When we hear the term sexual assault, most of us think of rape by a stranger. The reality is that about 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Sexual assault isn’t just limited to rape, either—it includes child abuse, sexual harassment, teen relationship violence, date rape and domestic violence. Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year, the campaign focuses on preventing sexual violence on campus.
Some starling statistics
Recent news stories of the alleged fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia (Rolling Stone reporting snafu aside) and the Stanford University athlete caught mid rape have certainly fueled the conversation about sexual assault on college campuses.
The campus sexual assault study revealed:
- 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college
- 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college
The majority of these college victims never report the assault. In the big picture, sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes: 68% of assaults in the last five years were not reported to the police. And only about 2% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.
What can we do about it?
Educating our children about this is imperative. While it’s a tough and awkward topic to tackle, we need to talk about it. That’s one of the best ways to truly protect them.
RAINN, the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, suggests ways to get the conversations started: teaching your child to say no, and to come to you with questions and concerns.
The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center booklet, He Told Me Not To Tell, is another good parent’s guide. It includes specific ideas about storytelling and playing the What If game.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s What is Healthy Sexuality and Consent fact sheet contains great information for teenagers.
Help charities who are addressing the issue of sexual assault do more outreach, create educational materials, and provide the services for victims that make a difference. Give today so they can speak with a louder voice and help prevent sexual assaults.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center is the organization behind Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and offers a wealth of information for preventing sexual violence. It is operated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
Rape Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country.