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Local YWCA reacts to Cosby verdict

Recent high-profile cases involving many well known figures is changing the conversation when it comes to sexual abuse.

Posted: Sep. 26, 2018 6:17 PM
Updated: Sep. 26, 2018 6:32 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)— The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reported 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.

For victims, coming forward can be a difficult task and when the perpetrator is in a higher position of power, or a celebrity, the victim often finds themselves with little or no options.

The local Young Women's Christian Association said the conversation is slowly changing as more victims are speaking out. 

Women have come forward sharing their stories and their pain at the hands of many well-known, high ranking figures. As a result, a growing number of once well-respected figures are losing their reputations.

In the case of Bill Cosby, the man once known as "America's Dad", is now heading to prison.

"Justice prevailed, and that's good news for America" Carrie Turner, Training and Outreach Coordinator, YWCA, said. 

Those who work closely with sexual abuse victims said the motives for perpetrators are not always obvious. 

"This is not about sex, it's about power and control," Turner said.

In addition, they said many who have come forward sometimes face push back from others.

"They're not believed," Turner said. "They're gonna be ridiculed." 

Other times, Turner said the victims blame themselves and internalize their feelings.  

"...I drank. I did this, maybe I flirted...," Turner said, listing some of the common reasons she has heard.  

Those who work with people recovering from sexual abuse said the conversation is being brought to the forefront, and as more people come forward, attitudes slowly change. 

"I think with all that's going on with our society today, rape culture is changing, people are talking about it," Turner said. 

Advocates said the goal is about informing victims, as well as empowering them to speak up. 

"[When] people know more about their resources, they know more about their rights legally, [and] they're okay coming forward when the event happens," Turner said. 

The YWCA has advocates available to help sexual abuse victims 24-hours a day and can be reached at 816-232-1225.

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