KNOXVILLE (WATE) – An organization that helps sexual assault victims is responding to Tuesday’s news conference with 16 head coaches from the University of Tennessee.
Executive Director of the Family Justice Center Amy Dilworth said it’s a big step for the victims to come forward. Since they have, it’s brought up the question of what resources are out there in our community for those who are sexually assaulted.
Extended coverage: University of Tennessee sexual assault
“This is just the beginning of brave, brave victims coming forward and saying enough. Getting together and coming forward and saying enough,” Dilworth said.
Dilworth said too often sexual assaults go unreported. That’s because victims can be shamed into not telling someone. She thinks Tuesday’s news conference at UT won’t make it any easier.
“I think it will not help. I think it will not help people report,” Dilworth said.
There are a few steps you should consider if you are sexually assaulted:
- If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.
- Go to a safe place.
- Call someone you trust.
- Call a sexual assault crisis center that can answer your questions.
“I do not think that UT is this one isolated place where this is occurring. Unfortunately, I think UT is one of the many larger college campuses where this is occurring,” Dilworth said.
Dilworth said her organization partners with others like the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee. Both offer counseling for victims, which can be crucial in moving forward.
While Dilworth said attackers can be anyone, we most often hear about those involving athletes. The spotlight is now on UT.
“They are using the power in very inappropriate ways and there are consequences for that and those consequences need to be applied,” Dilworth said.
Help for victims
- Sexual Assault Response Team – provides help for University of Tennessee students at the Center for Health Education & Wellness. Dial (865) 974-HELP (4357).
- Title IX coordinator – Provides help for University of Tennessee students and employees. Dial (865) 974-2498.
- Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee – A 24/7 crisis hotline through the Helen Ross McNabb Center. Dial (865) 522-7273
- Family Justice Center – Provides help for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Dial (865) 521-6336.
- For immediate danger – Call 911 or University of Tennessee Police Department at (865) 974-3111.