The #MeToo movement on social media has really highlighted the idea that sexual assault is a significant concern for everyone. According to the 2012 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2 in 5 women and 1 in 5 men in Idaho have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, it’s a good time to learn how to support survivors and spread awareness.
Who is most at risk?
Sexual violence happens in all communities and affects men and women of all ages. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have experienced rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives. Even so, more than half of the victims of sex crimes are younger than 14 years old, and nearly 3 in 4 are younger than 18.
No matter who they are — victims are never at fault. Violating another person is a choice – but it’s not the victim’s choice.
What can be done to prevent it?
This is a difficult question because solutions are not simple. The most common prevention strategies focus on the victim, the perpetrator, or bystanders. RAINN is the name of a national anti-sexual violence organization that operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Its name stands for things we all can do daily:
- Respect each others’ boundaries.
- Ask for consent.
- Intervene when someone is in trouble.
- Notice the warning signs of abuse and speak up.
- Nurture yourself and others.
Do you have the number for the hotline?
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or raped, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). That number is available 24 hours a day, and you will be connected to someone who is trained to help.
How can you help a friend or family member who has been sexually assaulted?
It may be difficult to know what to say to someone who tells you they have been assaulted. And for them, telling you about their experience is not easy, either. Be a good listener and be as supportive and non-judgmental as possible. Call the hotline and help them get the resources they need for recovery. www.RAINN.org also is a great resource with lots of really helpful information.
A Closer Look at Your Health airs weekly on KBOI AM 670 radio in Boise; this is a transcript of the April 10, 2018 program.
- Women’s & Children’s Alliance: http://www.wcaboise.org/
- CDC: Sexual Violence: Prevention Strategies: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/prevention.html
- DHW: Sexual Violence Prevention and links to Idaho resources: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/SexualViolencePrevention/tabid/200/Default.aspx
- Tips for Talking with Survivors of Sexual Assault: https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-talking-survivors-sexual-assault
- RAINN: https://www.rainn.org/