For Kent resident Kneishia Vinson sexual assault is “taboo.”
Vinson said this is because often times victims know their offenders and “we tend to keep things like that out of the public eye due to embarrassment, shame or being disowned by family members or friends.”
The principal thing Vinson said the public can do to bring awareness is talk about it.
Vinson works closely with the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.
She first came to the resource center after she was sexually assaulted in 2009. Vinson said she was assaulted and held against her will by someone she knew.
For a year following her assault, Vinson worked with the center during legal proceedings and she also received trauma focused therapy.
Following that year, Vinson became a spokesperson for the KCSARC.
She got involved with sexual assault awareness because she “wants people’s voices to be heard.”
According to statistics gathered by the KCSARC, 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. And most of the time, the victim and the offender know each other.
“Sexual assault victims are too often silenced or snubbed in our community so I wanted to make sure I did my part to continue speaking on this issue for a lifetime,” Vinson said.
She believes with awareness, victims may be more likely to receive the help they need. Vinson added awareness can also help with prevention.
She said that awareness events and assemblies at high schools and colleges would also be good if given at elementary and middle schools.
“There are young children who feel like they have no where to turn, that don’t know what’s happening in their homes is not normal and I think it would be nice for them to see that they aren’t alone and to know that it’s OK to speak up,” Vinson said.
This year, the center hosted it’s 27th annual BE LOUD breakfast. According to the center’s website, more than $515,000 was raised during the 2016 BE LOUD fundraiser.
For more information on the KCSARC visit their website at www.kcsarc.org.
Pierce County residents can contact the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County for more information.