How can “Link Up With Us”


It is not easy to talk about harm a person may have experienced. Safe Horizon has been helping people heal from harmful experiences for over 40 years. The Link Up With Us program revolves around the experiences and needs of the person who has been harmed. Link Up With Us advocates understand how structural racism can impact the lives of people of color. Their work is rooted in anti-racism and anti-oppressive practices.

We help victims with the possible recovery of financial loss experienced due to the harmful event. Link Up With Us connects people to many other resources within Safe Horizon, or external assistance, if needed. Here are some of the ways Link Up With Us can provide support:

  • No judgments
  • Chat about is going on to better understand the person’s needs.
  • Decide together on what those needs are and list them by order of importance.
  • Form a plan together on what will make the person safer.
  • Form a plan together to help deal with difficult thoughts and emotions.
  • Link to other Safe Horizon programs for ongoing support.
  • Information about and referrals to assistance outside of Safe Horizon.

Mark Bamba, 22, Safe Horizon Client

Young men of color are among the most vulnerable to crime and violence, and yet they are starkly underrepresented in the victim services field. While nationally less than half of violent crime is reported to the police, and only 10% of victimized persons sought help from victim services providers in 2016, male victims of crime and violence were underserved even within this context, with only a small fraction accessing services.  Age is another important factor: just over 35% of persons aged 18-24 reported violence to the police, compared to nearly half of persons ages 35-49.

What is the impact of harm?

Those who experience abuse, violence, or harm may experience psychological trauma as a result. Psychological trauma is the unique experience of an event or an environment, in which the individual experiences a threat to life, body, or mental health and their ability to control their emotions. Examples of traumatic events could include:

  • community violence 
  • labor and sex trafficking
  • domestic violence
  • financial abuse
  • intimate partner violence
  • sexual assault
  • hate crimes
  • school violence or bullying

That said, it’s important to recognize that the experience of trauma is unique to each person. What is traumatic for one person may not be traumatic for another. Someone who has been harmed may become hypervigilant – constantly looking over their shoulders, on the alert for danger in the form of people, places or things. They may question their core beliefs about basic needs, such as doubting their safety, the safety of others, or doubting their ability to trust others. Young men or boys of color who have been harmed may exhibit mood changes. Adolescent boys and young adults who have experienced harm may find it difficult to identify their feelings; they may struggle to manage strong emotions and, instead, may respond with heightened anger, sadness, or fear. They may experience flashbacks – remembering aspects of the hurtful experience when they do not want to. Additionally, trauma reactions for adolescent boys of color will look somewhat different from the reactions of adult men of color.

What types of harm do boys and young men of color experience?

People may experience harm in different ways. Below is a list of harmful events that could impact young people.


School violence or bullying

These are harmful events that take place in the school environment. They can be verbal or physical. A lot of bullying also occurs through social media.

Community violence

People may be directly hurt by violence in their communities. You may have been jumped or beat up, robbed or had something taken from you by force or shot. You can also be hurt even if you have not experienced violence directly. Seeing violence in your home or in communities can make people feel unsafe or worried about what may happen to you.


Being manipulated or forced in any way to do something you do not want to do for someone else’s financial gain is trafficking. There are different ways that someone can be trafficked. Here are some examples:
• You can be forced to provide sex or perform sex acts for money or other things.
• An adult is forcing you to marry someone else.
• Someone threatened to hurt you if you do not carry drugs from one point to another.
The person who is doing the trafficking can “force you” by using threats against you or your loved ones, physically hurting you or loved ones, or lying to get you to do what they want.

Domestic Violence

This form of violence can occur in a dating or romantic relationship when one person uses violence, threats or other ways to control you. This can happen in same sex relationships or relationships with different gender identities. Domestic violence can also occur within your family. For example, a family member may be hurting others in the family to get their way.

Child Abuse or Neglect

Child abuse happens when someone that is suppose to care for a child hurts a child’s feelings or body. Child abuse can include being hit hard by a hand or other object that can leave a bruise or cut or cause pain. Child sexual abuse is sex acts, talking or sharing sexual photos or sex talk by an adult and someone under 18 or an old teen with a younger child. Neglect is when an adult does not take care of a child by not giving a child food, clothes, seeing a doctor or getting medical care, and other ways that children need to be cared for from an adult.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is always unwanted. It can be verbal or physical. It can be that someone says sexual things to you that you do not want to hear or showing you sexual pictures or movies that you do not want to see. It can be that someone touches you in places that you do not want to be touched. It can also be someone forcing you to do sexual acts.

Hate Crimes

People are sometimes harmed because of how they look or who they are. These are crimes that are based on a person’s skin color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Abdul Thompson, 28, Safe Horizon Client

Words from Users

I used the safe chat feature when I was in danger and now I feel safe after I talked with someone.

Abdul ThompsonBrooklyn, NY

Safe Horizon has helped me find purpose in life again and go towards a path of activism.

Mark BambaBrooklyn, NY

Learn more about the types of harmful events boys and young men of color may experience.