Forum Raises Sexual Assault Awareness

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Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County (WBRE/WYOU) — The topic is often considered taboo — but April is sexual assault awareness month. A seminar was held Wednesday night, to give some insight into how victims can get closure.

The power of words – apparent at a Kings College forum discussing the realities of sexual assault in our community.

Janet MacKay, Executive Director of the Victims Resource Center said, “It’s a lot more than people realize because most people don’t tell.”

The evening began with a story about a fictional girl named Mary – who said no to an acquaintence named Bob, who followed her into her dorm room, but that didn’t matter in the end.

Luzerne County Detective Chaz Balogh said, “Unfortunately we have one in four females being sexually assaulted on campuses and many are going unreported.”

Wednesday, the Victim’s Resource Center teamed up with King’s College, and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office – to discuss rape culture – the stigma victims feel… And what it takes to overcome it.

“It doesn’t how much she drank, it doesn’t matter if she trusted this person. Took him back to her dorm. None of that matters what matters is he didn’t stop when she said no,” added Nora Bagusky of the Victim’s Resource Center.

A panel of experts talked the audience through the journey to justice, step by step. 

Students lobbed questions at the panel as law enforcement explained why coming forward immediately – makes a prosecution easier.

“I’m not worried about underage drinking just sexual assault,” Detective Balogh said.

Ultimately, students tell us – they feel relief – knowing there is a safety net to help those taken advantage of.

“From a rape that happened like five years ago they can still help them so they know they’re never alone,” said Jordyn Williams, a student at Wilkes University. 

Prosecutors added its never too late to report a sexual assault, but the sooner the better, for the strongest case in court.

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