The month of April brings awareness to sexaul assault

Lily Robison, Reporter


Interview w/ Rebecca Hawthorne

It is no surprise many people are struggling during this pandemic. For both survivors and victims of domestic violence, it has become more challenging to be in a good mental state and feel safe since the stay-at-home order was put in place.

This month raises awareness to sexual assault.

“The theme is ‘I asked,’ so it’s like ‘I asked for consent,’” Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) Communications Coordinator Lucca Wang said. “So this awareness campaign really reinforces that consent is normal, and that it’s a necessary part of sex and a necessary part of any type of relationship.”

Many victims and survivors of sexual assault feel trapped, isolated, alone, depressed and controlled.

“I was talking with someone that said, you know, ‘I just feel really bad for you because you’re alone,’” history teacher Rebecca Hawthorne said. “‘And in quarantine, I just wish that you had someone,’ but I think it’s better to be alone, than to be with an abuser.”

Victims still have the same barriers they had before the pandemic started, but they might be heightened now because victims may be required to work from home, causing them to spend more time with their abuser, Wang said. Since the stay-at-home order has been put in place, it is harder for survivors and victims to have an escape and feel safe.

“I look back from this time, and school was my escape,” Hawthorne said. “Being at my work, that felt like home to me. That felt like a safe place. I loved being at school because it was away.”

For those who are still in abusive situations during this pandemic, it can be difficult to ask for help and it makes things a lot scarier, Wichita Family Crisis Center Executive Director Amanda Meyers said.

“Before the pandemic, people could find a few free moments alone to have a conversation or they got out of the house and could come down and see an advocate,” Meyers said. “This is different. Now people are having a really hard time finding the space to reach out and get help.”

Many advocacy websites offer a chat or texting option, allowing victims to contact an advocate without needing to talk aloud where the abuser could hear the victim.

“There’s an escape button on our website so you can chat with an advocate and then quickly push the escape button and it goes to Google or Amazon or something [similar],” Meyers said.

The biggest thing that helped Hawthorne to get out of the abusive situation was asking for help, she said.

“ … that’s what your abuser wants, is [for] you to be alone,” Hawthorne said. “They want you to feel trapped and that you can’t reach out, because you’re not worth it, because you’re worthless, because you’re stupid, whatever the thing is, and that’s not the case. So, reaching out is going to be a big step, but it’s going to be a big step in the right direction for you.”

Wichita Family Crisis Center (316) 263-2313

Kansas Crisis Hotline 1-888-363-2287

KCSDV  (785) 232-9784

Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center (316) 263-0185

Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County (316) 660-9494

Brighthouse (620) 665-3630