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'Don't judge, don't tell them what to do': Helping survivors of abuse

Posted at 10:10 PM, Apr 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-06 08:04:32-04

BALTIMORE — Being a family member, friend or just knowing someone who is a victim of sexual abuse, the recently released Attorney General’s report can be unnerving. And it can be hard for survivors to even know what to do when they are triggered.

For someone who has been through any sort of sexual abuse, Wednesday’s release of the report can bring back a lot of complicated feelings that are hard to deal with.

RELATED: 'Day of reckoning': Report uncovers decades of sexual abuse within Archdiocese of Baltimore

Being exposed to the headlines and nonstop social media can be triggering for anyone that's been a victim.

"It's very important to remember that each person has their own individual reaction so however you are reacting, however you are feeling that ok, there's no judgment,” said Lisae Jordan, Executive Director for the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

This is an organization that is a statewide voice for local programs to end sexual violence in Maryland.

She says the trauma can be overwhelming, "You may feel cold, you may feel upset, you may feel angry, you may feel sad, you may feel devastated. The most important thing is to do is to reach out and to ask others for help.”

But sometimes the survivor may not even realize the reaction is occurring.

"I would ask that they really pay attention to their body and their emotions and their feeling because sometimes people can be triggered and everyone around them knows it but they don't,” said Stacey Brown, Director of Programs and Research at The Family Tree, an organization that works to prevent child abuse and neglect in Maryland.

She says it's times like now, when triggering situations really come to light that it's important to seek the appropriate support.

"Be it counseling, conversation with friends, be it with a support group, but to make sure that in these times when these high publicized cases in the AG report come out that they really take care of themselves in that moment,” Brown added.

Sometimes a friend or family member, may not fully understand what the victim is going through.

Jordan says the most important thing someone on the outside can do is listen. "Don't judge, don't tell them what to do, be supportive and understand that this happened, it's real and most all believe them.”

There are a number of resources available right here in Baltimore to those who are survivors of sexual abuse or who need help. Click any of these links below: