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Welcome to Engage by Uplift! This video series tackles the difficult issues surrounding sexual abuse that the YouTube and online communities face. We're starting real talk for real change.

Each week, our host Kat Lazo discusses abuse and how it manifests in virtual spaces. Watch and collaborate with us through weekly calls to action, and join in with some of your favorite YouTubers as they consider the issues in round table discussions.

We're so excited to get started! Let us know what you're hoping to get out of this series in the comments.

THIS WEEK'S CALL TO ACTION! - Tell us about your self care routine. Do you bake cookies? Knit? Go running? No answer is wrong. Share your way to take care of yourself using #EngageUplift. We may feature it!

Resource: Get help online through RAINN:
Resource: National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4653) to find an ER in your area that has SANEs.
Resource: Laws state-by-state -
Resource: International Sexual Assault resources -
Resource: Reporting -

Real talk for Real Change. #EngageUplift
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Follow Uplift- Online Communities Against Sexual Violence:

Produced by Kelly Kend:
Hey, loves! I'm Kat, your host, and welcome to your very first episode Uplift, a video series aimed at having real talk for real change when it comes to sexual abuse. Being that this is our first episode, I figured that we should cover something very crucial: how to get help in three different areas -- Physical, emotional, and legal.

The specific medical care that you'll need will depend on the nature of the assault, but even if you don't have any immediate signs a physical harm, seeing a medical professional right away may be really helpful. Many emergency rooms have Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, also known as SANE's. SANE's are specifically trained in medical forensics, emotional and physical aid, and they work very close with law enforcement and sexual violence advocates. SANE's will be particularly helpful if your sexual assault was a rape and you decide to have a rape kit done.

A rape kit, or a forensic exam, is a thorough medical examination and a collection up evidence in case you do choose to press charges. Remember, you do not have to press charges if you get a rape kit, and it's illegal for anyone to make you pay to to get a rape kit.

Depending on the nature of the assault you may also want to take emergency contraception. This would have to be taken no later than one day after your assault, so if you decide not to go to the hospital you can still get emergency contraception at your local pharmacy. But know you have to be at least 18 in order to purchase and you do have to get it straight from the pharmacist.

The emotional toll that sexual assault can take is enormous. Some people experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Others develop depression or anxiety, and many people don't feel the same emotionally or have difficulty with intimacy or discussing anything related to sexual assault. No matter what you're experiencing, you can get help, and remember that an assault is never your fault. No one deserves to have control on their body taken from them, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

The effects of sexual assault don't just fade away with time alone, but know that there are other people out there ready to listen. So if you decide not to open up to a family member or friend, or if you did and that has backfired, there are other options you can anonymously reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a local hotline in your area, or use anonymous online chat due to RAINN. RAINN also has a database that you can search to find a counseling center in your area.

If you're a student, you can go speak to the counseling center at your school. Just be aware that your information may not be confidential if you choose to go down that route, and definitely won't be if you're still in high school. Ultimately, if you decide to open up to someone, it's best if it's someone that you trust, whether it's a friend, a family member, or a trained professional.

For this week's call to action, we wanted to come up with some ideas of what makes you feel good and relaxed. What are some ways that you take care of yourself. This video series tackles some very serious subject matters, and can be really difficult to consume or make for those of us who are survivors of sexual assault, so it's very important for us to practice self care.

What are some things that you do to feel safe and warm and powerful and loved? These can range from doing sports, crocheting, or baking cookies! There are no wrong answers. Share with us some of your self care routines or tips using the hashtag #engageuplift or just leave a comment down below! We'll feature some of your suggestions in Uplift's social media, so make sure to follow us and I'll be mentioning some them in a future video.

Now lastly but not least, legal help. if you decide to take legal action against your attacker there are a few key things that you should keep in mind. First, remember that timing is really important when it comes to reporting an assault. At minimum, there is statutes of limitations which vary from state to state. We've got a link down below in the description box to help you find laws that are specific to your state, so if you've got questions, make sure to check that out.

Additionally, because physical evidence is sometimes crucial to proving sexual assault, timeliness and getting a forensic exam is also important. If you went to the hospital after your assault, this exam is part of your rape kit. If you didn't get a rape kit done, it's important to note that you should still press charges without a forensic exam. You should expect privacy when talking to law enforcement.

RAINN also emphasizes that this could take a while. From the initial interview to the process of investigating. Unfortunately you can expect to answer some really uncomfortable questions during this process. So remember that it's okay to take a break and do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself during this process.

You can also have a sexual assault advocate with you throughout the entire process. The National Sexual Assault Hotline can help you find the right person. You don't have to do it alone. And of course, if you feel like you're not being taken seriously, you have all the right to go up the chain. RAINN has a helpful breakdown of how the entire process works. If you're interested its in the description box down below. And if reporting makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable we'll be covering the pros and cons to reporting in a future video.

Alright, our first episode of Uplift has come to an end. Don't forget to share your self care process, suggestions, or tips on social media using the hashtag #engageuplift And while you're on social media why not follow us for some helpful inspiration and resources. You can learn more about Uplift in the description box down below along with all the resources that we spoke about today. But before we say goodbye, make sure to give this video a thumbs up if you found it resourceful and make sure to subscribe! I'll see you next week.