Savannah city leaders, advocates discuss sexual assault prevention

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Tea Lynor saw red flags and knew to speak up.

“If you have something to say, say it,” Lynor said. “Speak loud and without shame.”

Lynor said she reported her college professor for sexual misconduct and harassment in 2019.

“It’s disturbing to have your discomfort, your fear and the predatory actions of your professor be so out in the open that everyone sees it and everyone feels it,” she said.

Lynor claimed the investigation was finished after two months and the professor still works at the school. 

“There are young people who go to college with wide eyes and fresh imaginations for what their future could look like and when those young people come back, a shadow of the light they once were, how dare any institution, any judicial system and any society tell them to move on,” Lynor said. “To get over it, to stop lying, to grow a thicker skin and accept that this is the world we’ve inherited so live in it.”

Local colleges’ annual crime reports show between 2017 and 2019,

The Astrals, a non-profit group, offer anonymous support under the guise of superhero costumes. Organizers said after hearing multiple testimonies like Lynor’s, they are working on their own investigation. For that reason, they would not disclose the school where the professor works.

“This is not new,” one member said. “This is something we’ve all heard whispers about. Perhaps we whisper because we, too, feel powerless.”

Alderman Kurtis Purtee is emphasizing the importance of prevention and education in stopping sexual violence.

“We know that at least 47 percent of college students’ sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use,” Purtee said. “We know that there are several institutions of higher education within our community and we know that Savannah is a city that is abundant with alcohol.”

The District 6 Alderman said it’s important for city council to monitor the number and location of liquor licenses and educate businesses on how to help.

“Sexual assault isn’t just about rape,” he said. “It’s about intimidation, it’s about harassment, it’s about an unwanting from one person to another.”

Lynor wants victims to know they are not alone.

“Let’s stop waiting for something to happen and prevent it now,” she said. “We don’t need to just raise awareness about sexual assault because we are all extremely aware. Instead, we need to provide survivors with the adequate care and respect they deserve.”

The Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire and The Astrals both offer support resources for victims. The Savannah Police Department also encourages victims to reach out to them for help.

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