Local News

Community leaders call on community to stand against sexual harassment

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane community leaders are rising up and taking a stand against sexual assault and harassment. A short, but powerful black and white video released Monday comes with a strong message and shocking statistics. 

Andra Day's song Rise Up plays as the camera pans down a line of men. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl, Spokane Mayor Dave Condon, community leader Phillip Tyler, and Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer sit solemnly next to each other. 

"Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted," Sheriff Knezovich said looking straight into the camera. 

The video continues with more statistics, including the fact that one in four women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. That's a statistic Tyler, the man who organized this video, knows too well. When the #MeToo campaign sparked and social media and the news became flooded with reports of sexual assault, Tyler's wife told him "me too."

"I cried. I was angry. There was nothing I could do because it had already happened. But, I cried for her," Tyler said. 

Then he did something about it. He started writing what would become a video calling on the community to take a stand and rise up against sexual assault and harassment. Mayor Condon said hearing those facts put the issue into perspective.

"We're all impacted by this, whether professionally or in our family and friends and our networks. And it always, it brings it home about the magnitude of this," Condon said. 

This video is much more than a statement, according to Tyler. 

"We wanted to start an action that couldn't be stopped, that would keep going and start a conversation that needed to be had. And hopefully it gets to the point someday that we don't have to have these conversations," Tyler said.

Tyler encouraged victims to reach out to local resources if they need help or talk with a trusted friend or family member. 

"We will rise up and if we come together, we can move mountains. And I really think that if we, as a community, if we, as family members, if we, as coworkers come together, we can really make some substantive change in this discussion."