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Do you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, harassed, in person or online? What you do next matters.

Your compassion, empathy, and advocacy play a vital role in our journey towards healing, recovery, and justice. By standing alongside survivors, you offer not only a listening ear but also a source of strength and validation. Your belief in our experiences and your commitment to our well-being validates our courage. Your advocacy amplifies our voices, ensuring that we are heard and that our rights are respected. 

Stand with us, listen to us, and empower us. 

Allies play a critical role in ending gender-based violence.

An overwhelming number of individuals who experience gender based violence tell someone. Are you that person?  Your solidarity can be the difference between silence and strength, between fear and freedom. Your  reaction and words impact how we categorize what happened to us, it impacts our mental health and it impacts whether or not we take action. 

So, how will you show up?

VESTA is here to help you be the ally you want to be. Actively support survivors today, and together, we can break the cycle of violence and build a future of safety and equality for all.
Allies play a crucial role in supporting victims of gender-based violence in several ways:

1. Listen & Respect.

Sarah and Alex work together at Xlle Co. Sarah tells Alex that she’s uncomfortable around Chris, their supervisor. Chris has made some inappropriate comments and advances. She is unsure of how to handle the situation. Recognizing the importance of supporting Sarah, Alex steps in to offer support.


Action Steps:


Listening with Empathy:
Alex creates a safe and supportive environment for Sarah to share her experiences. He listens to Sarah. He validates her feelings and acknowledges the seriousness of the situation. Alex ensures that Sarah feels heard and understood without judgment.


Believing and Validating Sarah’s Experience:
Alex believes Sarah’s account of the sexual harassment without hesitation. He uses words like “this is unacceptable” and he emphasizes that she is not to blame for Chris’s behavior. Alex validates Sarah’s experience, affirming that her feelings and reactions are valid.


Respecting Sarah’s Choices and Agency:
Alex respects Sarah’s autonomy and agency in deciding how to proceed. Although Alex is angry and wants to confront Chris. Sarah asks him not to. Although that upsets him, he knows that reporting sexual harassment is a personal decision. He assures Sarah that he supports her no matter what choice she makes. Alex emphasizes that Sarah’s well-being and comfort are his top prioritizes.


Offering Emotional Support:
Alex provides ongoing emotional support to Sarah. He checks in every few days to see how she is coping with the situation. He offers her a listening ear, encouragement, and words of affirmation to boost Sarah’s confidence and resilience. Alex assures Sarah that she is not alone and that he is there to support her every step of the way.


Providing Information and Resources:
Alex looks up Xlle Co’s policies and procedures for reporting sexual harassment and shares them with Sarah. If she decides to report Chris’s behavior, he offers to accompany her to HR or management. He makes sure that she knows her rights and options for seeking support.


Thanks to Alex’s empathetic support, Sarah feels validated, empowered, and supported. Alex’s willingness to listen, believe, and respect Sarah’s choices has a profound impact on her well-being and confidence. With Alex’s support, Sarah feels empowered to take necessary steps to address the situation with Chris.

2. Check Your Bias.

Jyoti is talking with their friend, Emma. Emma tells Jyoti that someone shared private pictures of her online without her okay. Jyoti feels surprised and doesn’t know how to help. They know they need to be kind and listen well.
Action Steps:
1. Recognizing Initial Reactions/Jyoti notices how they feel:
When Emma tells Jyoti about the pictures, they’re surprised. They might want to ask Emma a lot of questions or not believe her. This is because people often blame people who this happens to, even if they don’t mean to.


2. Reflecting on own biases/Jyoti thinks about how they see things:
Jyoti takes a minute to think about what they believe. They know that some people might not think it’s a big deal. But Jyoti knows it’s very serious.


3. Listening and Validating Emma’s Experience/Jyoti listens and says Emma’s feelings are okay:
Jyoti listens to Emma. They don’t say anything that might make Emma feel bad. They say that They’re sorry and tell her it’s not her fault. They want Emma to know they care about her feelings.


4. Checking Assumptions and Offering Support/Jyoti doesn’t guess how Emma feels:
Jyoti doesn’t guess why this happened to Emma. They just want to help. They tell Emma they’re there for her and that she’s important.


