Sexual assault is far more prevalent than people realize


One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives.

The Belmont County Commission proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness month, and welcomed officials from the Tri County Help Center to their meeting.

Tri County officials said Belmont County investigated 86 sex offenses last year alone.

And the center assisted 32 survivors in that period.

They say nationally, only one in ten victims ever reports the crime, and only one in 100 cases are successfully prosecuted.

So they want to get a message out to the public.

“The victim blaming needs to end,” said Michele Helms, program facilitator at Tri County. “And we need to support and empower women and men who are victims of sexual assault to come forward. And we need to let the public know that we need to start holding offenders accountable for their actions and their choices to sexually assault somebody. It’s never the victim’s fault.”

Tri County Help Center offers hospital advocacy, court advocacy, therapy, shelter and many other services.

They can be reached 24 hours a day at 1 (800) 695-1639.

They say the public needs to support survivors, and speak out against harmful actions and attitudes.

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