Sexual violence affects everyone. Sexual assault is an issue that touches all of our lives. Yet, we never talk about it. The silence around this issue means that many women and men are left to suffer in isolation instead of being able to heal with community support.

Often people believe that sexual violence, whether it's sexual assault, stalking, or relationship violence, only affects the two people in the relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. Generally, there are opportunities for people to intervene in situations before they escalate. Intervention can take the form of providing a loving reality check for a friend in an abusive relationship, not laughing at jokes that demean women or those that make light of sexual assault or calling out a friend who talks about getting a girl drunk so he can hook up with her.

If you have a mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend or girlfriend, then you have a vested interest in stopping sexual violence. Your voice can and does make a difference. Stand up and speak out.