SYRACUSE N.Y. — Vera House is a local organization that works to provide resources for domestic and sexual abuse victims. This organization recently released a statement in response to the sexual harassment allegations against New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The associate director of prevention education at Vera House, Amanda EyeAm, said that the news of the claims was unexpected.
“To have these allegations it’s just been really devastating and disappointing,” EyeAm said.
EyeAm also spoke to the the patterns of sexual abuse when it comes to those in power.
“It silences people who have been victimized, who may have thought about coming forward but realized what that actually means,” EyeAm said.
In cases where the accused is of a higher profile or social status, EyeAm said, too often those are the people society cares about most. She believes that in a cases like the one involving Cuomo, the lasting effects on victims goes deeper than most people believe.
“The long term effects are not just with that individual. It really spread into communities, into systems, into our society as a whole,” EyeAm said. “And so some of those long term effects on an individual level might be fear to speak up, fear to wear that new dress that you just bought because its showing off your curves. There’s trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, that constant “did I do something to provoke this?”
EyeAm said she hopes that the topic of sexual abuse and harassment can shift from a private taboo to a public discussion. She feels that if more people are aware of resources, like the ones available through Vera House, more comfort and confidence can be found there and more victims will come forward.