Crowd calls for survivors to speak up about sexual assault - Tucson News Now

Crowd calls for survivors to speak up about sexual assault

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

An intimate issue like sexual assault can only be combated by an open effort of prevention and support for survivors, according to organizers of Tuesday's Take Back the Night event at the University of Arizona.

"This is a problem that we all need to come together as a community to fix," said guest speaker Leilani Clark.

April is sexual assault is awareness month, and Tuesday's event marked the second Take Back the Night event this month for Tucson. Clark,a survivor herself, said gatherings like this one can help a someone open up and find some comfort in others.

"You really don't know what to do in the situation and then you start to learn the numbers and learn a lot of my close friends, a lot of my family members and my community members have gone through what I have," she said.

Tiffany Gervais said that's what happened to her at last year's Take Back the Night. Six years after being assaulted, she shared her story with the crowd.

"I know some of the experiences that these people have been through and it not only affected my life when it happened but it's affecting my life now," she said.

It affects her, but Gervais said it does not make her a victim.

"It didn't take over my life," she said. "I'm a survivor."

And more survivors like her need to share their stories,according to organizers of Tuesday's event. Clark said the community needs to support survivors so they can openly discuss their experiences and prevent more sexual assaults.

"We just don't know yet how to approach this as a topic we can talk about on a safe level," said Clark.

There are several agencies to provide more information like the University of Arizona Campus Health Services and Emerge Center Against DomesticAbuse.

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