Apr 7, 2011 6:57 PM by David Ortiviz
The Statistics are alarming. Every two minutes someone in our country is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. In Colorado, one in four women and one in 17 men are victims of sexual violence, according to the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. April is sexual assault awareness month and News First 5 spoke to one survivor, who has a powerful message.
"I was born in Saigon, Vietnam," said Nancy Ward, a wife and mother of three who now lives in Pueblo. Ward was in grade school when her family moved to the U.S. Her innocent childhood was quickly shattered. "I was sexually assaulted," said Ward.
It happened once with a babysitter's brother and then again by a boy and a girl during a sleep over. "I would have these nightmares and flashbacks," said Ward. "What happened. What's going on with me?"
Ward says she felt guilt, depression and anger. She confided in her father about her traumatic experiences. "His immediate reply was what do you want me to do about it and at that moment I felt, you're the father, shouldn't you know what to do about it," said Ward.
Feeling ashamed, Ward kept her secret for more than twenty years. "Finally having to go into the hospital for severe depression, where I ended up talking about it," she said.
Today she's a victim's advocate with Pueblo Rape Crisis Services, helping those she calls "survivors" of sexual violence. "I always say it's never your fault," said Ward. Ward also wants them to know they're not alone. Pueblo Rape Crisis Services offers counseling and support services to begin the healing process.
Ward says the first step is breaking the silence. "There has to a be a point where we say enough is enough and we want to empower ourselves to become a survivor," said Ward.
Pueblo Rape Crisis Services is holding a concert on Saturday April 16th at 5p.m. at C.J.'s Grill (former Zippers) located at 326 S. Union Ave. in Downtown Pueblo. Cover charge is $5 a person. The center says proceeds from the event will support programs that help survivors.
HOTLINES & WEB RESOURCES:
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE(4673)
Pueblo Rape Crisis Services: 719-549-0549
El Paso & Teller Counties:
Tessa 24-Hour Crisis Line: 719-633-3819