As a sexual assault survivor, I know all too well the challenges we as LGBTQ people face accessing culturally competent services and care. When attempting to recover from something so painfully horrific, coming in contact with law enforcement, mental health services, or healthcare providers who are anti-LGBTQ or simply aren’t well versed in our community can frankly retraumatize you all over again. That is why over that last several years San Diego Pride, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, and the Center for Community Solutions have been working together to ensure our region’s service providers are better equipped to meet the needs our community’s survivors.
Simply treating survivors, like me, isn’t enough though. We as a community need to continue to find ways to address rape culture and prevent sexual violence; this means a broader network of individuals and industries working together to shift behaviors and narratives. Can we ensure our local bartenders and security staff know the warning signs of sexual violence? Do parents and teachers educate our youth on body autonomy and empower consent? How can friends and media outlets shift their language use away from victim blaming? When can our small business owners, their staff, and we as individuals be able to understand and safely execute bystander interventions?
These are just some of our thoughts and we want to hear yours. This coming Monday, San Diego Pride invites you to come to our building in North Park and network with folks across a multitude of industries to discuss how we all can be a part of helping to heal survivors and end sexual violence.