Happy Friendiversary!

Becca Tieder, One Student Co-Founder

According to a friend of ours on facebook, this week is National Best Friends Week. While my internet fact checking came up with a different time of year to celebrate we decided to buck the system and get the Kelly and Becca BFF party started early. Renegades? Maybe. Or just two best friends who have stood by one another for the past 21 years and always open to a reason to bust out some cake.

Just yesterday the topic of our friendship was the basis of an interview with a fabulous peer educator from Northwestern. She interviewed us for an article she’s writing (appearing soon on the community wall). Her slant and insight are well beyond her years. Her focus was on the role we can all play as members of a survivor’s support system and she wanted our point of view on how we can all be better friends while respecting the disclosure process. We talked a lot about what an honor it is anytime someone trusts us enough to share that they have been sexually assaulted—a privilege Kelly nor I ever take lightly. I think it is important to remember that our friend is likely not disclosing to us because they expect us to have all the answers, but because they believe we will listen, that we will believe them and we will help them seek out support and resources. There is no one size fits all response, but showing up and keeping the focus on the survivor is a good place to start. It is ok not to know everything. It took us years to be this brilliant- kidding! We are all works in progress and knowing we can help to set a positive tone for someone’s recovery process is a beautiful gift.  If someone discloses to you- you have earned their trust and should feel honored. If you want a more matter of fact list of suggestions to refer to if a friend discloses to you, check out the One Student “How to Help a Friend” resource here.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this time of year we write a lot about healthy relationships because we feel understanding what that means helps clear up the misconceptions about sexual assault and clarifies how we can all be a part of the solution to address and eventually end sexual violence. But instead of talking about our intimate partners we wanted to revel in the idea that the love and respect we share for one another as BFF’s and sisters of the soul, that you and your friends share for one another is also deeply significant. So as we prepare for Valentine’s Day (a Hallmark scam sure but a scam with candy) Kelly and I won’t just be thinking about our lovers (sounds so much sassier than husbands or partners) who we are blessed to share our lives with. We will also think about and honor one another and give attention to the importance of nurturing all the most cherished relationships in our lives.

Who will you honor this Valentine’s Day?

I just started reading The Twisted Sisterhood by Kelly Valen. If Oprah hawks it we will buy it.  Valen examines female relationships, sharing the results of her unique survey of over three thousand women. She also shares her own painful experience with girlfriends and provides insight for a future of genuine caring and true sisterhood.  I just started the book, but I have to say it seems totally in line with the celebration of friendship, what this edition of our enews is all about. Have you read it? What do you think? What books do you think exemplify the power of friendship?

P.S. Thanks to our homegirl Becky for introducing us to the word friendiversary.

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