April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. If anything can be considered an epidemic, then this type of crime definitely is. One only has to turn on the TV to attest to this fact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that in the U.S. alone, one in six women and one in 33 men report that they have been raped or attacked sexually.
Unfortunately, this type of crime is not reported as much as it should be. The CDC describes a sexual attack as when one person forces another into any sexual activity that is not consensual. This is the case whether the victim is fully raped or not. Some victims may not even be able to ward off the attacker or verbalize a refusal, such as in child abuse. Additionally, sexual violence also includes the type of abuse where the attacker may not even touch his or her victim as in sexual harassment.
How can that be? Remember, acts are considered violent that subject the individual to any sexual action that she or he is forced to participate in. So this would include inappropriate comments or propositions made by a perpetrator. A lot of times, the attacker may be someone the victim knows – an ex, someone he or she is related to, a friend or a neighbor. The assailant can, of course, be a stranger, but chances are, most will be an individual you may have once trusted.
It is a very serious crime. It violates the innocent and may bring on chronic heath issues or emotional trauma. What can you do if you have been sexually assaulted or you know someone who has? The CDC suggests calling RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) at 1800-656-HOPE or 9-1-1 for immediate help.
It is never too late to speak out against sexual violence.
Resources: National Organization of Women (NOW), Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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