5. Educating Themselves and Taking Action/Jyoti learns about what to do:
Jyoti learns more about what Emma is going through. They look for ways to help her. They learn about places Emma can get help. They tell Emma she should think about telling someone and they can help her if she wants.
Because Jyoti is kind and listens, Emma feels better. She knows Jyoti is there for her. This makes Emma feel stronger. Jyoti helps make things better for Emma. They know it’s important to help people who are hurt.

3. Believe & Support.

Taylor and Drew are on the same swim team. One day, Drew tells Taylor that their coach has been making inappropriate comments and gestures toward them during practice. They feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to do. They want to stay on the swim team and they have always liked their coach. Everyone tells them how lucky they are to have such a fantastic coach.
Action Steps:
Listening and Validating Drew’s Experience/Taylor listens and says Drew’s feelings are okay:
Taylor listens carefully to Drew without interrupting. He believes them and tells them that what happened is not okay. Tom reassures Drew that they did the right thing by speaking up and that he supports them.
Respecting Drew’s Choices and Agency/Taylor is encouraging:
Taylor encourages Drew to tell someone about the coach’s behavior. He offers to go with them to a teacher or the nurse or even their parents, if they are scared or unsure about what to do next.
Offering Emotional Support/Taylor lets Drew know that he is there for them:
Taylor continues to check in with Drew every few days to see how they’re doing and offers to help them, if they want. Taylor learns more about what Drew is going through. He looks for ways to help them. He learns about places Drew can get help.
By believing and supporting Drew, Taylor helps them feel less alone.

4. Respect Their Decisions.

Scenario: Kai’s friend Alex confides in them that they’ve been raped by someone in their Chemistry class. Alex is overwhelmed, confused, and unsure of what to do next.

Resisting the Urge to Give Advice:
Despite feeling the urge to offer immediate advice or solutions, Kai recognizes the importance of allowing Alex to make their own choices about how to proceed. Instead of jumping in with advice, Kai prioritizes active listening and support.

Listening and Offering Assurance:
Kai listens attentively to Alex’s account without interrupting, providing them with a safe space to express their feelings and experiences. Instead of offering solutions, Kai reassures Alex of their support and willingness to help in any way they need.

Expressing Availability for Support:
Recognizing that Alex may not be sure about the type of support they need at the moment, Kai proactively offers to help. Kai is caring and supportive, saying things like, “I care about you deeply, and I want you to know that I am here for you in any way you need.”

Respecting Their Agency:
Kai refrains from assuming what Alex needs or wants and avoids imposing their own ideas onto them. Instead, Kai lets Alex take the lead in deciding what steps to take next, empowering them to make decisions that feel right for them.

Open Communication and Support:
Throughout their interaction with Alex, Kai maintains open communication and provides unwavering support. They remind Alex that they are not alone in this and that they will stand by them every step of the way.

By respecting Alex’s autonomy, actively listening, and offering unconditional support, Kai shows their commitment to being a trusted ally and friend.

5. Be Ready With Support.

Shiloh receives a text message from their friend, Acacya, who shares that they’ve been getting some racist comments and inappropriate pictures from someone they met on a dating app. Shiloh responds with empathy, believing them and validating their feelings. They acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and express their support.
Listen Actively:
Shiloh listens actively to Acacya’s concerns without interruption, allowing them to express themselves. Shiloh uses phrases like “How often has this happened?” “That’s awful, that’s not okay.” Attentive listening creates a safe space for Acacya to open up about their experience.
Offer Emotional Support:
Shiloh shows empathy towards Acacya’s feelings, assuring them that their emotions are valid. Shiloh offers reassurance, letting them know that they’re not alone in this.
Respect Their Autonomy:
While offering guidance and support, Shiloh respects Jane’s autonomy and decisions. Shiloh doesn’t impose their own opinions or solutions, allowing Acacya to decide how they want to handle the situation.
Explore Options:
Shiloh offers to help Acacya explore their options for addressing the harassment. This could involve reporting the harasser to the dating app, blocking them, seeking support from authorities if the harassment escalates, or considering counseling if needed.
Follow Up:
Shiloh checks in on Acacya regularly to see how they’re coping and if they need anything. Shiloh reassures them that they ‘re always available to talk and help whenever they needs it.
By actively supporting Acacyain this way, Shiloh demonstrates their commitment to being an ally to their friend.
To report inappropriate comments, actions or behaviours on various apps, click on the links below:

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