WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – You may have seen it on social media — hashtag “me too.”
Those two words have become a rallying cry ever since sexual assault allegations were made against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The hashtag caught fire over the weekend when actress Alyssa Milano called for survivors to come together to show the world the magnitude of the problem.
KSN spoke to local advocates and a survivor who say they’re encouraged by the national discussion.
Haysville may be miles away from the Hollywood lights.
But the distance doesn’t prevent survivor Libby Heflin from saying “me too” – I am a survivor of sexual assault.
“He shoved me on the futon, and he raped me,” said Libby Heflin, survivor.
She says her then boyfriend acted as if nothing happened. Heflin says she soon filed a restraining order and started therapy, and that she’s not a victim anymore but a survivor. She says talking about her experience here tonight and on social media can help others who may be suffering.
“I had gotten several people, once they had seen that, message me and even in the past, when I came out about my rape in the past I’ve had so many people come out that it has happened to them,” said Heflin.
The Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center says the stories we see in the media are just the tip of the iceberg.
“We see a lot of survivors who come in here or call us or email and say this happened 25 years ago and I never told anyone,” said Mary Stolz, Director of Survivor Services.
Mary Stolz, the Director of Survivor Services, says while the “me too” discussion is positive, it can trigger difficult memories for some people. She says at their office there is always an open door for survivors who need to talk.
“If they just need some additional support while this is such an issue right now, please let us know, please reach out, we’re here to listen,” said Stolz.
Stolz says they see a lot of men who are also survivors of sexual assault, and it’s not just a women’s discussion. She’s seen a lot of men step forward on social media saying hashtag “I will not,” meaning not participate in harassment or assault of any kind.