ROCKFORD (WREX) — Only Yes Means Yes is the city of Rockford’s latest mantra to put a stop to sexual assault in the Stateline.
“Talking and speaking about these things, naming them and having really difficult conversations is how we start the change,” Jennifer Cacciapaglia, with the Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention says.
According to Rockford Police, the number of sexual assaults reported reported from 2016 to 2018 float from from roughly 115 to 140. But, police say those numbers illustrate a misleading picture of the problem in our area.
“We know our number of reported sexual assaults are not accurate,” Lt. Kurt Whisenand with Rockford Police says.
That’s because police estimate more than half of sexual assaults go unreported.
“The numbers that we have are probably just a small percentage of what is actually occurring in the community,” Whisenand says.
They say shame and guilt play a role in whether those survivors come forward.
“We still labor under the delusion that it is a survivors responsibility for what happened to them,” Cacciapaglia says.
To help pull more survivors from the shadows, Cacciapaglia says the community needs to make a change in how it approaches the problem.
“We will no longer tolerate a narrative that questions a survivor,” she says. “We will no longer tolerate or endorse an environment where survivors are not believed.”