Passionate Innovator Shares what Healing Looks Like: Time, Safety, Relationships, Purpose, and Stability

Each month, RAINN highlights a member of its National Leadership Council. The NLC is a group of dedicated individuals who have shown their commitment to RAINN’s mission of supporting survivors and ending sexual violence.

Eman Barhoumeh a member of RAINN’s Thrive Together campaign council. She is the Head of Relevance at Meta AI. Eman is a passionate leader innovating AI-first delightful customer experiences.

Why are you passionate about ending sexual violence?

I grew up in an environment where society teaches girls and women to always watch their back and be wary of men. The fear behind this environment is real because sexual violence continues to remain a real issue. One year ago, I was in a conference where the speaker asked “How many of you know a woman who has been sexually harassed” - every hand in the room went up. He asked next, ”Have you ever been through sexual harassment?” - more than half of the women in the room raised their hands. Since this time, there continues to be rooms with these raised hands and I shall keep marching towards changing this. My daughter and every child deserves to grow up in a world where they feel safe all the time.

How can we all be better supporters and advocates for survivors in our lives?

I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to attend a training by the National Organization for Victim Assistance and they said that for anybody to heal from a trauma, what they need is: time + safety + relationships + purpose + stability. We all could model our support around ensuring that a survivor receives these five elements in a manner that is comfortable to them and helps them rebuild their confidence and courage.

What is your message to survivors?

You are incredibly brave and heroic for going through what you have, seeking help, and overcoming hurdles. We are here for all of you. You are not, and never will be, alone. You are our strength and motivation to help every single individual impacted by sexual violence. And you drive us to be there for every single person who has not come forward.

What have you learned as a member of the Thrive Together campaign council?

We need to do more and we need to do it soon. The issues that RAINN addresses are more prevalent than ever in our society. The statistics during the pandemic have been humbling. There were over 300,000 people who used RAINN’s services, but many who did not. RAINN’s hotline activity has increased a full 47% since 2017. These statistics highlight the urgency and relevance of a multi-pronged funding campaign that Thrive Together aimed to do. I am proud to have been a part of the effort that raised $10 million over 2 years for RAINN’s vital work.

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