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January 8, 2018

The 2018 Golden Globes struck a different tone this year, exchanging fashion commentary for fundamental conversations: What does #MeToo mean for ordinary people, not just Hollywood stars? What effects can trauma have on survivors’ ability to come forward? What can we do to change this toxic culture?

Last night was full of inspiring calls to action, statements of solidarity, and critical calling-out of unacceptable behavior. Here the ones we find most powerful:

Viola Davis

Viola Davis 2018 Golden Globes #MeToo #TimesUp

Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke 2018 Golden Globes #MeToo #TimesUp

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman 2018 Golden Globes #MeToo #TimesUp

Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria 2018 Golden Globes #MeToo #TimesUp

Laura Dern

Laura Dern 2018 Golden Globes #MeToo #TimesUp

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey 2018 Golden Globes #MeToo #TimesUp

We were thrilled to see Hollywood figures call out injustice not only in their own field, but in many others. We know that this issue is not specific to any industry, nation, or type of individual; it can happen to anyone, anywhere. The problem is not new, but the public spotlight, media coverage, and collective social and political commitment are.

We hope that these new opportunities will allow the conversation to continue and the movement to grow to include more survivors who are marginalized and silenced in ways that are extremely complex and challenging to overcome. We applaud and join everyone saying #MeToo and #TimesUp in the mission to establish a more safe, equitable, and just culture for everyone.

If you have experienced sexual assault, abuse, or harassment and are looking for resources for recovery, we’re here to help.

  • Our 24-hour sexual assault hotline operates seven days a week, 365 days a year. Advocates are standing by right now to help you. 212-227-3000
  • Our centrally-located Community Programs work to provide ongoing support to survivors of all violence and abuse. To access one of our Community Program locations, call our centralized Citywide Helpline, available during normal business hours (Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.), 855-234-1042.

'The View' Co-Host Sunny Hostin Joins Cause for Law Protecting Sex-Abuse Victims

NY Daily News
By Kenneth Lovett
January 8, 2018

Excerpt Below:

ALBANY — A co-host of “The View” has joined the fight for passage of a bill to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults.

Sunny Hostin, who’s also a former federal prosecutor, in a statement to the Daily News urged Gov. Cuomo to make the Child Victims Act a legislative priority this year.

In addition to her roles on “The View” and as a legal correspondent for ABC News, Hostin serves as a board member for Safe Horizon, a victims assistance organization that has been a leading advocate for enacting the Child Victims Act.

She said she prosecuted many crimes against women and children when she was an assistant U.S. attorney.

I know just how difficult it can be for survivors of sexual abuse to come forward,” Hostin said. “They may fear not being believed, may be dealing with the effects of trauma, or their abuser may have threatened them if they tell anyone.

Hostin is the latest national figure to weigh in on the act. In December, television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz urged his viewers to contact state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) to urge that he allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote. A day later, actor Corey Feldman, who says he was sexually abused as a child actor, also joined the chorus calling for the bill’s adoption.

The Assembly has passed a version of the Child Victims Act several times, including in 2017, which was the first time since 2008. But the bill has died in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The bill the Assembly passed last year, which Cuomo supported, allowed survivors to bring civil cases up until their 50th birthdays and felony criminal cases until their 28th birthdays. Currently, they have until their 23rd birthdays to bring such cases.

The bill also included a one-year window to revive old cases and treated public and private institutions the same. Currently, those abused in a public setting like a school have just 90 days from the incident occurring to formally file an intent to sue.

Read the original article here.

Readers Sound Off on Murdered Teens

NY Daily News
January 7, 2018

Manhattan: Thank you for capturing the humanity of young men of color in your Jan. 3 article, “Pattern of tragedy.” So often black and Latino men either are just seen as perpetrators of crime, or are even blamed for their own deaths. Society fails to understand the impact of violence on boys and young men of color. Their pain and hurt is often overlooked, devalued and unaddressed.

