"Unheard Voices" conversation on sexual assault opens to all

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- One in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18, according to statistics by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

This alarming national statistic is why a presentation about sexual assault will be open to the whole community for the first time this week.

For more than 20 years the Sexual Assault Center of Family Services has sparked a conversation in high schools about sexual assault through its "Unheard Voices: Let’s Listen” presentation.

“The actors share a story from an assault that has happened in the community, so definitely very emotional. It is somebody's true story, it's not our story,” said Devin Vandertie. She is one of the volunteer actors who has done the presentation several times.

She keeps doing it because she sees how it resonates with people.

“People often ask or say, 'That must be really hard,' and my response usually is, 'It's hard to be sexually assaulted. It's a privilege to be on the other side to support somebody through what's likely the most challenging time of their life,'” said Vandertie.

The situations that will be portrayed may not be easy for some to see.

“We delve into the things that cause people hesitation. In one story we talk about not wanting to report because they were drinking and that sort of thing makes it very relatable for people,” said Vandertie.

That's why extra support staff will be on hand during the presentation to help those who may be inspired to share their story or to ask questions.

“People are talking about sexual assault more in the wake of the 'Me Too' movement, so we want to give a platform for people to get accurate information in a safe place, to ask questions to district attorney and law enforcement,” said Samantha Bouressa, program supervisor for the Sexual Assault Center.

The free presentation will be held at the Meyer Theatre on Wednesday, April 24, at 6 p.m.

A panel of local experts will also be available after the presentation to answer questions from the audience.

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