JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Someone is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds across the U.S., but sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in the nation.
That’s why local organizations, officials and survivors of sexual assault came together in Jacksonville on Tuesday to show the public ways people can prevent sexual violence in their communities and mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“We average over 4,000 calls to our hotline every year and about 700 to 800 individuals walk in our doors,” said Teresa Miles, Women’s Center of Jacksonville Executive Director.
Co-Founder of Every 68 Seconds, Samantha Dallett said her organization supports survivors by giving them a platform to tell their stories, which brings awareness, educates the public and combats the rape culture in America.
“Were photographing survivors that are willing to participate in our series,” said Dallett. “We are writing quotes that are specific to them and their experiences onto their bodies and photographing them in a black and white format.”
Adia Barlow, another survivor, is in grad school focusing on a degree that will assist people who have experienced sexual assault.
“I hope that I will be able to provide services in counseling to sexual assault survivors,” Barlow said.
She said if there was anything she could say to someone who has experienced sexual assault it would be: “Don’t be afraid to speak your truth and say your truth.”
Dallett said she would tell them it gets better.
“If they are out there and they have gone through something, just to know that it is never as bad as that initial moment because it will always get better. You can always get out of it,” Dallett said. “You can always find people to hold your hand through it -- and we want to be those people.”
Resources for survivors and their families
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline, 24 hours, call 1-800-656-4673
- Women’s Center of Jacksonville’s 24-hour rape crisis hotline: 904-721-7273
- Sexual abuse survivors in the Jacksonville area can get resources through Jewish Family & Community Services (JFCS), call 904-448-1933 or email email@example.com