Media highlight Caron, Mitchell sexual assault study

WVII (Channel 7) reported on a new journal article by Sandra Caron, professor of family relations and human sexuality in the College of Education and Human Development, and Deborah Mitchell, a retired University of Maine police officer, that explores the reasons why victims of sexual assault decide to stay silent. Caron and Mitchell interviewed 15 college women ages 19-24 who had never told anyone about being sexually assaulted — not the authorities, not even a close friend or family member. Their study, published in the journal Violence Against Women, offers insights for individuals and institutions to support victims, as well as to develop programs that embolden survivors to discuss their experiences. “It’s not okay. If no one reports this crime, it’s just going to continue and if one perpetrator gets away with assaulting an individual, they are just going to go on to assault more people so they think they are going to get away with this,” Mitchell told WVII. “If they are going to remain silent then how are they going to heal, healing begins when people share their trauma, and we need to do that. We need to help women share their voice and feel like we can speak,” added Caron. WMTW (Channel 8, Portland) and shared a UMaine News release about the study.