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Sexual assault lecture encourages dialogue

Jessica Vravis | Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Open dialogue is one of the greatest tools to help eliminate violence against women, said Tena Dellaca-Hedrick, a victim advocate and outreach educator at the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center, in a lecture Tuesday.

“Silence really is a killer,” she said. “By not talking about issues we don’t address them.”

The Belles Against Violence Office sponsored Dellaca-Hedrick’s lecture, “From Passion to Purpose: a Survivor’s Story,” held at Saint Mary’s.

Dellaca-Hedrick said it is important to not make generalizations about survivors of violence, who are more common than some might think.

“Making assumptions about people and experiences victimizes them,” she said. “It victimizes them all over again.”

Dellaca-Hedrick said the most important part of her job is to inform survivors of the options they have to respond to their assault. Part of supporting a victim, either as a professional or friend, is accepting and supporting the decisions the survivor makes after the assault, she said.

Senior Brianda Salas said the lecture changed her preconceptions about how common violence against women is.

“When [Dellaca-Hedrick] said that three quarters of women experience some kind of sexual violence in their lifetime, I was shocked,” she said. “Simply burying the issue in the back of our minds isn’t going to help anyone. There needs to be awareness.”