Duluth and Superior Combine to Honor Survivors

Mayors Proclaimed Aug. 16 as Break the Silence Day in the Twin Ports

DULUTH, Minn. – Mayors Emily Larson and Jim Paine joined sexual assault survivors from Duluth and Superior, as well as their allies on Park point Wednesday to dedicate a day towards breaking silence.

“Therefore, we, Jim Paine and Emily Larson, Mayors of the City of Superior and the City of Duluth, do officially proclaim August 16th, 2017 as Break the Silence Day in Superior and Duluth,” said the Mayors simultaneously, reading from the joint proclamation.

The local proclamation coincides with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton issuing a similar statewide proclamation. But including Superior is a first step in taking Minnesota’s “Break the Silence” program national.

“People are starting to wake up and understand that sexual assault is a problem,” said Jenna Monnier, Administrator for Break the Silence: Twin Ports. “They’re starting to understand that survivors’ voices need to be heard.”

In 2016, Twin Ports advocacy groups, like Duluth’s Program to Aid Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) and Superior’s Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA), worked with more than 200 survivors of sexual assault. But those are only the victims who came forward. Advocates say many don’t because the victims are afraid nobody believes them.

“We just want survivors of sexual assault to know we believe them, we stand with them,” said Monnier. “We think they’re strong and courageous for speaking out.”

Monnier also believes there’s more which can be done for survivors.

“Offering survivors spaces to tell their stories, changing the way we talk about sexual assaults, changing the way we teach our children about what healthy sex is,” said Monnier.

According to statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), a sexual assault happens in the United States every 98 seconds and 10% of victims are male.

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