialogue, more and more survivors are coming forward for the first time to tell their experiences and ask for help. Attorneys at the Victim Rights Law Center often hear from young survivors: "I was in middle school, and I didn't know there was a word for what was happening," and "he was my coach, and I was too scared to say no."
Resources for young survivors and those who care for them are critical, yet few exist. The VRLC and Surviving in Numbers are excited to launch a new resource bank and guide specifically for young survivors and their caretakers. These resources are intended for young people and their parents or guardians to help them identify and discuss incidents of sexual violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual harassment, and the potential legal remedies available to help stabilize their lives.
This guide helps young survivors and their caretakers understand:
- How to define their experiences
- What consent is and is not
- Whether or not to report, and how to report
- What their school can do to help them
- How to access crisis and counseling resources
We recognize that those who need these resources most are left out of the conversation. In creating these, we sought feedback from young survivors themselves, as well as experts.
Background: This year, the VRLC celebrates 15 years of representing sexual assault survivors - thousands of whom are under the age of 18. The VRLC is representing young survivors to help them stay on their educational trajectories, ensuring their privacy is protected, and securing their safety. Since 2013, Surviving in Numbers has provided a place for over 600 survivors to share their stories in a format aimed at changing the culture that allows sexual violence, and has trained over 3,000 teens on how to better support survivors, and how to prevent sexual violence.
Every survivor deserves justice. We are glad to provide these new resources for the youngest of survivors and their caretakers.
We encourage you to explore these resources and share them widely!