Statistics show that sexual abuse may be more common than you think. | Alisha Savage

Advocacy and awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This campaign is supported by the government as well as by non-governmental organizations. The main objective of SAAM is to raise awareness of the prevention of sexual assault and to learn the concept of consent. The goal also includes education to understand the importance of boundaries.

Unfortunately, many women and men I know have a history of sexual assault. If it’s not assault, they’ve been sexually harassed in some way. What is devastating is that no one I know has reported the act. Despite the current awareness regarding sexual assault, there is a stigma that accompanies sexual assault, which causes victims to be afraid to come out and report their attackers. Until this perception changes in society, many sexual assaults will go unpunished. According to The Org. national sexual violence resource.

  • Forty percent of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police in 2017, but only around 25% were reported to police in 2018.
  • Nationally, 81% of women and 43% of men said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.
  • An estimated 734,630 people were raped (including threatened, attempted, or full rape) in the United States in 2018.
  • About half (51.1%) of female rape victims reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance.
  • More than half (52.4%) of male victims report having been raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger

Research has also shown that the victims’ reasons for not reporting the assault stemmed from-

  • a fear of not being believed
  • be afraid of reprisals
  • shame or fear of being blamed
  • pressure from others
  • distrust of law enforcement
  • desire to protect the abuser 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 urge you to at least seek professional help and support. Just know that you are not alone.

NSVRC Get Help

The National Network on Rape, Abuse and Incest

National Sexual Assault Hotline