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National attention on sex crimes cause influx of people coming forward locally

West Virginia Headlines

Calls to the Sexual assault Help Center in Wheeling are on the rise following the sentencing of Doctor Larry Nassar in the high profile case involving more than a hundred victims.

They gained strength to speak out and it’s happening locally as well. If you turn on your TV or log onto your Facebook, you’ll notice one thing; Individuals are gaining the confidence they need to finally speak out against sexual assault. This renewed sense of strength is thanks to the #MeToo movement and victims speaking out against Dr. Larry Nassar, “We are seeing quite a few more calls of decades-long, decades ago issues that are coming to light, thanks to this movement,” said Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Help Center, Executive Director, Megan Palmer.

Reports only starting to come to light, often prompt people to ask, “why not come forward earlier?” Palmer believes it’s because of the “rape culture” we live in. When someone has the authority or is well respected, we often ignore the truth and find ourselves saying “That person couldn’t have done this,”We’re not a society that likes to talk about issues like this. It’s uncomfortable for anybody to talk about, which is another reason victims don’t report. Unfortunately, when people do tell, you get people that don’t believe them, think that they’re lying, or sweep it under the rug. So, it’s part of this cyclical issue that we have going on,” Palmer said.

That’s why local hotlines and support groups exist, to raise awareness and give victims the help, safety, and friend they need,  “We’ll go to court with you. We’ll go to the hospital with you. We’ll have you in our office to cry on our shoulders. Whatever it is that individual needs to get on that path towards healing, we want to do be there for them,” Palmer added.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, contact the Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Help Center at 1-800-884-7242.

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