National sexual misconduct cases have potential domino effect to - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

National sexual misconduct cases have potential domino effect to spark more conversations

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

New allegations of sexual misconduct keep pouring about high profile men in both Hollywood and the world of politics. Advocates who have worked to give a voice to victims of sexual harassment or assault are hoping the national attention can serve a broader purpose.

"For me, it's not important that the world hears the stories of every survivor of sexual misconduct, harassment, sexual violence in general," explained Arekia Bennett. "For me, it's that we see the power in other people being able to speak their truths and that we heal in the process and that we're able to name those things."

Arekia Bennett formed an organization called G.I.R.L. (Gathering Information Related to Ladies) while she was a Jackson State University student. She began to realize that young women needed a safe space to share their stories.

"I think there's something really really powerful about watching another woman come forward," said Bennett. "We have to recognize that not everyone's at the same place. What you might be willing to share, I might not be willing to share yet. But to hear you and see you is power to me. It's a transactional kind of thing."

The State of Mississippi was forced to take a hard-line stance on the issue just last year.

"We have a zero tolerance for anyone that believes that they might be able to sexually harass an individual in the workplace or create a hostile work environment," described Governor Phil Bryant in September 2016. "Or I think discriminate because of gender in the workplace."

Two cases were settled regarding Mississippi Department of Public Safety employees. One was against Mike Perkins with the Bureau of Narcotics. In the complaint, it said Perkins had a certificate in his office from sexual harassment training with the word "failed" stamped on it.

Governor Bryant signed this executive order in January that requires employees of state agencies now complete a Sexual Harassment Awareness and Prevention webinar. It's available for public access at this link.

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