Overcomers can benefit others

Sexual Abuse Awareness Month – April


Photo by Philipp Wüthrich on Unsplash

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One in nine girls, and one in 53 boys under age of 18 experience sexual assault or sexual abuse, rainn.org reveals. Maybe, as you’re reading this, somebody you know is getting sexually assaulted!

This April, will mark the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, according to nsvrc.org. Sexual Assault Awareness Month, also referred to as SAAM, is an annual campaign that raises public awareness about sexual assault and educates communities and individuals how to prevent sexual assault and violence.

Some assault prevention tips provided by Purdue University include advice not to walk alone during late night hours, or when the sun is no longer out as other people will not be able to see you or somebody behind you. Another suggestion is to let a family member or trusted friend know your destination and the estimated time you’ll arrive, so if a problem occurs they can notify the police immediately. They also recommend that you are always aware of your surroundings, making sure to look around to see if there’s anybody near or any suspicious vehicles. If you do feel uncomfortable, try calling someone you know, or Safe Walk (494-SAFE) to make sure you’re okay.

Even if you are fortunate enough not to be a victim of sexual assault, you can help those who are. As many people who have been sexually assaulted are sensitive to the topic, it’s best to watch what you say as you may trigger them. Young men might keep at a safe but non-threatening distance when walking around a girl at night as she may feel more threatened when a male is walking close to her. Also, it is suggested that friends offer to walk home together or provide a ride to keep each other safe.

There is still more that can be done to raise awareness on sexual assault outside of your circle. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or know anybody who has, for instance, you can share the number 800-656-HOPE. This will connect you to someone to help you talk through what happened, while keeping the call completely confidential.

You can also volunteer or donate to a women’s shelter where people have often suffered from such abuse. Use your time and your resources to help them become more comfortable with people. Shelterinc.org and Opportunity House are two local organizations that can help people who may have suffered sexual assaults or abuse in the past, and both take donations of time and money.