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Letter: We need to have constructive conversation about sexuality and sexual abuse

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.

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To the editor:

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Most of us are a bit uncomfortable talking about sex, but we need to get past the blushing and have constructive conversation about sexuality and sexual abuse. Knowledge is essential to prevention, and that is the goal. By talking about it, we are promoting healthy behaviors that encourage healthy sexuality in ways that enrich our lives. Healthy sexuality is comprised of consensual respectful relationships free of coercion and violence.

Our children as young as 12 are being impacted by misconceived messages of sexuality and are being sexually abused. Sexual abuse whether on-line or any other way is emotionally damaging, unforgettable, and often results in lifelong harm and agony. Over 70% of all sexual assaults are never reported to anyone. Victims are blamed and shamed for being part of this behavior.

A clear message needs to be sent that there is NO disgrace in being a survivor of sexual assault, but that shame lies ONLY with the aggressor. Sexual offenses are not usually a reckless event, they are knowing, and often intentional, and most sexual offenses are committed by someone familiar to the victim.

We need to start believing and supporting victims when they report sexual abuse. Rarely is someone falsely reporting that kind of violence. A negative response to victims can worsen the trauma for them, and foster an environment where perpetrators face no consequences for their crimes. Statistics show that sexual predators very rarely attack only once many re-offend multiple times.

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If you or someone you know has experienced a sexual assault and would like to have a confidential conversation about it, please feel free to contact an advocate at Hands of Hope Resource Center at 320-732-2319 or on-line at advocates.handsofhope@gmail.com .

Connie Nelson
Hands of Hope Resource Center
Long Prairie, MN

What to read next
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to aedenloff@echopress.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.