We should respect a persons’s choice on when and how to speak out.
I learned this the hard way not only as a survivor, but also as a journalist. It took me years to realize I had to apply the same rules I use facilitating poetry workshops and teaching creative writing classes to interviews I conduct. When anyone discloses to me, especially around trauma, I ask how I can support them. I ask if I can continue to check in. I remind them that they don’t owe me anything—not even their story. That they owe only to themselves. The least I can do is honor their humanity. Make sure they’re okay. Still, I’m not perfect. I mess up and fail people—I know for a fact I have. And yet, as a first responder, I know I have a job.