Columbus sexual assault support group urges victims to speak up, speak out

Columbus sexual assault support group urges victims to speak up

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Research shows that only one in 10 sexual assaults like the one at Carmike 15 is reported to police. Whether they're reported or not, experts say it's important that victims get support in coping with their attack.

I sat down with the Executive Director, Kyle Bair, and asked "if this happens to you, what happens next?" She outlined what the center does from the time they're notified of an incident... to when that victim becomes, what she calls a survivor.

"Victims often blame themselves. Victims will beat themselves up more, generally, than anybody else could," Bair exlpains.

Bair says because of this, victims of the crimes should speak up and speak out to jumpstart the healing process. Bair claims this requires support on many different levels, and she says the first step is telling your story.

"Call the hotline. It's confidential. We have a Facebook. We have a website we've been building to try and let people know that services are there. Get to somebody to get help," she adds.

According to her, the Sexual Assault Support Center's programs aim to curb the victim's physical and emotional reaction to the traumatic experience.

"We can provide advocacy, support, accompaniment through the medical process, court process," Bair says. "We can help them, maybe, with financial issues -- maybe they can't buy the prescription that they need."

No matter your gender or age, if someone attempts or does a sexual act against your will, Bair says the goal is to avoid becoming a silent statistic.

"If you have suffered from some type of sexual assault, either as a child, as a young adult, as an adult please reach out and seek help," Bair pleads.

The sexual assault survivors group meets at the support center on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 P.M. If you or a loved one would like to speak to a counselor in confidence or report an assault, Bair says call the sexual assault hotline at 706-571-6010.

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