Today my post is going to be pretty short but it will be informative. I must warn everyone that the subject I am going to talk about is a serious/sensitive one not only for me but for others. Today I am going to talk about sexual assault and how we need to start doing something about it. There are a couple of reasons why I am writing about this subject. One, because it is a serious issue that is happening everywhere (including colleges, high schools, businesses, etc.) and two, because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I know this subject is a sensitive one but in order to prevent further incidences and statistics we need to become aware of things like this and learn how to prevent it.
To do this I am mainly going to provide myths, facts and general information on sexual assault and how to prevent it. I promise the material wont get too “dark” and I will try and keep it overall “light.” First I will start with some general statistics.
- 44% of victims are under 18 years old. 80% are under 30 years old.
- Every 107 seconds another american is sexually assaulted.
- Each year there are about 293,000 victims of sexual assault.
- 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.
- 98% of attackers will never spend a day in jail or prison.
- Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.
- 38% of attackers are a friend or acquaintance.
I feel that this next set of statistics are the most important to the majority of us since a lot of them pertain to college situations. Here is a list of some statistics about sexual assault that pertain college campuses:
- 1 in 5 women (20%) will be sexually assaulted while at college while only 4% of college men will be sexually assaulted.
- Most college victims are assaulted by someone they know.
- 42% of college women who are raped tell no one about the assault.
- It is estimated that only 5% of sexual assaults on college campuses are reported, making sexual assault the most underreported crime.
- Rape results in about 32,000 pregnancies each year.
- 4 out of 5 rape victims subsequently suffer from chronic physical or psychological conditions.
- 40% of rape survivors develop sexually transmitted diseases as a result of sexual assault.
- Campus perpetrators are often serial offenders.
- Over a third of women who are raped as minors are also also raped as adults.
- 42% of raped women expect to be raped again.
- Rape survivors are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than are people who have not been victims of a crime.
Now I am going to list some myths about sexual assault and the actual facts about each myth. These myths and facts are provided by Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (Conn SACS):
- Myth: Sexual assault won’t happen to me or to anyone I know.
- Fact: “Men, women and children of all ages, races, religions, and economic classes can be and have been victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs in rural areas, small towns and larger cities. It is estimated that one in three girls and one six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rape or attempted rape occurs every 5 minutes in the United States.”
- Myth: Sexual assault is provoked by the victim’s actions, behaviors, or by the way they dress.
- Fact: “Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one ‘asks’ for or deserves this type of attack.”
- Myth: Most sexual assaults occur between strangers.
- Fact: “Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Studies show that approximately 80% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailant.”
- Myth: Sexual assaults only occur in dark alleys and isolated areas.
- Fact: “A sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.”
- Myth: Women falsely accuse men of sexual assault or “cry rape.”
- Fact: “Reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. FBI crime statistics indicate that only 2% of reported rapes are false. This is the same rate of false reporting as other major crime reports.”
- Myth: Men cannot be sexually assaulted.
- Fact: “Men can be, and are, sexually assaulted. Current statistics indicate that one in six men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Sexual assault of men is thought to be greatly underreported.”
- Myth: Most sexual assaults are interracial.
- Fact: “Almost all sexual assaults occur between members of the same race. Interracial rape is not common, but it does occur.”
- Myth: Sexual assault results from an uncontrollable impulsive sexual urge.
- Fact: “Sexual assault is motivated by hostility, power and control. Sexual assaults are not motivated by sexual desire. Unlike animals, humans are capable of controlling how they choose to act on or express sexual urges.”
- Myth: People who commit sexual assaults are mentally ill, abnormal perverts.
- Fact: “Sexual offenders come from all educational, occupational, racial and cultural backgrounds. They are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who sexually assault victims to assert power and control over them and inflict violence, humiliation and degradation.”
- Myth: Victims who do not fight back have not been sexually assaulted.
- Fact: “Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, they have been sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they fought back. There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats or the size and strength of the attacker.”
Now I am going to state some commonly known concepts about consent and things everyone should know in order to prevent sexual assault.
- NO means NO.
- Sexual assault can happen to anyone (Men to women, women to men, women to women, men to men)
- If you have to convince someone to have sex, it’s not consent.
- Consent to one act is not consent to all acts.
- If someone first say “Yes” to something but then change their mind, It’s not consent.
- Flirting is not consent.
- “We’ve had sex before” is not consent.
- If they aren’t sober they can’t consent.
- The absence of the word “no” is not consent.
- Silence is not consent.
- Only an informed sober, freely given, ongoing enthusiastic “yes!” is consent.
Besides this there are some things that people need to listen for or say in order to give consent or partake in any sexual activities.
- “Tell me if I’m going too fast.”
- “Do you want to keep going?”
- “Can I touch you here”
- “I think we should take it slow.”
- “Let me know when you want to stop.”
- “What do you want to do?”
There are many more cues and statements to say and listen for when it comes to consent and engaging in sexual activities but these are some of the top ones. Overall, sexual assault is a serious matter that pertains to everyone. We need to understand how serious this is and start becoming more aware of this subject. So during the month of April take some time to learn a little more about sexual assault or at least sexual assault awareness. It doesn’t hurt to know at least a little bit on the matter. If you want more information on sexual assault awareness check out the links below. Just remember NO means NO.
ALSO don’t forget to wear jeans on Denim Day April 29th! For more information on Denim Day check out the link below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hihDEvVJhzw (Spoken word youtube video on Sexual Assault Awareness)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Assault_Awareness_Month (Wiki page on Sexual Assault Awareness Month)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denim_Day (Wiki article on Denim Day)
http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/sexual-assault-awareness-month (Website on Sexual Assault Awareness Month)
https://www.rainn.org/about-rainn/sexual-assault-awareness-prevention-and-education (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network [RAINN] webpage on sexual assault awareness, prevention and education)
https://www.rainn.org/statistics (RAINN statistics on sexual assault)
https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-sexual-assault (Article on facts about sexual assault)
http://connsacs.org/learn/index.htm (Myths and facts about sexual assault)
http://sapac.umich.edu/article/52 (Myths and facts about sexual assault)
http://www.enmu.edu/services/police/prevention/sexual-assault.shtml (Myths and facts about sexual assault)