Dozens show up to sexual assault glo walk in Tuscaloosa as survivors speak

Dozens show up to sexual assault glo walk in Tuscaloosa as survivors speak
(Source: Ugochi Iloka/WBRC)

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Dozens of people in Tuscaloosa took part in a glow walk at Snow Hinton Park Thursday night in honor of sexual assault awareness month.

One of the survivors spoke about not speaking up as a young child and sadly, Turning Point staff said she is one of the hundreds who suffer in silence.

Before nearly 50 people walked in solidarity of sexual assault survivors, Dusty Farrah Steele - a survivor herself - shared devastating memories of abuse during her childhood and as an adult.

"My dad was an alcoholic. He brought friends over who would bother me. Why did you lay there? I froze, and unless you're a survivor, you don't understand, I felt alone - I felt like I couldn't tell anyone," said Steele.

And there are others like her. Turning Point's executive director said Equiler Mahone they got nearly 1,000 calls of sexual abuse on the crisis hotline in 2016, but not all were reported to authorities in some rural counties.

"A lot of people feel ashamed and that's attached to sexual assault and we don't want that to happen," said Mahone.

"There are going to be days when you're not going to feel like getting out of bed, God why? What is my purpose," said Steele.

Dusty wants to use her story to inspire others and speaks at events to empower fellow survivors.

Teal is what you saw a lot of people wearing during the walk. That's because advocates want to encourage others to Think Educate Act and Listen, letting survivors know they don't have to fight this alone.

Law enforcement and victim advocates are teaming up in Tuscaloosa in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Turning Point is an organization that provides services to domestic violence and sexual assault victims. They tied teal ribbons on various first responder vehicles this week.

The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office hopes that when people drive and see the teal ribbons on their cars it will spark conversation and encourage victims to come forward and seek help.

The Tuscaloosa city hall is shining a teal light in support of sexual assault awareness month as well.

Statistics show every 98 seconds someone is being sexually assaulted.

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.