Happy Monday, and welcome to Medical Mondays!
Aside from being Alcohol Awareness Month (see my post on Alcohol Abuse!), it’s also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. (…belated trigger warning.)
Not gonna lie. Just the fact that there has to be an awareness month for this makes me sad. So did reading Tiffany’s post on her biggest fear. And I know she’s definitely not alone in that, because sexual violence [unfortunately] happens every day.
During our last year of undergrad, my closest friends and I had to deal with a peeping Tom who creeped on the apartments in our complex that housed females. If a friend hadn’t seen him standing outside our patio and staring in through the glass one day, we’d never have known about his existence. He eventually broke into our apartment during a 1-hour window where all of us weren’t home. We’re all okay, but I still harbor a lot of rage against him.
I’ve walked to and from school for most of my life, and when I was 14, a guy in his early 30’s decided to follow me with his car so he could tell me in exquisite detail what he wanted to do to me whilst touching himself.
Let’s just put it this way–I’ve lived a fairly sheltered and innocent life, so the stuff he said to me was disturbingly graphic. But that wasn’t even the part that I found the most unsettling.
It was the fact that his 5-year-old(?) son(?) was sitting in the car with him that didn’t sit well with me.
Definitely not an example you should ever be setting for your child. Some people just really should not be parents.
So today, I’d like to raise some awareness for sexual violence.
What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity without their consent. Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Although women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than men, it’s important to remember that anyone can experience sexual violence. The statistics for individuals who have experienced sexual assault are very often under-reported, because of the fear, shame, and stigma that often [unreasonably] follow.
If you’ve experienced sexual assault, know that it is NOT your fault. The only person at fault is the perpetrator.
Sexual Violence At A Glance
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives (Black et al., 2011).
- 20–25% of college women and 15% of college men are victims of forced sex during their time in college. (Cullen et al., 2000)
- More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault. (Fisher et al., 2000)
- 81% of women and 35% of men report significant short- or long-term impacts such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Black et al, 2011)
- In 8 out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator. (Miller et al., 1996)
- Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police. (Rennison, 2002)
- The prevalence of false reporting is low, between 2% and 10%. For example, a study of eight U.S. communities, which included 2,059 cases of sexual assault, found a 7.1% rate of false reports. (Lonsway et al., 2009)
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence:
- For free and confidential help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1‐800‐656‐HOPE.
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) offers a hotline (at the same number listed above) that refers victims to local rape crisis centers.
- The NSVRC’s Directory of Sexual Assault Centers in the U.S. contains contact information for sexual assault crisis centers + state, territory, and tribal coalitions in the U.S. in its territories. (1-877-739-3895)
- Clery Center For Security On Campus: www.clerycenter.org
- Know Your IX: www.knowyourix.org
- American College Health Association: www.acha.org/topics/violence.cfm
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center: www.nsvrc.org
- PreventConnect: www.preventconnect.org
- Not Alone: www.notalone.gov