Sexual assault victim shares her story of survival

This week honors victims of crimes, one woman is sharing her story to offer hope.
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 10:24 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It can happen to men and women and it also happens to teens, who are the most vulnerable. In fact, one in three teens will experience a domestic violence relationship. Emily-Anne Buck was one of those teens. Now, as an adult, she’s using her experience to help others.

“I was in a relationship at 15 and 16 years old, and it was abusive, in every type of abuse that you that you would know, that you would be aware of which there was a sexual assault in that relationship,” said Buck.

But at the time of that relationship, she didn’t understand that what she was going through was wrong. “I had no clue, no clue. There were people in my school who picked up on warning signs, and I remember being asked if I was and I always said no. I would say that’s the failure of your textbook, where, in wellness class, we just didn’t learn everything we needed to know.,” she said after more than a year of abuse, she got out. Now, she speaks to teens to share her story, to hopefully encourage them to speak out.

“There was never an emphasis on high school to college-age kids learning about sexual assault, but now we are bringing awareness to it. We have teenagers all the way through college-age kids, which is the most age group that this happens to, but parents also get to be aware of what their kids might be experiencing as well, which we don’t always see the warning signs”

She said warning signs include isolation, jealousy from the abuser, and controlling behaviors. She said once the abuse stops, that is when the healing begins.

“The healing process will only start when you speak that out loud. Speak it into existence and know that it did happen to you because we have to recognize that. So, try to overcome that fear first, but in that fear, I know you feel the blame game that you’re to blame, and that you’re embarrassed, but I promise, you have more courage than you’ll ever know of yourself if you just make that first step to tell somebody and you will find help.”

Emily-Anne is now happily married with two young boys. She thanks the adults in her life that helped her get through. She is also pushing for Marsy’s Law in Tennessee. It would give equal rights to crime victims and alert them when their abusers are released from jail. It would also include more information on what’s to come and what actions they can take as a victim.

The week of April 18 - 24 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and Tennessee. Purple ribbons and lights are there to show support and honor victims of crime.

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