#MeToo encouraging sex assault victims to speak up

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FLINT (WJRT) - (12/6/2017) - The hashtag "Me Too" went viral earlier this year as people came forward with sexual harassment or assault accusations.

Wednesday, Time Magazine named the women behind the movement as the 2017 Person of the Year.

Flint Police Detectives say this spotlight is critical.

Lt. Jason Cate over the Flint Detective Bureau said he reads a new case on sexual allegations every day. But, he knows there are more. He explained many are just choosing not to report.

"I think it's a great thing, you know, whatever it takes to put the bad guy away is what I care and what we care about as a whole," he explained.

Lt. Cate is hopeful the #MeToo movement will continue to encourage more sexual assault accusers to speak up and get justice.

"I do believe based on my 22 years of experience that there are a lot of victims that are afraid to come forward," he added. "And, I can imagine how hard it can be."

And Lt. Cate says police want to help, "We want you to come forward, we want to do everything we can to help you. We don't want to scare you, we don't want to intimidate you and we want the bad guys going to jail."

When dealing with a sex crime investigation, detectives with the Criminal Sexual Conduct Division work side-by-side with an advocate from the YWCA.

"You know, a victims' advocate can provide a lot of resources that we don't," he said. "They can offer counseling, you know, they can help them with medical situations."

The goal is to not only to get justice for each person who comes forward; but, Lt. Cate says if the attacker isn't caught, they'll likely take advantage of more people.

"So if it's something that you don't want to do for yourself, obviously we encourage you too; but, we want you to come forward for that next victim that could be my daughter," he said.

If you've been sexually assaulted, it's possible to report anonymously. You can call the Flint Police Department or report over Facebook.

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