Advocates say there is help available for victims of sexual assault

BOSTON (WHDH) - As Britney Taylor publically accuses New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown of sexual assault, victims advocates say coming forward takes courage.

At the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, advocates say it is hard for anyone to cope with that kind of pressure, especially if the case gets thrust into the spotlight.

“The reality is that for high-profile cases, it is not about the trauma that the survivor went through, but it is usually about, ‘You’re ruining their life. You’re ruining his life,” Katia Santiago of the BARCC says.

Advocates say that even after the #MeToo movement, those making the accusations often face people who do not believe or even shame them.

They encourage talking with someone after seeking medical attention.

“Seek someone to talk to,” Santiago says. “A trauma-informed counselor. So they can continue their paths to healing.”

In the Antonio Brown case, the accuser has said that speaking out has removed the shame she felt surrounding the alleged incident.

Advocates say that they offer options for victims of sexual assault but they say that everyone’s path to healing is different.

“I don’t think everyone should do it but, if they are ready, and if they feel confident and they have a supportive system yes. They should come up and say it,” Santiago says.

The BARCC says that following high-profile cases they often see an uptick in calls to their hotline. They also see an increase in requests for legal help and counseling.

Anyone who is looking for assistance from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center can call their 24-hour hotline at 800-841-8371 or chat with an advocate at barcc.org/chat between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

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