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People believe you and will help you: Advocates send a message to sexual assault survivors

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WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Bill Cosby’s sudden release from prison shocked so many, but sexual assault survivors may still be mentally recovering from the news. In many cases, we may not even know it. 

Before you read any further, if you or someone you know is a sexual assault survivor and needs help, call the YWCA Wheeling anytime 24/7 at 1-800-698-1247 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in immediate danger, call 911

Advocates want all sexual assault survivors out there to know, there are people you can trust if you want to come forward. 

Our society does not really believe survivors.

Molly Holden, Family Violence Prevention Program Director, Survivors of Trafficking Empowerment Program Director, YWCA Wheeling

The question is why?

It’s not something that we as a world are comfortable talking about and survivors carry a lot of that blame with them internally.

Molly Holden, Family Violence Prevention Program Director, Survivors of Trafficking Empowerment Program Director, YWCA Wheeling

That blame, often accompanies feelings of anxiety, depression or low self-worth; but advocates want their message to survivors to be clear. There are people who believe you, and who will help you. 

It’s about finding that inner strength in a person and realizing I deserve to have my voice heard.

Molly Holden, Family Violence Prevention Program Director, Survivors of Trafficking Empowerment Program Director, YWCA Wheeling

As hard as advocates work, high-profile outcomes like the Cosby case can make it more difficult for survivors to trust that they’ll see justice. 

Holden points to statistics from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 310 are reported. Out of those, only 25 perpetrators will go to prison. Meaning 975 of them will walk free. 

Statistics courtesy of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

It makes us want to fight harder. It makes us realize that we have a lot of work to do in our world and each day even if courts are turning over cases like this. We can still help people feel stronger in themselves.

Molly Holden, Family Violence Prevention Program Director, Survivors of Trafficking Empowerment Program Director, YWCA Wheeling

There are many reason victims don’t come forward, but instead of letting the results of the Cosby case scare them, Holden hopes they do the opposite, and have their voices heard. 

Even if the assault happened long ago and they just need someone to talk to, the YWCA Wheeling advocates will listen.

Whether it was two days ago, two hours ago, two years, twenty years ago, if now is they time you want to reach out for help please feel free to do so and give us a call. No matter what happened or the circumstances around someone’s assault, we’re here to help and believe you.

Molly Holden, Family Violence Prevention Program Director, Survivors of Trafficking Empowerment Program Director, YWCA Wheeling

If you or someone you know is a sexual assault survivor and needs help, call the YWCA Wheeling anytime 24/7 at 1-800-698-1247 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in immediate danger, call 911

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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