Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. And every eight minutes, that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only six out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison. To shine a light on the scope of this problem, April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Here are some other statistics to consider:
- Ages 12–34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault.
- 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 90% of adult rape victims are female.
- 94% of women who are raped experience PTSD symptoms during the two weeks following the rape.
Below are just a few of the many organizations working to put a stop to sexual violence and to get victims the help they need:
RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country, and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
“As a child I’d spent nine years in an atmosphere of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. As an adult, recreated that chaos and chose partners who affirmed my own self-loathing. I fell deep into addictions and constantly let my guard down while drunk or “relaxed” on Rx meds.
“Over the years, beginning from the end of my marriage in my late 20s and ending the last time when I was 39, I was raped four times— that I can remember. I believe there were other times, but I have no proof because I was passed out.
“At age 39, I was raped by a longtime “friend” at a party. When I recovered the next day, I knew I had to get help. I went to my first AA meeting the next day. After I became clean and sober, I looked for help. I found RAINN and they put me in touch with a free service in my town. My counselor is a beautiful person and she helped me find my way out of the worst darkness. It is my life’s goal to continue my volunteer work helping women and children in DV shelters and to pay RAINN back as a RAINNmaker for the rest of my life. I have forgiven every one of my abusers after many years of deep soul work. I am not the same person I used to be. I love my life and am grateful for every day. If not for RAINN’s 800 number that was so easy to remember all those years ago, and their compassion and just being there, I don’t think I’d be alive today.”
Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Orange County Rape Crisis Center’s mission is to stop sexual violence and its impact through support, education, and advocacy. It envisions a just and equitable world free of sexual violence and all other forms of oppression.
“When most people think of a Rape Crisis Center their mind often goes to a sad and desolate place. Orange County Rape Crisis Center is anything but this. It is a place for help, hope, and healing with emphasis on the healing. They provide free and confidential services to people around our community who need it most, and they also have one of the oldest preventative education programs in the entire state! My time as a community educator for Start Strong allowed me to grow as a person and an advocate. It gave me a space to learn and to ask questions, and most importantly it made me feel like I was making a difference in my community.”
The Houston Area Women’s Center helps individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence in their efforts to move their lives forward. It provides shelter, counseling, and advocacy to support them in building lives free from the effects of violence, and seeks social change to end domestic and sexual violence through community awareness and education.
“Called HAWC and even though we had never dealt with them before, they sent someone to the hospital to advocate for my friend after a violent sexual assault. The woman they sent was a rape survivor, and made sure all procedures were followed correctly, gave emotional support, and even brought a clean set of sweat pants and a clean T-shirt, so my friend would have clothing to wear home.
What was truly awesome about our experience was the free of charge sexual assault counseling we were both able to participate in at the Women’s Center. It was basically group therapy, run by a counselor and the survivors themselves, meeting once a week and encouraging each other. Wonderful resource. This was back when Ellen Cohen was the CEO there, and we are excited to see her go on to be involved in local politics. We love you, Ellen!”
To learn more about these organizations and many others working to both end sexual violence and provide comfort to survivors of it, check out GreatNonprofits.