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Sexual assault continues to be a problem

LAWTON, Okla._According to the U.S. Department of Justice, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States every two minutes.

This startling statistic hits close to home for many people in southwest Oklahoma who have fallen victim to this crime. April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and advocates are using this time to educate people on how to prevent it.

A Women's Sexual Assault seminar will be April 5 in Lawton to educate women of all ages on how to keep from becoming a victim. Women who have been assaulted will be there to tell their stories and how they got through that terrible time in their lives.

Myrtle Young became a prevention advocate after she too was sexually assaulted.

"People don't want to come forward because they know...oh my God, it's devastating enough when you get hurt and then to find there is no help and then the stigma of all that. The fear, the fright, there are so many things that go along with that," said Young.

Young says the most important thing she can teach is prevention. If people have the tools, they can know to do and what not to do in a situation.

"If you panic and you're afraid, it's already too late. So you always have to be thinking, there is some way out, there is some kind of help," explained Young.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Danielle Chavez says after the incident women are emotional but they are also in denial.

"You have to be there to support them and let them know that they can trust you. That you are there for them and that you care and no matter what you believe there story and what happened to them," said Chavez.

Chavez says many women are terrified to get help for fear no one will believe them.

"They risk their own safety and own medical treatment that is necessary because they are ashamed and they have no reason to be ashamed," said Chavez.

Young, just like many other women, didn't come forward at first because she was being threatened by the person that was assaulting her.

"First of all a person has to have a lot of heart, be   courageous and come forward and not fear of retaliation."

The women's seminar will be Saturday, April 5, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Owens Center in Lawton. It is free to the public and there will be discussions on several topics, as well as entertainment and vendors.

Seventeen sexual assaults and rapes have already been reported to the Lawton Police Department so far this year. In 2013, 78 were reported and in 2012, 42 were reported.

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