County responds to sexual violence
By Ben Rodgers
April was officially Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Waupaca County after a declaration was signed at the courthouse on Wednesday, April 26.
Jessica Kaminske, a sexual assault survivor, told her story and how it changed her life.
Growing up, she was molested from ages 5 to 9. She was raped in college, held hostage and raped in Chicago, then was in a physical, verbal, emotional and sexually abusive relationship for 3 1/2 years.
“Although I’ve been working on this for years, I’ll never be able to stop the effect this has had on my life,” Kaminske said.
She said her life has been threatened multiple times and that her assaulters have gotten off easy when faced with the charges.
“It took many years and a very serious downward spiral for me to get help,” Kaminske said. “That was four years ago, and I still struggle today.”
But today she sees hope. She sees more resources available for victims. She sees more people willing to listen.
She also sees more work that needs to be done.
“I was never believed, I was called a liar,” Kaminske said. “We need to believe the victims of sexual assault so they can feel safe and find the courage to deal with the fear that lives inside them.”
She said sexual assault does not know class, status or location. She said it doesn’t matter what a person is wearing, who they are dating, where they are or what they are doing.
She said under no circumstance is sexual assault OK.
But from her first-hand experience, she said there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“You can survive sexual assault, you can overcome what happens,” Kaminske said.
Her presentation was called a “profound message,” by Dick Koeppen, Waupaca County Board chairman.
Koepen signed the declaration, but first said it’s up to everyone to change.
“We need our voices to change this sick culture of sexual violence,” Koeppen said.