Montana State University Voice Center helps rape victims
Montana State University's Voice Center provides support for rape victims, especially college students. The Voice Center helps students who are struggling with coming forward about their traumatic experiences. Voice Center Advocate Joe Schumacher told us he is with the organization to let people know rape affects men too.
"I think it's imperative we get everybody involved. This is an issue that impacts everybody," said Schumacher.
Schumacher told NBC Montana it is incredibly difficult for rape victims to tell others about their experience. He says they tend to pull back from their normal way of life.
"You can see people that have struggled with their academics, issues with their friends, and just getting people to believe them," explained Schumacher.
Hannah Wahlert is another advocate for the Voice Center and says most students who are attacked don't speak out.
"This does happen on our campus. The national average is one in four women and one in 10 men. Our numbers tend to match up," said Wahlert.
Wahlert said the stories of rape victims shared in Thursday night's meeting helped others know they are not alone.
"They were very intense, very powerful, and uplifting. There was a lot strength in the room today, it was beautiful."
Schumacher says they work to be there for victims from the first time they come forward and throughout the healing process.
"That's one thing that we really push as advocates at the Voice Center. It is so important to believe survivors when they come forward and tell you about an experience that they've had."
According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey, an average of 207,754 people are raped or sexually assaulted every year.