Apr 12

Sexual Violence

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

I came up with this design ages ago for our class t-shirt contest! :]
Disclaimer: This is where I reiterate that I am merely a medical student struggling through the world that is her clinical rotations. Most of this information was gleaned and adapted from NSVRC. The statements made on this blog should not be taken as medical advice to treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please contact your own physician or health care provider before starting a health or fitness/wellness program. (See full disclaimer here.)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.fairyburger.com/sexual-violence/


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  1. Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating

    I luckily have never been too close to a sexual violence situation myself, but I have heard stories from girls in college of times when they were extremely uncomfortable with a sexual situation they were forced into or had to witness. I recall my university being very good at providing education and resources to help aid in prevention of sexual violence. I hope other universities do just as well with bringing awareness and giving tools to all college students.

    1. Farrah

      I’m glad that you haven’t had to deal with anything like that and that your university was good about providing resources on it! There are a lot of college campuses in this country that have handled sexual assault/rape cases very, very poorly. :[ I sincerely hope they change their practices soon!

  2. Jaime

    You’re right, it is sad that we need to have an awareness month for this. I hope every school, workplace, etc., can provide education and help to those who need it.
    Jaime recently posted…Feeling Awesome! And Goals for the Week 4/13My Profile

    1. Farrah

      I really hope so too!

  3. Erin@BeetsPerMinute

    Great post, Farrah! I get super sad that this issue is so widespread that it requires this type of awareness as well. I have suffered a similar situation to yours with being followed. It happened to me in my early 20’s while I was out for an afternoon run and it was so very upsetting. I can only imagine at your much younger age just how violating that must have been. Thanks so much for sharing this information!
    Erin@BeetsPerMinute recently posted…Motivation ManifestoMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’m so sorry about your experience! :[ I don’t understand why people feel like they’re entitled to treat people like that. I’m really glad you’re okay though! <3

  4. Susie @ SuzLyfe

    Sexual violence is never ok. It should not be tolerated, by anyone. And it breaks my heart that it is.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Georgia Birthday Weekend and Spring Suz! (Smile Brilliant Review)My Profile

    1. Farrah

      It breaks mine too. :[ I really hope they crack down on it more!

  5. Channing

    Some guy was lurking near your apartment window?!?!? Wow, that’s pretty creepy! I’m lucky in that I haven’t really had a problem with that, maybe I lucked out in the apartment area, but I’ve always worried about that being an issue. It’s a shame that as a female, that is the stuff you have to worry about….. guys don’t know how good they have it!
    Channing recently posted…I Was Nominated!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Unfortunately. :[ (It really upsets me that they never caught him.) It definitely does suck, but on the other end of the spectrum, it’s hard for guys that get assaulted too. They rarely ever report it because the amount of people who believe them is even lower than the ones who believe the girls. :[

  6. Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    So creepy! I can’t believe 1 in 5 are assaulted. NOT OK.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Biltmore Tulips in SpringMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Definitely not. I think society really needs to do more to prevent it from happening! :[

  7. Annmarie

    Love that you wrote a post to raise awareness, Farrah! In my previous life I was a Rape Crisis Counselor and would respond to the emergency room to assist with kits and interviews. It is such a sad, traumatic situation for anyone to go through. Raising awareness for SA and violence in general is something that I still care very much about even though I no longer work in the field! I think it is great that as a physician, you have such a compassionate perspective. You would be surprised at the doctors I encountered that were less than sympathetic to the victim.
    Annmarie recently posted…Meatless Monday: Coconut Creamed Spinach {Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo}My Profile

    1. Farrah

      I had no idea! :O Major major props to you, Annmarie! I’m not sure I could ever do that. I can’t understand how anyone could be unsympathetic and jaded towards this. :[ People need to understand that it really is not okay.

