WYR: Defining the vision

It’s now been almost a week since I launched the WYR Project, and what a week it has been. I’ve continued to receive an outpouring of support from all over the world and from those closest to me. I knew when I started this that sexual violence affected many more people than we probably realize, but I could not have imagined the magnitude. The overwhelming majority of people I’ve spoken with are either survivors themselves or are very close to someone who is. The project is getting traction, too…I’m thrilled to report that as of this post (just 6 days after launching) I have over 2100 page views on whenyoureready.org, 126 Likes on Facebook, and 65 Followers on Twitter! This is even more evidence that now is the right time.

A week ago I realized that I needed to do something, to take action in support of the others who were suffering in silence. This was all I could think of, and I didn’t really know where it would go. I thought maybe I wanted to be a source of direct emotional support to other survivors, to do outreach and education for young women…but have quickly learned that’s not what I’m best suited to do. I am still committed to being here for anyone with a story to share, but there are so many stories that I can hardly keep up. I’m not giving up on that aspect, I’m just admitting that I can’t do it alone. There are so many wonderful organizations out there with people far more qualified than I am to give survivors the support they need.

I reached out to a number of women who inspired me and across the board they responded positively, they wanted to help and asked me, “what do you need from me?” Great, right? I felt a little silly for not thinking of that first! I’ve spent the past week thinking about that question, and the question, “what are you trying to do?”

I spoke to one friend who is an expert in Public Relations, she gave me ideas for how to raise awareness and build a social media brand. I spoke to another friend who is an executive director for a not for profit organization, about what it’s like to work in the field and about his decision to leave the corporate world for a job that pays much less but is immensely rewarding. I spoke to a therapist, and she thought it best that I set some boundaries and focus on taking care of myself before making myself available to anyone and everyone. I even spoke to my boss, who is supportive and willing to give me the flexibility to balance this with my career. Through these conversations and a lot of reflection, I have discovered the answer to the questions: “what are you trying to do?” and “what do you need from me?”

Today I wrote the vision for the When You’re Ready Project, and having set a direction feels like a giant accomplishment. I’ve figured out how I can make a difference in a way that I’m uniquely positioned to do.

All week I kept hearing the same thing over and over: what you’re doing is amazing, but be sure to take care of yourself. Sure, sure, I will, don’t worry, I’m fine. But in reality I’ve failed to do so. I’m exhausted, I am not sleeping enough because my mind is constantly racing with ideas. Having defined the Project goals and a strategic direction, I feel like I can really focus now. And sleep…

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Lauren Reid is the founder of When You're Ready.org, a three time survivor of rape who built this community to let other survivors of sexual violence know that they're not alone. When you're ready, I'll be here.



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