April is sexual assault awareness month and as we near the end of the month, Sparrow Hospital partnered with Lansing organization, End Violent Encounters to host the first rally to empower survivors.
“It’s just so important that we as a community get out here to support our survivors and let them know that they’re not alone,” said Sparrow forensic examiner Amanda Haueter.
The rain couldn't keep the community away from showing their support for sex and abuse survivors on Saturday.
"We have a great community," Haueter said. "We have a lot of support here from Sparrow and then our partners and it just means so much to us that there’s people that care about this as much as we do.”
EVE and Sparrow wanted to show survivors they're not alone.
"We're here for them," said EVE's Community Outreach Coordinator Sam Stiles. "We want to support them."
Stiles said it's important to show support every day.
“Anytime there’s a natural disaster, unfortunately, we see instances of domestic violence and sexual assault go up," she said. "This pandemic was no different.”
Stiles said the stay-at-home order was tough for some.
“There would be times where people could go out and kind of get a break or escape violence or assault or whatever the case may be and then that added layer of protection from friends, families or communities was kind of taken away," Stiles said.
Causing isolation for those experiencing assault and abuse.
“That adds this isolation so abusers had more access to survivors if they lived in the same home,” Stiles said.
Hosting this event Saturday was important to show anyone being abused they have support Stiles said.
“There’s a close-knit community of survivors, again, it’s unfortunate that there has to be a community, but we’re here for you and we can help you shoulder that burden," she said. "It’s not something that you have to experience alone.”
69th House District Rep. Julie Brixie showed her support by announcing a package of bills she's introduced.
“The average age of a child sex abuse survivor to come forward and report that abuse is 52 years old,” Brixie said.
Michigan law says the civil statute of limitations expires at age 28 for survivors of sexual abuse. Brixie said she's trying to change that.
“That bill package would extend the statute of limitations to age 48 for people," Brixie said. "Many people do not know they were abused and upon discovery of that abuse it would allow people seven years to come forward.”
The bills would also open up a revival window.
“To allow people who’s statute of limitations have expired to come forward, report their abuse, and get access to justice,” said Brixie
Haueter said she wants people to know they're available to help.
“If you or somebody you know has been a victim of sexual assault to come to Sparrow hospital," Haueter said. "We have a 24/7 team to help you.”
And that no one is alone.
“They’re not alone, Haueter said. "If you just want to come and talk hear your options, we’re here.”
One young supporter said it all, "We support survivors."
EVE also has a 24-hour crisis line at (517) 372-5572 or an online chat for anyone who may be suffering from sexual abuse or assault.
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