  8. Amber

    I don’t think a month is ENOUGH for awareness, but rather this is something we should be AWARE OF every single day…as a female, being alone walking places is SCARY for the sexual violence and harassment we can face on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing!
    Amber recently posted…Protein Packed PizzaMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      You raise a good point there! It definitely should be something that we’re all aware of. I’ve definitely chosen to wear comfortable shoes vs. dressing up on many an occasion just because I know I can get away faster if I ever come across any such situation.

  9. Earl-Leigh

    I work in a sexual assault and interpersonal violence intervention & prevention office at a local college and its so disheartening to even HAVE this job. Some people want to get stuck on a debate about statistics…let’s just acknowledge that the fact it happens and work towards change. Thank you for posting!
    Earl-Leigh recently posted…Raw Food and Temp Stay-At-Home Mom LifeMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Oh man, I can only imagine. :[ The 1 in 5 statistic definitely baffles me (it just seems so high!), but at the end of the day, I think people who dispute it are missing the point–even one of these cases is not okay!

  10. Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl

    Thank you SO MUCH for writing this. First as an undergrad and now as a law student, I’m horrified by the way even collegiate communities can’t seem to step up to stop this from happening. I fear that the entire Rolling Stone incident will set back awareness when we should be pushing for MORE recognition.
    Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…Liebster Award Q&AMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed. :[ We actually had an incident on our campus during my first year in medical school, and to my knowledge, nothing really ever happened to the perpetrator. I honestly cannot understand how this sort of thing is allowed to happen.

  11. Betsy

    Oh wow! That is awful that you had those encounters. So sad that there is an awareness month for this but it is important to get the word out and talk about it.
    Betsy recently posted…Rachel Zoe | The Zoe Report Box Of Style Review: Spring 2015My Profile

    1. Farrah

      That’s for sure! There are definitely a lot of topics that make me sad that there have to be months for them, because they’re things that shouldn’t ever happen to anyone, but hopefully raising awareness can make a difference!

  12. Elizabeth @ Enjoy Every Bite

    There are some really sick people out there. So sad to hear about your encounters with some of those people! So great that you are sharing helpful information on this difficult subject!
    Elizabeth @ Enjoy Every Bite recently posted…Recommit To Your Goals This SpringMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      There really are a lot of sick people out there! :[ Here’s to hoping we can raise awareness for it and have this be a topic that isn’t always swept under the rug because people are uncomfortable with dealing with it!

  13. Michael Anderson

    Thank you so much for this post … and it is sad that took until the 13th of the month for me to even HEAR about this! Ugh … so much random blather on social media and yet THIS is missed? It is such an important issue …
    Michael Anderson recently posted…April is Sexual Violence Awareness MonthMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’m definitely with you there! I only knew about this because I was searching for health-related themed topics for the month, and this happened to come up! It’s sad that all this clickbait stuff shows up on my feed all the time, but things that are actually important never make it there! :[

  14. Kristy @Runaway Bridal Planner

    It is sad that this has to be a topic for awareness, but in a way it’s good too!
    I have been lucky not to be a victim of this, but one of my friends was raped years ago and I would never wish it upon anyone, it was a horrific experience for her, and although she is doing better now, It took many years for her to get comfortable going out alone again.
    I am one of those who was against the whole Fifty Shades of Grey thing, for the sole fact that it did promote sexual violence as something that was glorified, no matter how popular it was/is I am not okay with that kind of stuff, it just suggests and puts idea’s in peoples heads!
    Great post, very well written, it’s a hard subject to talk about, but you did it well!!!
    Kristy @Runaway Bridal Planner recently posted…Hiking, Race Planning, Running and a Bit of EverythingMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’m so sorry to hear that about your friend! :[ I’m glad she’s doing better now.

      I haven’t read or watched Fifty Shades of Grey, but I’m against it too. From what I’ve heard about it, it’s supposed to be about BDSM culture, but they do a really, really poor job of portraying that accurately and it ends up just looking like it’s glorifying abuse. :[

  15. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    SOOOO important and really important for college kids. This year has been crazy with all the scandals around the country at colleges….it’s sad, scary, and needs to change!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Gingerbread DoughnutsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! :[ Each scandal kinda makes me lose a little more hope for humanity. x_x I really hope things change soon!

