National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

The theme of this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 21-27, is a question that we can ask ourselves and others in our community in our country and indeed in our world today: “How would you help? Options, services, and hope for crime survivors.” 




In the past few decades, survivors sharing their stories has indeed helped not only other survivors but also assisted all the professionals and the services they provide. It has helped change laws ensuring victims' rights are upheld. As survivors of gender-based violence, we urge you to engage in the Mad River Valley community to support all survivors of crime. 

We need to support survivors in such a way that they can and will share their stories. The impact of survivors speaking is profound. For me, Sue, as a survivor of a violent crime that happened in the Mad River Valley in 1992, the first survivor story I read was Migael Scherer's book "Still Loved by the Sun -- A Rape Survivor's Journal copyright 1992. Coincidentally, this was the same year of my assault. This book helped me in countless ways. I gained insight that I was not alone, that this type of crime happened to others, and that they survived. Her story also weaved in having to navigate the criminal justice system in seeking justice. This too assisted me in raising my awareness and assisted in navigating the criminal justice system. 

I, Anna, know firsthand the impact of sharing my story. In the last five years of sharing my story, I have been able to train thousands of victim service professionals and community members and see the small, yet important changes that have come from this. Speaking up has led to better options and services for victims and survivors when reporting to law enforcement and advocates, in some instances better prosecution, and lastly, victims and survivors feel empowered to harness their voice or seek services. Additionally in writing my book, "Now I Speak: From Stalked to Standing Up," I have reached countless people and the ripple effect of sharing stories can lead to lasting change. 




In addition, the best way we can support victims and survivors when they share their stories is to start by believing. How we as a community react to and support survivors can directly change their path to healing. If someone discloses to you and is seeking additional services and options, the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce has a list of resources both locally and nationally that can support victims of crime. 

We ask that not just this week, but every day you choose to support and believe victims and survivors of crime.

Nasset lives in Waitsfield and Russell lives in New Zealand.