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Breaking Stigmas And Trusting Instincts During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Breaking Stigmas And Trusting Instincts During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Someone is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Project AWAKEN Coordinator at Tennessee Tech Jac Ewasyshyn said the 18 to 24 year-old age range are impacted too often.

“Perpetrators may try to get someone purposefully intoxicated, so they can take advantage of them,” Ewasyshyn said. “Perpetrators may take advantage of the fact that folks might be socially experimenting or might be away from home for the first time.”

Ewasyshyn said during her experience 70 percent of the victims she worked with said that alcohol was involved in the assault. She said the idea of a predator hiding in the bushes is not the root cause of sexual assaults.

“Not a lot of people are perpetrators but those who are perpetrators, are repeat offenders.” Ewasyshyn said. “So it’s really important that we’re holding perpetrators accountable, that we’re supporting survivors and that all of us are trained to intervene if we see something that doesn’t seem right.”

Ewasyshyn said that following your instincts can prevent dangerous situations.

“I think one of the biggest things is trusting our own gut,” Ewasyshyn said. “So if you’ve got somebody that you’re friends with and you know, but they kind of have always made you feel uncomfortable, trusting that and honoring that feeling of discomfort and knowing that it’s okay to remove yourself from that situation if someone is making you feel uncomfortable.”

Ewasyshyn said breaking the stigma of reporting can be a difficult.

She said reporting is a personal decision that can bring back trauma. Ewasyshyn said a sexual assault case cannot move forward without a report, but often victims do not recognize assault because of society’s portrayal of assault.

“I cannot even tell you the number of survivors that I’ve worked with who didn’t recognize that what happened to them counted as sexual assault,” Ewasyshyn said. “Because they had been taught from media and growing up that sexual assault is a stranger who jumps out of the bushes who you don’t know. So if they knew what happened to them, if they knew what sexual assault actually looked like I think it would help them to stop blaming themselves and then I think we’d see increased reporting because survivors would be empowered and know that this was not their fault.”

According to The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Ewasyshyn said Project AWAKEN is a grant funded program through the Office of Violence Against Women.


The post Breaking Stigmas And Trusting Instincts During Sexual Assault Awareness Month appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.