Friday, July 13, 2012

Advocating for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

I am so tired and burnt out putting out fires. In the orthodox Jewish world we have a huge problem on our hands. Anyone can call themselves an advocate, yet very few of those in the orthodox world actually have any training, education or experience in really helping survivors. I believe they cause more harm then good. I'm so tired of putting out the fires created by those who are untrained. I'm completely exhausted watching survivors who have been re-victimized by those who don't know what they are doing, or who are in this just to get their names in the paper. Advocating for others is supposed to be done without ego. Advocating is about speaking for others who are unable too. It is NOT about getting your name in the paper, on TV, or doing the self-promoting thing.  

If you are a survivor and is looking for help, be sure to ask if the person who wants to advocate for you has gone through a 40 hour training created by organizations like ICASA (Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault).  If they have, the would have also been given a certificate.  Ask to see a copy before opening your life up to them.   

If they don't have the certificate, make sure they are getting supervision from someone who has it, AND is also a licensed mental health professional with a proven track record of working with survivors. 
 –– Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC

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