At Van Lare Hall at Alpena Community College, Hope Shores Alliance held a vigil in support of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. Guest speakers talked about the importance of sharing their stories, and why it’s important to believe, support, and validate.
“Thinking about how we can better support survivors, be advocates in our everyday lives, even outside of what we do at work as Hope Shores, what can you do as a community member to support survivors in your life,” said Outreach and Services Coordinator, Amanda Kucharek.
It’s difficult for survivors to share their stories, but for those who do, it’s a courageous thing to do in order for other survivors to feel like they’re not going through it alone.
“When we’re able to see how it really impacts people that you’re close to, it really changes things, because so often it’s something we don’t want to talk about, and so when we don’t talk about it, we don’t see it, and so the first thing that we can do is really see it, hold that space for survivors, and then believe, support, and validate their experiences,” said Kucharek.
In northeast Michigan, those in the criminal justice system are making efforts to support survivors.
“We would love to help them to be able to thrive in whatever way that looks like for them,” said Alpena County Prosecuting Attorney Cynthina Muszyinski. “Sometimes we try to do that through court cases, other times it’s through plea offers, or whatever the actual survivor is willing to help out with and able to, and like I said, we like to take our cues from them.”
Hope Shores is grateful to have a community that so strongly supports survivors.