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Hello dear AS family, 

Thankfully, the conversation around sexual violence has begun to grow and change. Movements like #metoo have been at the forefront. Because of this, we feel it is important to discuss it. 

By all means, you are allowed to have your own feelings about the movement. We 100% support your decision to participate, abstain, support, or criticize. Like anything in life, #metoo has its own issues. We are aware that it is not perfect. We also want After Silence to be a safe place to have tough conversations. As is noted in the very name of this forum, we never want to silence anyone. We encourage free expression and discussion.

However, we have to speak up when it comes to the point that we begin to compare, and thus invalidate, other's experiences. After Silence will be a place where we offer unconditional support, acceptance, and validation. So, it is important that we do not compare trauma in the context that one is lesser than the other. While it is perfectly normal to have thoughts about one's experiences versus your own, it is never okay to deem someone's experiences, feelings, or trauma as less than yours. 

We choose to identify with people who are hurting. We are mostly all survivors here, and we gain support and understanding through shared experiences and feelings. These very things should unite rather than divide us. Remember that generally, we have no knowledge of the background, context, or history of any survivor. Even someone you know well may keep details and experiences private. Therefore, we need to be especially careful not to judge someone's reaction to trauma, level of suffering, or anything of that nature. For example, someone who has been raped is no more legitimate than someone who has been groped. Someone who is catcalled on the street may suffer every bit as much as someone who has been sexually assaulted.  Simply put, trauma is trauma is trauma.

The #metoo movement began by including EVERYONE who has suffered any type of sexual trauma, from harassment to rape. While Alyssa Milano did not begin the movement, which was started by Tarana Burke, she brought it more into the spotlight with those very words. Here at AS, we hold the same perspective. Anyone who is a survivor of ANY type of trauma is welcomed and supported here. AS does not gauge anyone's trauma nor do we decide who is qualified to use #metoo. That is an individual choice that belongs to a survivor alone. 

Survivor, you are valid. No matter what you have or have not experienced, YOU ARE VALID. Your pain, feelings, and your experiences are valid. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. 

AS Moderator Team

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