The Charlotte Ledger
The Charlotte Ledger Podcast
Empowering survivors of sexual abuse, with Crystal Emerick of Brave Step

Empowering survivors of sexual abuse, with Crystal Emerick of Brave Step

Brave Step Founder Crystal Emerick discusses the importance of empowering sexual abuse survivors and raising awareness among children

Crystal Emerick is the founder and executive director of Brave Step, an organization that empowers individuals who have been impacted by sexual abuse.

Statistics show that one in four women and one in six men are sexually abused by the age of 18, Emerick says. It is often not discussed: Some 60% of survivors never report their abuse.

Emerick, a sexual abuse and sexual assault survivor, noticed a gap in sexual trauma support for adult survivors, especially adults who didn’t come forward immediately after their abuse. She founded Brave Step in 2014 to change that.

In this episode of The Charlotte Ledger Podcast, Emerick discusses:

  • The gaps in sexual trauma survivor care for adults.

  • The importance of raising awareness among children and leaning into uncomfortable conversations.

  • What services Brave Step provides to survivors.

  • How a survivor’s personal relationships can be affected after experiencing sexual trauma.

  • Empowering survivors to help other survivors.

  • Emerick’s take on Charlotte after living in the area for more than 20 years.

Photo by Julia Fay

Emerick received The Ledger’s 40 Over 40 Award in 2020 for her work with Brave Step and for providing support to adults who have survived sexual abuse.

This podcast episode is part of a series highlighting winners of The Ledger’s 40 Over 40 awards, which honor and celebrate often unheralded people over the age of 40 who are making impactful contributions to Charlotte. It’s hosted by Steve Dunn of Miles Mediation and Arbitration.

Find out more about the 40 Over 40 awards by going to

We hope you enjoy the conversation with Crystal Emerick.

The Charlotte Ledger Podcast is produced by Lindsey Banks.

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The Charlotte Ledger
The Charlotte Ledger Podcast
We talk with Charlotte leaders about important and interesting issues, with an eye toward making you smarter, telling you things you don’t know and introducing you to people with insights about trends in Charlotte.