This dangerous narrative can prevent young men of color from reaching out for help, or even being offered the support they need. Safe Horizon, the largest victim services agency in the country, where I am chief program officer, offers experts who support survivors of violence. We know that immediate, skilled intervention can greatly reduce the long-term effects of traumatic events. The reality is that, although more likely than other groups to experience violence, boys and young men of color rarely receive this kind of support.

It’s time to change the narrative. Boys and young men of color can be harmed by violence and they deserve support.

– Lisa A. O’Connor

Read the original article here.

Gov. Cuomo Outlines New Federal, Economic Challenges Facing New York in State of the State Address

NY Daily News
By Glenn Blain and Kenneth Lovett
January 4, 2018

Excerpt Below:

Gov. Cuomo unleashed an arsenal of political weapons Wednesday, as he repeated his warning that New York is under attack from a federal government bent on bleeding blue states to bolster red ones.

In his reelection-year State of the State address, Cuomo ripped President Trump and the Republicans who control Congress for a tax overhaul he said will hurt New York’s economy and for potential federal funding cuts that could add $2 billion to the state’s projected $4.4 billion deficit.

These are challenging times, but we have to rise to the challenge for the survival of our state,” Cuomo said.

Advocates for a bill to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice were upset Cuomo made no mention of the issue during his long speech.

He did, however, include a call for passage of the Child Victims Act in a policy agenda book he released shortly before the speech.

In the #MeToo moment, it’s especially disappointing to see the governor fail to mention child victims of sexual abuse in his State of the State address, even as he correctly prioritizes the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace,” survivor Bridie Farrell and Michael Polenberg, of Safe Horizon, said in a joint statement.

Survivor Gary Greenberg was upset not only that Cuomo didn’t mention the issue in the speech, but also that Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who has been a leading opponent of the Child Victims Act, gave the benediction when the state Senate opened the legislative session an hour before the speech. The Senate has never taken up the bill for a vote.

It’s a nightmare,” Greenberg said

Read the original article here.

Advocates Urge Cuomo to Push Harder for Child Victims Act

By Molly Crane Newman
and Kenneth Lovett
January 2, 2018

Excerpt Below:

Advocates for child sex abuse victims in New York City and Albany Tuesday made a last-minute plea to Gov. Cuomo to prioritize passage of a bill to help victims seek justice as adults.

The two sets of advocates in separate news conferences called on Cuomo to include the Child Victims Act in his State of the State address set to be delivered Wednesday afternoon and in his upcoming 2018-19 state budget proposal.

Gov. Cuomo, we are looking to you for your leadership to move this forward,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said at an event in front of the Fearless Girl statue in the Financial District with other elected officials, sex abuse survivors and religious leaders.

I believe this year, thanks to the work that’s been done by all the people around me and behind me, that this is the year it will happen,” Vance said.

Up in Albany, a different group of advocates led by investor Gary Greenberg, who was sexually abused as a kid in the mid-1960s, said Cuomo this year must do more than just say he backs the bill.

For the last seven years, this governor has not been able to, even though we believe he has the influence and the power as governor, to get a bill passed through the Legislature that would provide justice and give healing to victims. He has not done that.” Greenberg said.

The governor needs to send a message (Wednesday) to the Senate that he wants the Child Victims Act passed … and he wants to be able to sign a law that will finally give justice to victims and take predators off the street.

The Child Victims Act would extend the timeframe a victim has to bring a civil or criminal case against his or her abuser.

The State Assembly has passed a version of the bill several times over the past 12 years, including in 2017, but it failed to get past the Republican-controlled Senate.

The bill passed last year, which was supported by Cuomo, would allow survivors to bring civil cases up until their 50th birthdays and felony criminal cases until their 28th birthdays.

Read the original article here.

Cy Vance Joins Fight For Child Victims Act

NY Daily News
By Kenneth Lovett
January 2, 2018

ALBANY — Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is joining the fight to enact a long-sought after bill to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice.

