Press Pass: Sexual Harassment Outreach - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Press Pass: Sexual Harassment Outreach

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Former NBC Today show co-anchor Matt Lauer joins a growing list of high-profile men terminated from their jobs after allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace. 

The incidents are inspiring other women to share their past experiences and to get help.

Compass Rape Crisis and Counseling Center is hosting two public group discussions Monday in the valley to start the local conversations and to provide assistance to victims in need.

"It's a victory for victims mainly, because it's been going on for so long and now they finally got their voice and now they're able to speak out on what they experienced," Dawn Powell said, program manager at the center.

The national conversation picked up steam in October after allegations surfaced against Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein. Since then, the #Me too campaign to denounce sexual assault and harassment has also picked up steam and supporters. 

Before it was a well known hashtag on social media, the "Me too" campaign was started nearly 10 years ago by Social Activist Tarana Burke.

"Tarana Burke is not a household name, it wasn't until Hollywood brought it up that it became popular and at the same time it offered women to feel obligated to come forward," Powell said.

Powell says her facility and the timing is creating a safe space for women to share their feelings with professionals and to begin the healing process.
But she admits that women are now fearing potential backlash, especially for speaking up after alleged incident took place in the past who face disbelief. 

"Mainly because they took so long to come forward," she said. "But you have to realized the circumstances that you're under, a lot of times they're victim blamed."

Compass Rape Crisis and counseling center will hold two #Me too public discussion groups at the Davis Family YMCA in Boardman from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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