Tuesday is Good News Day
Today I was having a hard time writing about good news related to the work of DVRC. With every mouse click I found stories about college sexual assaults, football players and MMA fighters battering their wives, and... Robin Williams died. Cruising the top stories at 5 am on my laptop screen, it seemed like a hard day to be optimistic. But with a few more minutes reflection, I was struck by one commonality- along with the bad news, the Internet provides links to support services, calls for increased awareness, and a collective voice to not allow tragedies to go unheeded.
Technology sometimes brings us information overload and compassion overload, but it's also a lifeline for people who feel alone, hopeless, and confused. And many reporters who are covering stories of tragedies are keenly aware that there are readers out there who are suffering too; through their writing they help us to understand the suffering, inspire us to reach out when we see someone in need, and challenge us to look past the bad news for solutions.
So if the bad news has you down, here's some of the positive takeaways from recent news stories:
The issue of sexual assault on college campuses is a hot topic now (and with good reason as students are preparing to head to school-- did you know the first 4 semesters on campus present the highest risk of rape for college women?) Despite valiant efforts to promote awareness that "no" means no, sexual assault continues. California lawmakers are proposing new legislation requiring colleges to adopt policies that require consent, whether verbal or through clear nonverbal indicators. So the focus of determining consent isn't on a demonstrating clear refusal (which can place the burden of proof on a sexual assault victim), but rather for both partners to clearly communicate and receive the OK to proceed.
Robin Williams death has evoked grieving across the country and across generations. He made us laugh, made us think, made us look deeper into ourselves, made us envision a better world... and did I mention made us laugh uproariously for decades! For the millions who have enjoyed his talents but never met him, his loss is still profound and personal because he struck a chord within us. And the voice that resonated enough to wake up Vietnam is now bringing attention to the seriousness of depression. (If you need help contact the Saratoga County Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center - 518- 689-4673 or Saratoga County Crisis Line - 518- 584-9030)
Our ever connected world exposes us to the trivial and the tragic, but I through it we can also be inspired to take responsibility for creating change and finding solutions.
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.