CHARLOTTE, N.C. —  Sexual violence is something that affects millions of Americans. According to The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network [RAINN], every 68 seconds someone in our country is sexually assaulted. 

Organizations nationwide are raising the alarm on this issue as part of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. 

What You Need To Know

  •  Sexual violence impacts millions of Americans 

  •  Organizations are raising the alarm on this issue during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month 

  •  A North Carolina woman is sharing her story to encourage other survivors along their healing journey 

Shana Blake grew up in North Carolina and comes from a family of singers and musicians. A survivor of sexual assault herself, she is using music to remind others they are not alone in their healing journey. 

"I sang in church a lot," Blake said. 

Blake has made a name for herself in the music scene.

On Thursday nights, Blake collaborates with musicians, many she's meeting for the first time, to perform at Smokey Joe's Cafe.

"The atmosphere Shana creates, people just love it," said Charlotte resident Melissa Hudak. "We're one big family here, she's amazing." 

Blake says music brings people together, but it's also helped her get through a painful chapter. 

"My very first real gig was four months after my rape," Blake said. "I was raped in 1993, Thanksgiving weekend. My first gig was on my birthday in 1994." 

 Blake says she went through the trial procedure to ensure her story was told. 

"Unfortunately, he walked," Blake said. "I chose not to take the plea bargain because I felt it was important to tell my story." 

Blake says she has no regrets about going to trial. It's empowered her to inspire other survivors.

"Even though it's 30 years later, I'm still dealing with some of the trauma that happened with my rape and my childhood sexual trauma," Blake said. 

Blake says music has helped her to find the healing she needs. 

"I've spent time working in a recording studio in town. I've met lots of musicians along the way. I've had several bands and been able to have a platform to share songs I've written about my rape and sexual assault experience, unapologetically. Letting people know there are many of us survivors and there's nothing shameful about it. The more I share about it the more empowered I become to share and speak freely about it. It's been a powerful tool. Music is so healing," Blake said. 

In addition to music, Blake says support from Safe Alliance has been pivotal during her healing journey. The organization services those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.

"They can provide resources for you," Blake said. "When I was at my lowest, they provided resources for me to get food services from Second Harvest Food Bank. The support groups I've been a part of have been so helpful. I'm grateful." 

Blake is encouraging all survivors to keep going and never give up on your healing journey. 

"There are people that understand and who are on your side. There's unfortunately more of us than we want to be aware of, but we're here and we're becoming more powerful," Blake said.