Every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. Sexual violence has long been considered a hush hush topic of conversation.
Events like Take Back the Night provides survivors with a safe space to share their stories.
Val Bell has attended Take Back the Night for years and every time is just as hard as the last. “People come to events like this and hear the pain that survivors have experienced and that they share. People begin to empathize and understand more about what this is like.”
Despite how difficult it is to talk about- the topic is one that needs a voice now more than ever.
Riverview Center advocate Shelby Flynn works with sexual assault victims of all ages including college students. She feels strongly about the topic saying, “People literally cringe away from us because the R word is so hard to deal with.”
No matter the size of your college campus, compared to the general population women are 3 times more likely to experience sexual violence while men are 5 times more likely.
Flynn speaks critically of this issue. “Typically the students are kind of closed minded in terms of does this happen on our campus? Probably not because of the size right? Well obviously not.”
One of the hardest parts about sexual assault is believing it could happen to yourself or someone you know.
Both Val and Shelby agree the most important thing to remember is being accepting and understanding of victims by telling them three words that can go a very long way. “I believe you.”