Sexual Assault Walk-Ins On The Rise, Says Tulsa Non-Profit
TULSA, Oklahoma - More and more people are seeking help in Green Country following sexual assaults.
Advocates at Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) said in 2017, they saw a dramatic increase in the number of people they helped in Tulsa County.
We're talking about a 70 percent increase and experts say it’s a step in the right direction to help reduce the stigma around sexual assault.
"This is the first time we've seen such a drastic increase in sexual assault walk-ins,” said Underserved Outreach Advocate Molly Bryant.
Experts at DVIS said it's important to understand that this is an increase in people seeking services for sexual assault and not necessarily people reporting it.
"That's a 70% increase in the people that are walking in in crisis. That doesn't necessarily mean it just happened, it may be that they are needing immediate help and it could've happened a couple of years ago," said Bryant.
Bryant said the increase has a lot to do with an elevated conversation around sexual assault including awareness and because of national movements such as “Me Too” and “Times Up”.
"We don't see the 70% increase as something bad, we see it as people are finally able to feel empowered enough to seek the services that they need," said Bryant.
Since a lot of sexual assaults go unreported, the increase in people seeking help is a big step in the right direction.
"Our hope is that we can keep this momentum going,” Bryant said.
And with a vast number of resources such as counseling and therapy, Bryant said she hopes more people will continue to take advantage of their resources.
"Right now, it's a hot topic but it’s hard to keep that momentum going because there's a lot of work to be done," Bryant said.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence or domestic violence and is looking for resources, the 24-hour information and crisis hotline is 918-743-5763.