Every 68 seconds, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.
Monique Harris knows that reality all too well. Thirteen years ago, she became a victim of sexual assault at the hands of her own husband.
A Story to Share
After two years of living with the long-term emotional impact of the abuse, Mrs. Harris sought help and found her voice. Today, she is an empowered survivor. She’s sharing her story and making it her mission to help other victims of sexual assault heal and move forward with their lives.
“I was in denial for a long time. My first step was going online and finding communities of survivors. It was the first time I’d seen any acknowledgement of the victims and how sexual assault affects them. I realized then that I wasn’t imagining it.”
Faces of Strength
One in three Hispanic women in the United States have reported unwanted sexual contact in their lifetime.
More than one in four Black women have been raped in their lifetime.
Nearly a third of adults with intellectual disabilities and nearly half of all transgender people have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.
We Are Here
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services (CSS) educates the community on domestic violence, which frequently intersects with sexual assault. CSS’s Prevention and Intervention Services division emphasizes prevention of violence committed by intimate partners, as in the case of Mrs. Harris. In fact, intimate partner sexual violence is the most common type of sexual assault and often goes unreported.
Get Help Now
Anyone who is in immediate danger should call 911. Anyone in need of support for domestic violence or sexual assault can call the 24/7 Greater Charlotte Hope Line at 980-771-HOPE (4673). It’s a free, confidential hotline operated by Safe Alliance, a Mecklenburg County partner.
Today, Mrs. Harris serves on Mecklenburg County and Safe Alliance’s Domestic Violence Speakers Bureau, sharing her story with the community and helping other survivors. Her story has come full circle: Safe Alliance is where Mrs. Harris began the process of rebuilding and reimagining her life.
“At Safe Alliance, I began peer support with people who’ve lived through similar experiences and situations as mine. I eventually found a therapist who was a good fit, but that peer support is the biggest thing that has helped me to this day.”
Mrs. Harris said she balanced that work with a lot of personal healing and spiritual development. That includes strengthening and leaning on her faith.
“You have to grieve the life you knew to embrace the new you.”
That’s Mrs. Harris’s core message when she speaks with survivors today.
“Right now, my own outlook is pretty great. I’m remarried and my children are a lot older. When I look at what I have now, nothing about my life is anything I would have imagined.”
Survivors looking for support can find it at Community Support Services, which offers both individual and group counseling. Services are free. Call 704-336-3210.