KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and one Knoxville native is sharing her story about sexual assault and is now advocating on behalf of victims.
Emily-Anne Buck knows how hard it is to talk about sexual assault,
“I know from a personal story a lot of women and men will bury that story,” she said. “They will just sweep it under the rug so they can just move on with their lives, but that’s so dangerous to healing and finding that mental health.”
Her story with the topic began at 16 years old with her boyfriend at the time.
“I started talking about domestic violence 12 years ago because of a personal story of mine from high school,” Buck said.
Now, she’s turning her past situation into a learning tool for others.
“The words that were spoken to me through abuse were that I was left over’s and that I would never be loved and so I had to reach that point where I picked up all those broken pieces of my self-love and my self-worth and said that is a lie,” Buck explained.
It’s a lie Emily-Anne had to overcome herself and now she teaches others how to do the same,
“There is no timeline for moving on. It can be a process. So, it’s so important to listen to somebody that’s experienced that.”
Now, Buck is married with two children and speaks to youth about warning signs of sexual assault, teen dating violence, and domestic violence.
“This isn’t textbook, this isn’t something you read about in wellness class,” she said. “This really does happen to women and men and so we need to have ears to listen and be willing to support and encourage people who are going through it.”
She knows that telling her story may encourage others to do the same.
“There’s so many young kids who don’t think this is wrong,” Buck said. “They think that they are just allowed to do these things and that they’re compliant to it, or they’re too scared.”
She added, “you’re going to have people who don’t believe you, but you have to keep your head strong because the truth will always come out.”
The end of April is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Many people in Tennessee are asking for Marsy’s Law which would bring equal and enforceable rights for the victims of sexual assault.