NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The topics of sexual assault and harassment have captured headlines across the country recently.

As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, no matter what you think of the headlines, it is creating conversations among women – and in some cases bringing back pain from the past.

Psychotherapist Jennifer Abcug hears countless stories from women who have been victimized by unwanted sexual advances from men.

“So it’s dating its workplace; it’s walking down the street; it’s everywhere,” Abcug said.

Abcug said there is power in speaking out.

“I think it emboldens people. I think it obviously is hard too,” she said. “It opens up wounds that have been lying dormant for years, but there’s strength in numbers.”

Jackie Pollen did not have that luxury when she was harassed at work in the early 1980s.

“They used to call him the rooster because he would hit on women, and there were no complaints until I came on board,” Pollen said.

Pollen said there is more freedom to talk about harassment than there was back then.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” she said. “Women would never talk about such a thing. They kept it quiet.”

Just this week, Sage Robinson joined thousands of other people on Twitter using the hashtag #NotOkay

“I was 13 years old, body surfing at Jones Beach, and a man came up and grabbed me between the legs and I was just shocked,” Robinson said.

Decades later, Robinson found courage in the national conversation about sexual assault.

“it’s really opened up the floodgates for women to have a place to talk about experience and to get support from other women and men too,” she said.

One of those men is Ernest Kaufman, who hopes the conversation will make men think twice before they say or do something harassing or predatory.

“If men see something like that, real men are going to say something,” he said.

Everyone who spoke to CBS2 seemed to agree – fundamental change starts at home, when boys and girls are young and learning how to interact with others.

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