The spring season is finally here and with it brings warm weather, new life, and a reminder that sexual assault is all around us. April is a month dedicated to Sexual Assault Awareness and this year’s motto is It’s Time…To Talk About It. So sit back, grab a friend, and let’s talk about it.
What is sexual assault? Most definitions of sexual assault involve a person experiencing unwanted sexual activity or contact without consent. Sexual assault can happen to anyone of any age, identity, or lifestyle which is why being aware and spreading awareness is so important.
Sexual assault is not a behavior that only happens to a specific group of people, but it is an unwanted action that can occur to anyone. The facts that support this concept are both eerie and disheartening. Take a look for yourself.
· 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will be a survivor of sexual assault before the age of 18.
· 44% of all sexual assault survivors are under the age of 18.
· Someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes.
· 1 in 6 women will experience attempted rape or rape in their lifetime.
· Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime. Only 46% of sexual assaults have been reported over the last 5 years.
· Two-thirds of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows.
· Girls ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely to be targets of attempted rape, rape, or sexual assault.
There is no one particular target for sexual assault and there is no one particular type of perpetrator. People who commit sexual assaults come from all different economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds. Perpetrators of sexual assaults are not prompted by motives of receiving sexual gratification, but instead are motivated by dominance and control; therefore, sexual assault has been categorized as a crime of violence and not a crime of passion.
Experiencing sexual assault is a hardship that no one should have to go through, and it is a hardship that does not end for the survivor. A child who experiences sexual assault is likely to have poor health in their adulthood. The year following a survivor’s experience of being sexually assaulted the survivor’s health care services increases by 18% and 56% in the second year. Not only is a survivor’s health affected by their experience, but women who encounter sexual assault account for 50-95% of post-traumatic stress disorder cases.
So now that we know the facts, what can we do to stop sexual assaults? Your voice is actually a powerful tool that can help influence change.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, use your voice and get help. Below are some resources that may be helpful.
National Sexual Assault Hotline:
Texas Women’s University Crisis Center
940-898-3801 (Denton Location)
214-689-6655 (Dallas Location)
713-794-2059 (Houston Location)
Denton County Friends of Family
For more information on Sexual Assault, visit these sites.
Do Something Movement
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Texas Association of Sexual Assault
Texas Women’s University Counseling Center