GREENSBORO, N.C. – The topic of sexual harassment, assault, and violence has spread over of social media, following the trending hashtag - #MeToo.
Some people worry the trend has created pressure for survivors to share their stories. However, experts in this specific field say, don’t feel that pressure – but do know there are many resources and ways to get help.
In Guilford County, the Family Justice Center is a one stop shop when it comes to these resources. In the two years the center has been open, 13,000 people have checked in to seek help. Inside, people suffering from domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse or elderly abuse can get help from law enforcement, legal professionals and counselors. It’s all free, and nothing is forced on a client. The Family Justice Center’s client services director Sonya Desai says they also do a lot of outreach – making sure people in the community are aware of the program, and even the direct signs of abuse.
“The thing that we always say is once we deliver the message, it becomes an opportunity for others receiving that message to spread the word,” she said.
UNCG’s Campus Violence Response Center is modeled after the Family Justice Center, and opened this year. Some of the service there include crisis response, advocacy, and counseling, and they cater to anyone who is impacted by sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and other types of harassment or abuse.
“The sooner you reach out for the help the more quickly resources are available to support you,” said Christine Murray, a professor of counseling at UNCG, “There are common dynamics that underlie these abuse situations, especially the power and control dynamic, which is really the common experience that underlies any sort of interpersonal violence or intimate partner violence.”