SMITHS STATION, AL (WTVM) - Every 107 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. There are about 293,000 victims of sexual assault each year according to RAINN.org.
One Smiths Station woman has made it her mission to make sure victims speak up.
Karin Tyson was your average happy-go-lucky teenager, until one night when a sleepover turned into one of her darkest days.
"I remember crying and crying through the whole situation. I didn't know what was about to happen," Tyson said.
Tyson says she became a victim of sexual assault at the age of 15.
Doubting the seriousness of her situation, it took her 10 years to talk about it.
"I was quiet about it. The first time I cried about it was February 2015," explains Tyson.
April is the month dedicated sexual Assault Awareness. According to the CDC, one in five women and one in 59 men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime
It is a startling statistic Tyson hopes will one day not exist.
"It's very sobering to me to see how much this happens and how frequently it is dismissed," explains Tyson.
Tyson says she's found a sense of relief from her situation by speaking about it out loud. Her advice is to seek help immediately.
"My counselor has been wonderful and has helped me through so much with my self-worth and self-esteem issues," says Tyson.
Tyson says she doesn't have any ill will for her alleged attacker, but says she thanks him for helping her find her passion.
"I want him to know that he did not break me in any way. If anything he gave me more strength to speak out and help people," says Tyson.
There are several resources in East Alabama and west Georgia, including the Sexual Assault Support Center in Columbus.
If you are a victim of sexual assault you can contact the Sexual Assault Support Hotline at (706) 571-6010.