You Shouldn't Have To Be Lucky

I have heard a lot of my friends talk about being lucky over the years – 

  • I walked home from Five Points, but I was lucky because nothing happened between the bar and my apartment. 
  • I went to his house to watch a movie and I was lucky because his roommate came home and I was able to leave. 
  • My granddad was kind of creepy, but he died when I was ten so I never experienced what my cousins did. I was lucky.

And I’ve been lucky too. While working at a Christian summer church camp our staff enjoyed spending a 36-hour break between sessions cramming all kinds of fun into our very limited downtime. We passed the time drinking, eating good food, and doing laundry off site. We all slept on mattresses on the floor in a little house and bonded before sessions started again. On one of these 36-hour breaks, a fellow counselor tried to assault me. I was able to push him off and leave the house in the middle of the night to go back to camp. I found out the next morning that after I left, he did the same thing to two of my female co-workers.

But I was lucky. My fight or flight kicked in and I was able to get out of a scary situation on autopilot. I don’t remember deciding to leave. I only remember being in the car driving down the highway in the middle of the night lost and hoping to find the interstate.

This story isn’t uncommon. You can hear some version of it, and often a different outcome, from just about any woman in your life. 

We shouldn’t have to wait for our luck to run out to address sexual violence in our community. We have to face it head on now. What can you do?

  • Start the conversation. Make sure the young people in your life understand consent and healthy relationships. Scratch that – make sure ALL people in your life understand consent and healthy relationships. STSM can facilitate a discussion with your friends, book club, church group, or any gathering to help get the conversation started.
  • Support your loved ones in getting help. Being “lucky” is still traumatic, even if you weren’t assaulted. It’s not a competition to see who has the most horrible experience – any attempted assault or assault is horrifying. You deserve help and it’s available at STSM.
  • Get involved. Volunteer as an advocate, member of the speaker’s bureau, or advocate with your dollars by making a donation to support these life-changing services.  

Just please do something today. We can't build a healthy, safe, and vibrant community by relying on luck.

Mary Dell Hayes

Mary Dell Hayes rejoined the staff at STSM as Development Coordinator in 2013, Director of Development in January 2015, and Executive Director in February 2016. Her job is to help the community achieve the vision of healthy survivors thriving in a community free of sexual violence and engage people to end sexual violence through philanthropy and advocacy.