Unified against sexual assault

As a longtime resident of Kent, I’m writing to thank and commend Mayor Dana Ralph and City Council members for supporting survivors of sexual assault by proclaiming April Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

I’m proud that Kent joins communities throughout King County, and the nation, in prioritizing the needs of survivors and ending sexual violence in all forms.

Sexual violence affects individuals, families and entire communities. More than 6,600 adults and children sought services from accredited sexual assault resource centers in King County. In Washington state, 45 percent of women and 22 percent of men report they experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Nationally, one in five children will be sexually abused by the time they turn 18. These are just the reported cases. Many are not.

One day, working together, we can end this pandemic. We’ve recently reached an important turning point: more and more, survivors are coming forward to report their assault. Knowing they’ll be supported, and that abuse won’t be tolerated empowers survivors, and gives them hope. It’s only common sense that when we empower survivors, we help stop perpetration.

That is why it’s so powerful when community leaders make a public commitment to stand with survivors.

Help is available for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or needs information. The nonprofit King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) operates a 24-hour Resource Line, at 1-888-99-VOICE, and offers a wealth of resources on its website, kcsarc.org.

– Lorna Holland

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