Local crisis center sees impacts from spike in sexual misconduct complaints

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) –  Matt Lauer is the latest public figure to face allegations of unwanted sexual behavior.

The accusations left some Chattanoogans shocked, while others not surprised.

“I think that anyone involved in this kind of crime should be held accountable, but at the same time I think we have to have a good balance.  Right now it seems like a lot of people are rushing to judgment,” Chattanooga resident Danny Tullier said.

It seems more victims are sharing their story

Bergen Aldahir works at Partnership for families, children and adults in Chattanooga helping victims of sexual assault and rape.

She previously worked in TV, and as a reporter was once sexually harassed on the job.

“The man I was going to interview at the time he looked at me and he said I would never let my wife leave the house like that that is just very provocative though it looks beautiful on you, okay, that’s harassment,” Aldahir said.
“The point isn’t that I was showing cleavage and I wasn’t showing cleavage, but if I had been that’s still not inappropriate, his words are inappropriate.”

Aldahir defined sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances or comments that makes a person feel uncomfortable.

She said sexual assault is an unwanted physical contact in sexual nature, like groping.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal on its own right, but sexual harassment is different from sexual assault in that sexual assault an actual non-consensual event has occurred,” Aldahir said.

The partnership center where Aldahir works is projected to have helped more victims this year than previous years.

That could partly be due to a culture change where victims are feeling more comfortable to report.

“We believe courage is contagious and we see that and so as one speaks out it’s encouraging another to find their voice,” Aldahir said.

Awareness is likely helping too.

If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault the Partnership does have a crisis hotline you can call: 423.755.2700

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News

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