Fighting sexual assault by bringing awareness

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT
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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - The amount of isolation from the pandemic has caused an increase in sexual assault, but many people are not even aware of the problem.

April is known as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the survivor NewsChannel 7 spoke with said talking about the issue is the only way to solve it.

Once a victim of sexual assault, many women may turn to drugs and alcohol, it’s a problem that survivor Katherine Kercher has dealt with in her life.

“You start telling yourself that maybe you deserved it and you did something to cause it to happen,” Kercher said.

Kercher was abused growing up, and wants victims to know it’s never their fault.

She hopes awareness of sexual assault results in more women coming forward to diffuse the problem.

“Bringing it out as an awareness with others and the public takes a little bit of the shame off of it and opens the doors for help for women,” Kercher said.

Kercher found it difficult to get help, but said her faith and confidence got her through it.

“I know that there’s support groups and stuff, but I think it wasn’t really until I found the faith aspect of it that I really did receive healing,” she said.

“You need to take it seriously when someone says they have been sexually assaulted,” Shirley’s House of Hope Executive Director Julie Cravillion said.

Cravillion said bringing awareness to the issue of sexual assault couldn’t be more important.

“Those whose lives have not been touched by sexual assault, domestic violence, many times they’re totally unaware of what’s going on,” Cravillion said.

The pandemic has made it hard for victims to connect with others for help, and Cravillion said many turn a blind eye to sexual assault.

However, she believes cultural changes have helped women get listened to now.

“Even as a child, I was told boys will be boys, it’s just a part of life, that’s what happens and get over it,” Cravillion said.

Follow the link to Shirley’s House of Hope for resources to get help.

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