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Why it's difficult for sexual assault victims to come forward: 'There is a power control dynamic'

Just over one in five rape/sexual assaults are reported
Posted at 6:31 AM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 12:27:39-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — With April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, just over one in five sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice.

Advocates say victims fear backlash or not being believed. Leaders like Women's Center for Advancement President & CEO Jannette Taylor say assault victims often don't want to come forward.

"There is a power control dynamic always when there is sexual assault, sexual harassment, human trafficking. You risk losing your job, you risk retaliation," Taylor said.

Taylor wants to stress that what you wore or where you walked should have no bearing on reporting assault.

"If your daughter just got through with gymnastics and she walked outside in her uniform, would it be ok for someone to sexually assault or sexually harass her? No, it wouldn't. What someone is wearing has no bearing on consent," Taylor said.

Creighton Sociology Assistant Professor Sabrina Danielsen says she has seen a shift in how those reporting assaults are treated.

"I know we talk about it in terms of the 'Me Too' movement. This has really been a slow process of changing attitudes," Danielsen said.

Danielsen believes when victims tell their stories it helps others come forward.

"There are probably a lot of women who are reading this, who it's bringing up their own experiences and they may be making decisions about whether to come forward at this time," Danielsen said.

The Women's Center for Advancement has a 24/7 hotline at 402-345-7273.

RELATED: 'What were you wearing?' art installation at UNO works bring awareness to sexual assault

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