Vance will join a group of survivors and other advocates in front of the Fearless Girl statue in Manhattan on Tuesday to call on Gov. Cuomo to include the bill to extend the timeframe that a victim has to bring a civil or criminal case in his proposed state budget. It’s due to be unveiled later in the month.

This bill reflects what we know about child sexual assault today: it can take a long time for someone to be ready to report it to law enforcement, and this delay is common, it is understandable, and it should not bar a survivor from seeking justice,” Vance said.

The DA, who credited Cuomo for supporting the Child Victims Act in previous years, said the bill would “enable our prosecutors to hold more abusers accountable, and get justice for more survivors.”

While the state District Attorney’s Association last year supported only the part of the bill dealing specifically with extending the criminal statute of limitation on child sex abuse crimes, Vance “will join advocates in asking for the entire bill to be included in the 2018 proposed budget,” his spokeswoman said.

With the state new legislative session set to begin on Wednesday, survivor Bridie Farrell, Michael Polenberg, of Safe Horizon, and bill sponsors Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and Sen. Brad Hoylman, both Manhattan Democrats, hope the current spotlight on sexual assault resulting from the #MeToo movement will help the bill’s chance of passage after a dozen unsuccessful years.

Read the original article here.

LGBT Leaders Say Sex Allegation Coverage ‘An Advance’

Associated Press
By David Crary
December 30, 2017

Excerpt Below:

Among the dozens of prominent Americans entangled in sexual-misconduct cases this year are a modest number of men whose accusers are male. For some LGBT civic leaders, dismay over these cases is mixed with relief and even a trace of pride at how they were addressed.

The relief reflects a general sense that media coverage of these cases — notably those involving actor Kevin Spacey, Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine and former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray — has been mostly fair and responsible, focused on the alleged misconduct rather than on sexual orientation.

Brian Pacheco, a gay New Yorker, works with many sexually abused LGBT youth in his job as public relations director for Safe Horizon.

Amid the disclosures about Ed Murray, Pacheco wrote in The Advocate, an LGBT news outlet, “We have to accept that sometimes our heroes can also be abusers.

Elaborating in a recent phone interview, Pacheco said, “Sexual abuse exists in all communities, including the LGBT community. When it does occur we need to stand with the survivors.

Read the original article here.

5 Ways to Support Someone You Love Who Has Experienced a Traumatic Event

December 26, 2017

The holidays can bring up all kinds of emotions. If someone close to you shares with you that they have had an experience of abuse or violence, it can be shocking, and often it’s difficult to know what to say. If it happens, here are some ways you can help:

1. Listen compassionately and without judgment, even when you disagree or don’t understand

Know that trauma— both the experience itself and how its impact stays with us— can be challenging to communicate clearly to others.  Be patient.

2. Let them guide the conversation

Try not to interrupt, even though you may be feeling anxious to take action. Asking yes or no questions might force them into an area they don’t want to discuss. Instead, ask open-ended questions and let them decide how they want to answer.

3. Don’t make assumptions about how they feel or what their needs are

You can offer options, but avoid telling them what they “should” do, even with good intentions. Instead, ask how you can be helpful.

4. Remember that healing is a complex process

Their experience may be affecting them in ways that might not make sense to you, but are very clear to them. The effects of trauma are both mental and physical, and they are far more complex to overcome than, “Try not to think about it,” or “Just let it go,” even if it occurred a long time ago.

5. Check in with them later, and keep in mind that they may not feel like talking at the time

It’s important to let them know that you care, but not to go so far as to make them feel fussed over, or like they are a problem that needs to be managed.

Share these tips by clicking the graphic below:

5 Ways to Support Someone You Love Who Has Experienced a Traumatic Event

Please know that you and your loved one are not alone. If you need to talk, we’re here to listen.

Safe Horizon’s Hotlines operate 24 hours a day, including on holidays. Your call is confidential. Whether you’re in crisis or you’re unsure if your experience constitutes abuse, violence, or crime, we’re here to help. Call 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) to speak with an advocate today or visit our Hotlines page for more information.

