April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month — Together, We Can Fight Rape and Sexual Violence

The statistics regarding rape and sexual assault are dire, but there is still hope. Together, we can reduce the prevalence of sexual violence in our communities. Read this article to learn more.

The statistics are shocking: On average, 321,500 people age 12 or older become victims of rape or sexual assault each year in the United States.

Victims are most likely to be raped or sexually assaulted between the ages of 12 and 34. Female college students ages 18–24 are three times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. However, the epidemic of sexual violence extends far outside college campuses: females 18–24 who are not enrolled in college are four times more likely to become victims of rape or sexual assault compared to females in other age brackets the general female population.

Sexual violence can occur anywhere, including in the home — often at the hands of a family member, close friend, or acquaintance. And it’s not just women who are affected by sexual violence. Men and boys also suffer. In fact, one out of every 10 rape victims is male. Transgender individuals face even higher risks for rape and sexual assault.

These statistics are dire, but there is still hope. Together, we can reduce the prevalence of sexual violence in our communities.

The Me Too Movement Has Brought Sexual Violence to the Forefront of Our National Conversation

The Me Too movement (sometimes referred to as #MeToo) has made the public aware of the many forms of sexual assault. Me Too was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly women of color, find pathways to healing. The founders’ vision was to address the scarcity in resources for survivors of sexual violence and help build a community of advocates, driven by survivors.

Because of the viral hashtag #MeToo and a series of high-profile news stories in which women publicly confronted men who sexually assaulted them, a vital conversation about sexual violence became part of our national dialogue. What started as a local grassroots project expanded into a global community of survivors from all walks of life and helped to destigmatize sexual assault survivors by highlighting the breadth and impact of sexual violence.

The Me Too movement has confirmed that sexual violence is all too common, can happen to anyone, and has a long-lasting impact on survivors. Studies show that 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks following a rape, and 30% of women still report symptoms of PTSD nine months after a rape.

For the general public, this information has provided a wake-up call that has left many wondering what can be done to prevent more Me Too stories. 

April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center is the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence. The organization honors survivors and builds awareness each April by observing Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The theme for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2019 is “I Ask.” The organization designed this theme to spread the message that consent is an essential part of everyday interactions.

Resources for Bay Area Victims, Families, and Loved Ones

Rape and sexual assault can inflict life-changing physical and emotional injuries, and victims of sexual violence deserve the highest quality of care. We’re proud that Canopy Health’s alliance of hospitals, physicians, and care centers has proven its commitment to helping victims of sexual violence heal. Our members can receive treatment from compassionate providers who specialize in women’s health, counseling, wound care, and other vital services.

Another organization, San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR.org), provides resources, support, advocacy, and education to all individuals and communities in San Francisco who are responding to, healing from, or otherwise struggling with sexual violence. The group’s direct services include a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling and support groups, legal advocacy, medical accompaniment and advocacy, and case management.

The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN.org) also offers the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline, which can put you in contact with a local rape crisis center. To contact the hotline, either call 1-800-656-4673 or access the network’s online chat service.

Do You Need Help Finding Care and Treatment After an Assault? Contact Canopy Health

At Canopy Health, we are proud to serve survivors from every walk of life. If you’re having a difficult time finding the right physician or care center for treatment and support, contact Canopy Health by completing our online form or calling us at 888-8-CANOPY. We’re here to help.

References

Davidson, J., Foa, E. (Eds.). (1993). Posttraumatic stress disorder: DSM-IV and beyond. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press.

Greenfield, L. A. (1997, February). Sex offenses and offenders: An analysis of data on rape and sexual assault (NCJ-163392). Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from https://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/SOO.PDF

National crime victimization survey: Key statistics. (2017). Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245

Planty, M., Langton, L., Krebs, C., Berzofsky, M., & Smiley-McDonald, H. (2016, May 31). Female victims of sexual violence, 1994–2010 (NCJ 240655). Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvsv9410.pdf

Rothbaum, B., Foa, E., Riggs, D., Murdock, T., & Walsh, W. (1992, July). A prospective examination of post-traumatic stress disorder in rape victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 5(3). Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jts.2490050309

Sinozich, S., & Langton, L. (2014, December). Rape and sexual victimization among college-aged females, 1995–2013 (NCJ 248471). Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsavcaf9513.pdf