April 3, 2013

I defy anyone not to be brought to tears by Christa Parravani’s account of the aftermath of her twin sister Cara’s rape and death [“My twin was raped. It almost killed me,” Outlook, March 31]. Those of us who have not been touched by violent crime in this way must extend our gratitude to those who share such stories, so that we may all be moved to strive for a more peaceful world. We must raise our children better. We must elevate the regard our society has for women and girls. We must get help to those who grow up in violent homes so that they don’t perpetuate the cycle. We must intervene early to stop sexual predators. I could go on.

We also must provide the highest-quality support and comfort we can to the survivors of violence and to their loved ones. I have been a volunteer for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network’s online hotline for more than three years, and what has struck me most about the experience is how hungry survivors are for someone to believe them and to tell them that they are worthy human beings, and how hungry their loved ones are to learn how best to support and care for them. They all need someone to acknowledge their pain, validate their feelings and let them know that help is out there.

Thankful Vanderstar, Rockville