April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year Wo/Men’s Resource & Rape Assistance Program (WRAP), is shining a light on the remarkable strength and resiliency of survivors who have been impacted by sexual violence. Many events are planned for Benton County including a proclamation signing at the courthouse on April 10.
Sexual violence is a severe interpersonal violation, rooted in oppression and feeding on isolation and silence, according to Sexual Assault Coordinator Katie Noles. She said, “Survivors face many barriers to disclosure and seeking help; yet, they persevere on their path towards healing. The resilience that survivors demonstrate day after day is proof of the human capacity for growth, positive change, and movement towards health even in the face of adversity. With the appropriate resources and support, survivors of sexual violence can overcome intense trauma and find healing and restoration. Sexual violence impacts the individual in profound ways.”
According to the Executive Director, Daryl Chansuthus, at least half of all survivors will experience long-term symptoms of post-traumatic stress. “The effects don’t end with the person who has been victimized. The climate of violence and fear sexual violence engenders tears at the fabric of community well-being.” WRAP’s Sexual Assault Program Manager, Mara White, agrees, “We need to recognize that sexual violence is not a women’s issue; it’s not a men’s issue. It’s a community issue.”
Noles said, “Now is the time for our West Tennessee communities to come together and honor the incredible strength and courage survivors of sexual violence own every day and to celebrate the resilience of our own communities. Together our communities will let survivors know it is okay to speak their truth, and we will work hard to snuff out the stigma and the shame that has been traditionally associated with sexual violence.”
“All survivors deserve a safe place to seek help and to, most importantly, be who they are,” White finished with. “Now is the time to uplift survivors, to let them know that they are strong, powerful, and amazing.”