  16. Angela Tolsma

    I worked on a college campus and have dealt with allot of terrible men and women. This is a great post and I wish that campus was doing more, because right now what they are doing isn’t enough. There needs to be more awareness. But it’s sad that such a month must exist.
    Angela Tolsma recently posted…Coffee (well actually Tea) WishesMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I really wish society as a whole would do more about this–it’s so upsetting to see so many rapists get away with no consequences whatsoever.

  17. Dana @ Pellerini Proclaims

    The statistics on sexual assault are so saddening, but they need to be publicized. I don’t remember hearing much about sexual violence awareness when I was in college and I am sure it was happening. Great article.
    Dana @ Pellerini Proclaims recently posted…FabFitFun Spring Edition 2015 Review!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      They’re definitely really depressing. :[ I do kindasorta remember hearing about it when I was in college, but I admit, I was so swamped with everything I was doing that none of it really sank in until much later.

  18. genevieve @ gratitude & greens

    Raising awareness for sexual violence and assault is something I’m so passionate about and I’m so glad you dedicated a post to it! The more I talk to people, the more I realize how misinformed some people are about sexual harassment. People genuinely think that women enjoy being catcalled or treated the way that man in the car treated you, and it’s appalling. I also hate it when people try to excuse the statistics… I’m glad you are okay and nothing worse came from those situations.
    genevieve @ gratitude & greens recently posted…Triple Threat Mushroom Soup With Crispy LentilsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! I’m thankful nothing worse happened from those situations either. It’s sad. :[ A lot of people I’ve talked to have told me I should take it as a compliment (not the ones I talked about, but the general catcalling). I’ve never cared for it and am of the belief that letting it happen often makes people think that it’s okay, and then they progress to trying something more.

  19. Alex

    I think what disturbs me the most is not only is there little awareness about how prelevant it really is, but that by large it is way too accepted and excused in our society (when it happens against women) or totally denied existance (when it happens to men).
    Alex recently posted…Links a la Mode feat. Funky Jungle – April 9My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed. :[ Something really needs to be done about it! I can’t understand why society is so willing to just accept/excuse/ignore it!

  20. jess O'Neill (Meddows)

    Want to know something really disturbing? In NSW in Australia where I’m from, the main cause of death and injury to women is from male violence. Pretty disturbing to begin with… but the government pumps all this money and legislation into stopping “one punch violence” (seriously, dudes getting drunk and punching each other in the clubbing district) and terrorism. Needless to say, one punch violence has taken nowhere NEAR as many lives, nor has terrorism. Grrrr… really makes my blood boil!!!
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    1. Farrah

      What!?!? How is that anywhere even close to remotely okay!? Those are some ridiculously misplaced priorities. :[

  21. Jess @hellotofit

    It’s so crazy that we need an awareness for this. Thanks for shedding light on this topic; especially one that is not the easiest to talk about.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Link Love #13 and never too old for promMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      It makes me sad that it happens so often! :[ I hope things will change!

  22. Alex

    So glad you posted stuff about this. IT NEEDS TO STOP! I don’t even understand why it happens, to be honest. Ugh. Sick. I just saw on the news this girl who was like… raped by all these people on the beach while ALL These people just filmed it in BROAD DAYLIGHT!! She woke up and knew SOMETHING happened but did not know what.. she only knew it did because she saw her tattoos on this girl on the news that was raped. Awful. AWFUL AWFUL.
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    1. Farrah

      That’s beyond the realms of horrible–how is it that not even one person bothered to stop it, or at least call the police? What’s happened to this world? :[ :[

  23. Jen @ pretty little grub

    Wow, I’m glad you’re raising awareness for such a hard topic.
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