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Sparrow partners with local organization to host rally supporting sexual assault and abuse survivors

Rally to empower survivors
Posted at 6:21 PM, Apr 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-25 14:28:43-04

LANSING, Mich. —

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.

Rally to empower survivors
The community came together to show their support for sex and abuse survivors by listening to speakers and letting people know how they can get help.

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.

Rally to empower survivors
Community members of all ages came out to show their support.

“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.

The toll of the pandemic on escaping violence

“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.

Rally to empower survivors
Signs were hung at the rally to show support for survivors.

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.

New bill packages would extend protection

“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

Rally to empower survivors
Community members wrote messages on the ground to show their support.

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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Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter