What happened to them is not who they are.
On Wednesday night, York College participated in the decades-old Take Back the Night celebration.
“It is that symbol of, ‘we’re taking back that power. We’re taking back the night that this happened to us,” said Ashton Whitmoyer, the coordinator of sexual/relationship violence prevention at the college.
York College has seen an increase in reported sexual assault cases, but that may be a good thing.
“We have seen an increase lately, but that’s because students are feeling more inclined lately to speak out,” Whitmoyer said.
Kristen Houser, chief public affairs officer for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, said these students may be more confident thanks to a tool that is often demonized.
“I really think social media has played a huge role. It gives people the ability to tell their story without it being quite so personal as it would be in person,” she said.
Houser said nationwide movements like #MeToo have helped victims find their voice, but too often she says those voices aren’t believed even though 20 to 25 percent of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
“Why we would believe that people are making it up defies logic,” Houser said.
“Actually, less than two percent of people who come forward are actually falsely accusing somebody, so it’s important that we believe survivors,” Whitmoyer said.
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