TW/SA Minnesota Rape Survivor has a very important message for kids
Warning trigger: sexual assault/rape
Having a conversation with Danielle Leukam today feels a lot like it did just over a year ago. She is funny, energetic (I have things to do !), and eager to tell his story so others know they are not alone. But it’s also different because she’s walked a million miles to help other victims since then and started a nonprofit called WISH (We Inspire Survivor Healing).
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A year ago on the radio in Rochester, Minnesota, Danielle and I were talking because the man who was holding her captive, raping her multiple times (with her young son in the next room) was eventually sentenced to prison. She was ready to tell her story to the media.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Danielle arrived at the studio bang on time, full of energy at 6:55. “Is it early for you?” I asked. “No, I’m up around four most days, so that’s fine.” It’s a sign of someone who has a passion inside…in this case, a passion for making sure victims of sexual assault/rabies know they’re not alone. You. Are. Not. Only.
“So above all, I just want other victims and survivors to know that they are not alone and that there are resources that can help them. You are stronger than you think. And I would always encourage people get the medical help they need and network with other survivors.
She also has something for the general public, “…stop making it a women’s issue or a victim’s issue. Focus on the cause of the sexual assault, who the perpetrator is.”
james – So how do we start focusing on authors?
Danielle – I was in therapy for a while and my therapist told me that children who are abused more often have to grow up to be abusers themselves. So we just have to make sure that our children are treated well and, you know, learn consent at a young age and learn that they are responsible for their bodies. And if someone else is trying to take control of their body, that’s not okay and they should tell an adult.
james – Is it as simple as something like “Hey, if I don’t know, Andrea doesn’t want a hug from grandpa.”
Danielle – Yeah. And Grandpa should respect that. Or grandma or cousins or whatever.
Click PLAY to hear it on the air, we play games, we laugh and we also have serious conversations… because this is real life. Click HERE to see the highly unpublished automatic transcription.
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