BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — When discussing Donald Trump's recent remarks about grabbing women's genitals and subsequent sexual assault accusations against him, Central Illinoisans should know it's likely that a sexual assault or abuse survivor is listening.
Twenty percent of women and 6 percent of men will be sexually assaulted or abused in her or his lifetime, said Gabe Cripe, YWCA McLean County Stepping Stones' volunteer outreach educator, and Gail Trimpe-Morrow, Illinois State University sexual assault prevention and survivor services coordinator.
"People need to be careful how they respond to his comments because there's a good chance that a survivor is listening," Cripe said.
"It is disturbing that a politician (Trump) endorses the rape culture and dismisses it as 'locker room talk,'" Trimpe-Morrow said.
"Victim-blaming — whether its sexual assault or domestic violence — needs to stop," said Senna Adjabeng, director of Mid Central Community Action's Countering Domestic Violence programs.
There has been no increase in sexual assault or domestic violence reporting in the past week, advocates said.
But survivors are saying that Trump's remarks and ensuing conversations are triggering flashbacks to their own assaults, Cripe said.
"Sexual assault survivors should take care of themselves," Cripe said. "Reach out to a loved one or call the sexual assault hotline."
"Survivors need to know that it is not their fault, they are not alone and ignoring it will not make it go away," Trimpe-Morrow said. "Talk with someone who can aid in your recovery."
Sexual abuse or assault is physical sexual contact of another person without his or her consent or when the person can't give consent, Trimpe-Morrow said. "That includes everything from unwanted touching to penetration," she said.
While ISU's Annual Security Report for 2015 reported that 12 rapes were committed on campus property and two on off-campus property, Trimpe-Morrow said not all off-campus assaults are reported.
Stepping Stones — McLean County's rape crisis center, which helps survivors of sexual assault and abuse and their loved ones — worked with 218 sexual assault survivors and loved ones and provided 1,250 information and referral contacts in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Ninety-two percent of men have not committed sexual abuse or assault, Cripe said.
"Most men are offended by his (Trump's) comments," Cripe said. "But those 92 percent need to speak out and say 'It's not something that we're OK with. It's not how we speak about women.'"
"Support survivors and step in when someone makes an inappropriate comment that objectifies men or women," Trimpe-Morrow said.
Parents can use the current dialogue to teach their children.
"Kids should learn that — if they don't want someone to hug, touch or kiss them — they don't have to," Cripe said.
"Boys should be taught to respect women and not speak about them in derogatory terms," Cripe said.
"The message," Trimpe-Morrow said, "is everyone is deserving of respect."