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    Sex Assault Victim and Advocate Speaks Out for Justice for Canadian Rape Victims

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    Karen Kuntz, a sexual assault victim advocate, author and rape survivor, has spoken out in support of the women who recently alleged that CBC star Jian Ghomeshi sexually assaulted them. She explains why victims of sexual assault wait to come forward and what it will take to create a safe forum in which women can tell their stories.

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    (prREACH)

    TORONTO (November 17, 2014) – Karen Kuntz, a sexual assault victim advocate, author and rape survivor, has spoken out in support of the women who recently alleged that CBC star Jian Ghomeshi sexually assaulted them.

    “Many have wondered why these women waited to come forward,” says Kuntz, who was raped as a young woman and now works to help fellow victims get help. “There is a stigma that holds a sexual assault victim prisoner. In some way, victims feel responsible for what has happened to them. They feel powerless and ashamed – especially when their assailant has a high profile or is well respected. We, as a society, have to change that.”

    Sexual assault and domestic violence have been at the top of the North American media conversation throughout the latter half of 2014, as American football player Ray Rice lost his position with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens after video showing him beating his wife unconscious were discovered. This sparked a string of domestic violence and sexual assault stories across Canadian and American media.

    Kuntz wrote Keep This to a Whisper to tell her personal story of survival and how she reclaimed her life after being brutally attacked. She has also founded “Whisper For Now,” a support website that encourages victims to tell their story so that they can reclaim their power and move on with their lives.

    Joined by a panel of experts, Kuntz also educates groups and organizations about surviving sexual assault and harassment. The panel includes Kuntz, a photojournalist documenting Kuntz’s journey, and two constables who have personal experiences with sexual assault and specialize in solving sex crimes.

    As of Monday, November 3, 2014, more than 3,300 tweets using the hashtag “#beenrapedneverreported,” enumerated the reasons why so many Canadian women chose not to report their sexual assault. Their reasons ran the spectrum from, “I didn’t think anyone would believe me,” to “I knew he would never be convicted.”

    “The real problem lies in the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘safe space’ – besides social media where women can hide behind their Twitter handles – in which sexual assault victims can come forward in our national culture,” Kuntz said. “We have to open up the national dialogue and change both the way we talk about victims and how the Canadian judicial system handles rape and sexual assault cases. We have to empower victims instead of protecting alleged abusers.”

    For more information about Karen Kuntz’s work or to request an interview, Call 403-979-1767, or visit http://www.whisperfornow.com/ or contact [email protected]

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    “Many have wondered why these women waited to come forward,” says Karen Kuntz, who was raped as a young woman and now works to help fellow victims get help. “There is a stigma that holds a sexual assault victim prisoner. In some way, victims feel responsible for what has happened to them. They feel powerless and ashamed – especially when their assailant has a high profile or is well respected. We, as a society, have to change that.”
    - Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Karen Kuntz
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    Karen Kuntz

    403-979-1767

    http://www.whisperfornow.com

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