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December 06, 2017 05:04 PM

Silence Breakers Being Heard

The Silence Breakers are being heard loud and clear. A group who shared their stories of sexual assault are the 2017 Time magazine Person of the Year. 

The social media Me Too movement has swept the nation. Now, these women, and a few men, are getting praised for speaking out. However, there are still those who question their stories, or tell them to keep quiet.

"I didn't think I'd be believed," said Samantha Spawn, survivor of sexual assault. 

Samantha Spawn works for a lobby group in South Dakota. It was her dream to make a difference by working in the state legislature. That dream was crushed last year when she was raped by a colleague. 

She came forward with her story in October, but never pressed charges against her rapist.

"If you look at the statistics, as far as, if you were to go down a criminal path. If I were to have pursued actual criminal justice in this case, only two percent of accused rapists ever spend a day in jail," said Spawn.

Spawn says there was pressure to keep it quiet and not bring lawmakers into the situation. However, she felt compelled to speak up for those who can't.

While she won't lose her job, many women are afraid of being fired or criticized, like Spawn has been, for speaking out.

"I have legitimate concerns over not being taken seriously. Which is really unfortunate, but I'm not afraid," said Spawn. 

Spawn says this Time article will only strengthen the movement to empower victims of harassment. 

"I think the message that's being sent is loud and clear that women aren't going to tolerate this anymore. We don't have to tolerate it and you don't have to be a celebrity to speak up and say no, that's not okay," said Spawn. 

A message people are finally listening to.

Spawn says her best advice if you are assaulted is to seek professional help, such as a therapist or pastor.

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