Thursday, October 23, 2014

News
Milwaukee group stands in silence to fight sexual assault and rape
by Lane Kimble


MILWAUKEE -- Downtown Milwaukee stays noisy pretty much every day, even on a Saturday afternoon.  But for one hour  Saturday, a small part of the city stood silent.

"This is about people who can't come out and share their story because no one would believe them," organizer Kayla Christianson said.

Helping spread belief and support -- through silence.  Dozens showed up for sexual assault and rape victims at  O'Donnell park.  From noon to 1 pm, they stood tall without saying a word.

"How can we blame it on her rather than look at the real problem, which is the fact that our culture still doesn't  respect women, so they side with the man, the perpetrator," Christianson said.

Word for the rally spread through Facebook and email.  Dawn Helmrich looked at the day as a great chance to reach out  to the average person passing by.

"I can tell you that probably one of every ten cars that drove by, there was somebody who experienced in some way,  shape or form, sexual abuse," Helmrich said.

But it wasn't just women standing for other women.  Several men joined in with signs of their own.

"We might raise the awareness of one person.  Wouldn't that be enough," Bill Sell said.

Sell knows how damaging sexual assault can be to both the victim and people close to  them.

"I sat in a room where a friend of mine went public about her rape and she told the whole story," Sell said.  "It was gripping and it was so sad.  Why do men do that?"

It's a question these people hope we one day won't have to answer.

"We can live in a world without rape, without violence," Christianson said.  "Where women can stand up and say 'this happened to me' and  have everyone believe her the first time she says it."

Proceeds raised at Saturday's rally will go toward the 3rd annual Slut Walk coming to downtown Milwaukee in September.

For more information on Slut Walk Milwaukee 2013, follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/SlutWalkMilwaukee