New website aims to help Colorado victims of sexual violence | AspenTimes.com

New website aims to help Colorado victims of sexual violence

Bridget Hagen
The Aspen Times

A campaign launched this month by the Global Change Project called "Break the Silence Colorado: Sexual Violence Awareness and Support for Survivors" encourages victims of sexual violence to use MapYourVoice.org, which provides a safe platform for victims to report their assault and find local support.

An estimated 87 percent of victims of sexual violence remain silent about their experiences, and MapYourVoice's goal is to change that, officials with the project said Wednesday.

The website provides a free, anonymous way to report sexual violence, and it provides tips for ensuring user privacy.

"It's hard to find a safe place" for sexual violence support, founder Jeni Ambrose said after announcing the launch of the site for Colorado victims.

A map shows where assaults have been reported in an effort to illustrate how widespread sexual violence is, and the data collected by the website will be used to find solutions to end the problem, she said.

"There's so much value once we get enough people using the process because with only 13 percent reporting, there's a lot of missing data," Ambrose said.

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The prevalence of sexual violence is higher in Colorado than in the United States overall — 23.8 percent of women in Colorado experience sexual violence during their lifetime, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. The national rate is 18.3 percent.

The campaign seeks to raise awareness for this statewide issue.