Sexual assault advocate stresses importance of reporting crimes - WNEM TV 5

Sexual assault advocate stresses importance of reporting crimes

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

"I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed," Actress Rose McGowan said in Detroit.

It was the first time she spoke publicly since accusing Film Producer Harvey Weinstein of raping her.

McGowan's comments came during the Women's Convention and is sparking a conversation about reporting sexual assault.

"No more. Name it. Shame it. Call it out. Join me, join all of us as we amplify each other's voices and do what is right for us and our sisters," McGowen said.

She is calling on women across the country to speak out about sexual assault.

The actress is one of many women accusing Weinstein of rape and harassment.

But many women who are victims of a sexual crime rarely report their experience.

"They don't feel safe sharing their story. They're concerned they'll be judged, they'll be ridiculed, they'll be harassed," said Angela Aday, community engagement director for the Underground Railroad.

Aday works with women who have been victims of sexual abuse. She said it's a tough subject for many of them, but said speaking out can help other women.

"And when they actually go, other people who have been hurt are recognizing that. And they're saying 'you know what? If she can do it, I can do it too,'" Aday said.

Not only does reporting your assault encourage other women to do the same, but it also puts responsibility onto the abuser.

Aday said the best case scenario is the perpetrator will be facing criminal charges.

Unfortunately, in today's society some women will be judged for their story. But Aday said that's why it's important to share it anyway and find a solid support system.

She said there's also a correct, legal way to take action.

Aday said you should file a police report, contact authorities if you still feel unsafe and get some help through counseling and other services.

"Her, her family, the legal system, people are rallying behind her and her cause and fighting with her. And that's when really beautiful things happen and the perps are taken into justice," Aday said.

Aday said as far as procedures go, if the harassment is at work make sure to follow your employer's policy on reporting it first. She reminds victims nothing good comes from staying silent.

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