Advocacy and Awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. This campaign is supported by the government as well as non-government organizations. The main goal of SAAM is to raise awareness concerning the prevention of sexual assault and learn the concept of consent. The aim also includes education in understanding the importance of boundaries.
Sadly, many women and men I’m acquainted with have a story of sexual assault. If not assault, they have experienced sexual harassment in some type of way. The devastating thing is no one I know reported the act. Despite the current awareness concerning sexual assault, there is a stigma that comes with sexual assault, making the victims to feel afraid of coming out and reporting their perpetrators. Until this perception is changed in society, many sexual assaults will continue to go unpunished. According to The National Sexual Violence Resource Org.
- Forty percent of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police in 2017, but only about 25% were reported to police in 2018.
- Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.
- It is estimated that 734,630 people were raped (including threatened, attempted, or completed rape) in the U.S. in 2018.
- About half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance.
- Over half (52.4%) of male victims report being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger
Research also showed that the reasons victims did not report the assault were from-
- a fear of not being believed
- being afraid of retaliation
- shame or fear of being blamed
- pressure from others
- distrust towards law enforcement
- desire to protect the attacker for other reasons
If you or someone you know needs to report a sexual assault, there are many resources to do so. If you feel uncomfortable, I at least urge you to get help and support from a professional. Just know that you are not alone.