April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the annual campaign hit Albany on Wednesday night. Many came out to Washington Park to stand in solidarity with survivors and raise awareness.
"He put me through a lot [in] that process, but the one thing he couldn't take away from me was my voice," said sexual assault survivor Jasmine Shea.
For Shea, the first step was getting up. As a survivor she was determined to live her life and earn her college degree.
- April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
- Organizers say one in six women and one in 33 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime
- Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center has a 24 hour sexual assault hotline: 518-447-7716
For Melissa Clifford, it was her family, best friend, and professors who helped her after surviving a sexual assault.
"I think I have such a big heart, and I have a lot of perseverance, and that's truly what got me where I am today," Clifford said.
Clifford and Shea are among the many speaking out and sharing stories at the 38th annual Take Back the Night in Albany County.
This year's theme is "I Ask."
"'I ask' is all about asking for consent and making sure we have permission anytime we're being sexual with people," said Rachel Wilson, Albany County Crime Victim Prevention educator.
Organizers say one in six women, and one in 33 men, will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. That is why they say it is important to continue to raise awareness about sexual violence.
"Honestly just getting the message across that you're not alone and life can get so traumatic, and so challenging, and so tough, but know there is an end and you will totally get through this," Clifford said.
Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center has a 24 hour sexual assault hotline: 518-447-7716.