April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and there is no better time to support survivors and strengthen our communities.
One week ago, I attended and spoke at the Statute of Limitations Reform Rally in Harrisburg on the Capitol steps. I can't express how powerful it was to stand on the steps in support, step up to the mic to share my story, and hug each survivor after I spoke. It was powerful and I'm grateful to all that came out and supported the real deal. Standing on the steps marked my first time telling my story in public.
Pam Oddo and Mark Rozzi work diligently behind the scenes to make an event like this work along with the help from advocates, colleagues, and survivors. Each survivor that spoke also turned in a victim impact statement and a photo from the time abused to help illustrate the depth of what this crime changes and was able to name the perpetrator of the crime.
It was difficult to stand up and be vulnerable, especially in front of a line of news cameras, spectators, and journalists. It was even more difficult to stand up and be a witness to the other survivors that shared their story.
One in particular that was heartbreaking to hear was the mother speaking for her young child that is starting the process. Knowing what I went through, where I stand now, and all the hurdles that she will face made - everything more pressing. Seeing the cycle play out over and over again is re-traumatising, but I want to continue to break my silence in the hopes that one day this won't be the epidemic it is right now.
If you'd like to find easy ways for to help today and all throughout April, click here. One of the easiest way is to use #SAAM on social media or share one of my Facebook or Twitter posts.
You can watch a short clip from a local news channel on the rally here.