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A candlelight vigil for survivors of sexual assault

ALPENA, Mich. — Every 98 seconds another child or adult is sexually assaulted in the united states. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Hope Shores Alliance and Alpena Community College stood up to sexual assault at Wednesday’s candlelight vigil.

The candlelight vigil was a celebration of survivorship. Hope Shores, ACC and special guests talked about advocacy and incorrect ideas about rape in american culture. A few survivors did not expect to share their story, but outreach advocate Jeanine Kaltz says survivors openly spoke on their trauma because they felt safe.

“The goal was to make everyone feel like they were represented because sexual assault thrives in silence and when people don’t feel like they’re being seen or heard, they’re less likely to come forward,” said Kaltz. “So we lit 12 candles. From those 12 candles we then shared with our neighbors and lit each others.”

Contact the Hope Shores Alliance crisis hotline for counseling, emergency shelter, and long–term housing at 800-396-9129. The hotline is open 24 hours a day to provide survivors and families of survivors access to free resources. All calls are confidential.