Here’s How the Tax Bill Could Negatively Affect Crime Victims

December 20, 2017

Over the last two days, Congress voted to pass sweeping tax reform legislation which the Congressional Budget Office estimates could increase the federal deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. In order to help pay for the tax plan, Congressional leaders are paving the way to make deep cuts to a wide range of services and programs.

Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang says, “To everyone who responded to our action alert and urged your member of Congress to vote ‘No’ on this proposal, thank you. While the end result is disappointing, we remain grateful to our many supporters who stood up for our communities, and especially for children and adults harmed by violence. Sadly, the situation could become more dire for victims of violence and abuse and the organizations that support them.

In order to offset the projected loss of federal revenue from these tax cuts, Congressional leaders are already talking about aggressively pursuing so-called “entitlement reform.” This will erode important sources of support for victims of violence and abuse and the organizations that assist them. We anticipate that Congressional leaders will propose deep cuts to Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and the Community Development Block Grant, all of which support core programs and services at Safe Horizon and many other victim service providers around the country.

Zwang continued: “Safe Horizon will be vigorously advocating with federal lawmakers to preserve funding streams that support shelters for domestic violence victims fleeing abuse, 24-hour hotlines that connect victims of crime with crisis programs, legal assistance and shelters, and trauma-informed mental health counseling for victims and witnesses.

We can’t allow our leaders to potentially cut resources for victims of violence and abuse. Will you join us in standing with survivors by making a tax-deductible donation now?

Together, let’s raise our voices ‎on behalf of crime victims, their families, and communities.

Im Nervous That You Won’t Believe Me_How To Prepare For A Difficult Conversation

December 20, 2017

Many of us have experienced abuse or violence at some point in our lives. These experiences can cause lasting trauma reactions. Traumatic experiences are those that overwhelm a person’s regular capacity to cope and process the situation. Trauma reactions can leave you feeling, thinking, or reacting in ways that feel out of your control.

Having the support of family and friends is helpful in the healing process. Trauma is painful to deal with alone, but sometimes it’s even more painful to imagine discussing it with your loved ones.

Trauma recovery is different for everyone, and you are the expert in your own situation. It’s entirely up to you to decide when and how to share your story. If you’re ready to tell someone you love that something’s happened to you, here are 5 tips that may be helpful:

1. Think about what you need from the person you’re telling, and let them know

This might look like, “I’m not really ready to problem-solve right now, I just need someone to listen,” “I’m nervous that you won’t believe me, and I need you to keep an open mind” or “I don’t want to upset you, and I hope we can talk about this calmly even though it’s hard.”

2. Collect your thoughts

Sharing your story is very personal, and emotions can make it challenging to communicate the way you want to. If there’s someone you trust who is aware of your experience, consider asking them if you can practice what you will say with them. You can also try making notes to frame what you want to say.

3. Be intentional in choosing how, when, where, and if you tell someone

You can pick a time and place where you feel safe, mentally and physically, to have the conversation. You can choose to change your mind, if it just doesn’t feel right.

4. Make an exit plan

If the conversation isn’t unfolding in the way you hoped, or is overwhelming, it’s okay to leave or change the subject. Remember that you deserve to be believed and you deserve support, even if the person you’re telling doesn’t offer that right away.

5. Allow yourself some time to do whatever is reassuring for you when the conversation is over

This can be having a friend standing by waiting to meet up and talk with you, or planning to go straight home where you can be alone. The unknown can be overwhelming, and having something safe and comfortable to look forward to can be helpful.

Note: The way someone reacts is beyond your control. The purpose of these tools is not to guarantee the reaction you’re hoping for, but to help you be as prepared and empowered as possible.

Share these tips by clicking the graphic below:

Please know that you are not alone. If you need to talk, we’re here to listen.

Safe Horizon’s Hotlines operate 24 hours a day, including on holidays. Your call is confidential. Whether you’re in crisis or you’re unsure if your experience constitutes abuse, violence, or crime, we’re here to help. Call 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) to speak with an advocate today or visit our Hotlines page for more information.