Accusations of sexual misconduct are making headlines, and the number women reporting it are adding up. Being in national headlines may be helping women come forward with reporting misconduct, but our local YWCA wants women to take steps first.
Dianne Stancato, CEO YWCA says: "The most important things for a sexual assault victim to understand is: are you safe, how do we get you safe, and the second thing is we believe you."
Coming forward isn’t an easy task. Many women have a number of obstacles to overcome after making a report.
"A lot of women don’t come forward because the person who is their abuser, whether it’s in the workplace, is a person in power. So they need their job. They have a family to feed, and they just learn to live with it."
The YWCA is encouraging women not to live with it, at least not alone.
"If you bury it and you keep it in there, it’s just going to eat away at you, and we really don’t want you to do that. We want to be here for you."
Dianne Stancato believes there is progress being made, but there’s a long way to go. She says accountability is a major problem, but there are ways to make an impact on a local level, and it really starts with men.
"I think the only way to really change it is for men to stand up and say hey I’m not Ok with this. I have people, women in my life I love and I don’t want them treated like this, so certainly I’m going to be an example."
The YWCA is one of the lead agencies in helping women who’ve experienced sexual misconduct. Anyone seeking assistance should know they’ve now moved from Cornelia Street to 7 Rutger Park in Utica. If you feel you are in need of immediate help, you can call their hotline at (315)797-7740.
Herkimer County – Sexual Violence Services – (315) 866-4120
Oneida County – Domestic and Sexual Violence Services – (315) 797-7740