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National attention on sexual misconduct affects Eugene survivors

Local non-profits that work with sexual assault survivors say more people are coming forward as sexual harassment becomes a more prevalent topic in the media.

Posted: Dec 1, 2017 8:42 AM

EUGENE, Ore. – More people in Eugene are coming forward to report sexual harassment cases following the long list of high profile accusations in the media.

The large number of high public figures in the spotlight for sexual harassment accusations keeps growing and as it does, sexual abuse and harassment counselors in Eugene are getting busier.

Ophelia’s Place is an organization that works with young girls, many of whom are recovering from sexual abuse or harassment.

KEZI 9 News spoke with counselors who say more girls are becoming comfortable talking about the incidents they have experienced.

Kyra Kelly works with the girls. She said the therapy they provide girls helps build awareness, which helps with prevention.

“I use an example of myself, when I was first sexually assaulted,” Kelly said. “I hesitated first to report it and then I thought, what if this happened to my little sister?”

Kelly said the recent accusations that have come to light involving public figures really help highlight abuses of power.

She said when enough people decide to speak up, it makes it possible for that power to weaken.

Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) is another organization advocating for sexual assault and harassment awareness.

B.B. Beltran said the issue is not anything new, the only difference is that the conversation is becoming more prevalent because public figures are being accused.

“I think that the more that folks are aware, the more that they are engaged, the more that they recognize that everyone plays a role in creating a safe environment for survivors and for everybody in general,” Beltran said.

She said recently they have been forced to turn people away because they do not have enough resources to accommodate everyone.

Beltran said sexual harassment can make the survivors feel isolated, but with the recent accusations in the media survivors are finding more of a community.

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