BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) — Last week, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles was among others who took the stand in detailing her abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar. She said the blame goes deeper, pointing that the FBI failed to stop Nassar sooner.
It opened a can of questions surrounding trust in those designed to help, and after hearing Biles’ testimony, survivors of sexual assault might feel even more helpless.
Sex-violence is already the least reported violent crime in Ohio, with the Tri-County Help Center seeing that only about 23 percent of survivors are disclosing.
This Center; which covers Belmont, Harrison, and Monroe counties, serves about 50 sexual assault survivors a month between counseling, hospital accompaniment, legal advocacy, and shelter.
When sexual assault happens, you are advised to get to the hospital within 96-hours and put it on law enforcement’s radar.
Regarding the FBI’s role in the case, the Help Center said multiple local organizations keep each other in check so missteps do not happen.
Biles’ testimony also opened eyes to awareness of sexual assault prevention and when to report.
They talked a lot about it started with the small things. So, we talk about when students or when children are being isolated with adults or we notice those red flag behaviors, such as an adult maybe asking you to keep a secret or maybe an adult keeping you from your friends or family, if we can stop those boundary violations before it escalates into that sexual assault, I think that’s important in keeping the community safe.JaQue Galloway, Sexual Assault Program Facilitator at Tri-County Help Center
Are you safe right now?
That is the first question asked by the Help Center who receives about 20 calls a month from the crisis hotline.
Larry Nassar was sentenced to 175 years for his sex crimes. While it does not heal, it does tell survivors there is justice.
If you need it, the Tri-County Help Center’s number is 740-695-5441.