RAINN campaign encourages victims of sexual violence to speak out

On Tuesday, Francis Marion University hosted its first-ever RAINN Day (Rape, Abuse, Incest & National Network) to bring attention to sexual violence. Sexual abuse is a silent source of pain for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country every year.

It particularly resonates on college campuses, as national statistics show college-aged students are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other age group.

This is one reason why Arthenius Jackson, 26, coordinated the event, which was called "Speak Out."

She also felt passionate about hosting the event, because she too was a victim of sexual violence and did not speak up about it for 20 years.

Three months ago, Arthenius sat down with her family and told them what had happened when she was six years old and was relieved that she finally did.

"I feel so much better after letting them know and letting them know how I felt, and I know it was a tough pill for them to swallow. I know it's getting better every day," she said.

Francis Marion University law enforcement is concerned about the silence that students like Arthenius keep. Over the past four years, there was one report of sexual violence on the university's campus, but that doesn't mean there aren't other cases.

54 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police, according to RAINN statistics.

"We just hate that we are missing those others who don't want to report it. Who are scared for whatever reason, and we just hope that we can reach out to them and convince them we need to know," said Nicole Brown, an officer at the university.

The official RAINN Day will be held on Thursday, September 26.