Local sexual assault survivor shares her own 'Silence Breaker' story

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - For some sexual assault survivors, it can take years to build their voice and their bravery back up.

"It takes time to be able to find your courage. It takes time to be honest with yourself about what happened to you," sexual abuse survivor Imani Capri said.

In 2017, #MeToo has become much more than a movement. It's momentum, that's given countless women the courage to speak up.

Wednesday, TIME named 'The Silence Breakers,' its Person of the Year.

"My first thought is, there is not enough room in an entire magazine to give credit to all of the silence breakers who really deserve credit for what we are seeing today," Cleveland Rape Crisis Center President and CEO Sondra Miller said.

Capri understands what many of those women went through. Her stepfather sexually abused her for years.

"I'm breaking the silence and I'm no longer going to be his ally because I'm breaking the silence," Capri said.

It took Capri years to find her voice. When she did, she took her stepfather to court and won in more ways than she expected.

"I remember, at one time in court, actually looking at the jury and saying, 'I don't, it doesn't matter what you decide. The victory is that I've broken my silence. That I'm not feeling the same type of shame anymore,'" Capri said.

Capri said she felt victory, she hopes other survivors achieve. Although she said the TIME cover is a start, she also knows there are many faces and voices that still need to be seen and heard.

"Being assaulted is not a badge of shame and, so, the reason I show my face and I share my story is because I'm not ashamed. I shouldn't be ashamed, and I want to be an example of anyone else who is struggling to release that shame to let them know that they can," she said.

Capri's stepfather is serving more than 20 years in prison.

Because of the recent high profile sexual assault cases, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has taken nearly 2,000 more calls this year than they did last year. In 2017, they've answered 6,429 calls.

Since Oct. 1, the center is averaging 22 calls a day, compared to the average of 13 calls a day they received in 2016.

To reach the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center hotline, call or text 216-619-6192 or 440-423-2020.

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