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Letter to the Editor: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year’s theme – “Embrace Your Voice” – could not be timelier. In recent months, survivor stories have flooded news and social media with campaigns such as #metoo or #timesup. Many survivors are embracing their voices in a public way, calling for offenders to be held accountable, encouraging bystander intervention and acknowledging how widespread this issue is. On average it takes individuals 10-20 years to disclose a sexual assault due to fear, confusion or self-blame. These movements and the publicity surrounding them are encouraging many survivors who have felt alone, afraid, or unsure of how to speak up to reach out for help no matter how much time has passed. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network noted a 21 percent increase in calls to their hotline as a result of the national conversation surrounding sexual violence. Our local statistics reflect that as well. In 2017 Rape Response experienced a 23 percent increase in the number of survivors served, and that number continues to grow.