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Albany rally raises awareness about sexual violence

April 17, 2019 11:13 PM

ALBANY – According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), every 92 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.

Wednesday night, community members raised awareness about the issue at the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center’s annual “Take Back the Night” event.

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“It’s much broader than just rape and sexual assault,” said Prevention Educator Rachel Wilson. “Understanding that a lot of people experience different types of violence.”

Nationally the rates of sexual assault and rape has fallen. Albany County reports in 2017, they had 160 sexual assault emergency room accompaniments and nearly 1,700 calls to its sexual assault hotline. They saw an increase in those numbers the next year. In 2018, there were 207 sexual assault emergency room accompaniments and almost 2,000 hotline calls.

“Keep speaking up and speaking out, because numbers don’t lie,” said sexual assault victim Breanne Colon.

Colon is a senior at Saint Rose and said she was inspired to share her story this year after being moved at last year’s rally.

“This year I decided that I want to speak out about my experience so that everyone knows they’re not alone and it’s really a process,” said Colon.

Jasmine Shea of Albany attended the event for the first time on Wednesday and spoke about her rape in 2016.

“Even though I felt like I died that night I just had to learn life over again, even just to get up that first day,” said Shea.

Shea said she’s hoping she can help other women who may be too scared to speak about their experience.

“We all know someone who has been assaulted,” said Shea. “But nobody wants to talk about it, I'm not afraid to talk about it. If there's one thing he didn't take away from me it's my voice and my power to tell my story and the truth and let others know they're not alone.”

As survivors continue to share their stories, advocates for victims continue to work to prevent sexual violence.

"It really is important that as a community we're looking out for each other and creating spaces where offensive behavior is unacceptable,” said Wilson.

Albany County has a 24-hour sexual assault hotline (518) -447-7716.

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WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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