DENVER (CBS4) – A rally Sunday at Colorado’s capitol on the #MeToo campaign gathered victims and leaders from various advocacy groups to bring more awareness to sexual assault and highlight resources available in the state.
“We must teach our children and ourselves that our bodies are our own,” said Brie Franklin, the executive director of Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “We are not entitled to anyone else’s body without their consent.”
Tweets using hashtag #MeToo on Twitter have brought new energy to campaign that started more than 10 years ago. High profile cases have also forced the conversation many considered too difficult to discuss. This rally showed support for all the victims coming forward and also motivated anyone in the audience to fight for a way to end this problem. More than 100 people made it out in the afternoon to support the effort.
“I choose to identify myself as the victim of childhood sexual abuse and incest,” one speaker said.
Different organizations participated and several victims shared their individual experiences but all had a common theme. Speakers came from both major political parties and various backgrounds. Sexual assault happens too often and to too many people. This issue hurts both men and women and victims emerge at all ages.
“The impacts that that has on our community is tremendous and so it is a matter of public health,” said Angela Engel, co-founder of Uniting 4 Kids.
Americans are sexually assaulted every 98 seconds and one in six women have faced rape, according to a recent report by CBS News highlighting the #MeToo campaign. The rally comes just days after lawmakers in Washington called for mandatory training to prevent harassment in the workplace.
“We all need to make sure that we help those folks that may not know where to turn,” said state Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, a Republican from Adams County.
CCASA, The Blue Bench and Uniting 4 Kids were just some of the advocacy groups appealing to the crowd to help connect victims and their loved ones to the services they provide. They also highlighted that the progress happening with the moment can be empowering and give them hope for the future.
“In the next generation that’s telling their narrative that the hashtag is not me, not today, and not ever,” said Engel.