Why should we care about sexual assault?
Because it affects us all. Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States.
Throughout April, we’re drawing attention to an issue that affects the safety of our community: sexual violence. This issue is not something we can ignore and shy away from because it makes us uncomfortable. Survivors of sexual assault don’t have the luxury of ignoring the violence inflicted upon them, and we owe them our support. We can prevent violence, and we can start by having real conversations about sexual assault – how we allow it to happen, how our society treats survivors, and how each of us can do something to change it.
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
We live in a culture that idly accepts violence and inequality as normal, where survivors of sexual assault are blamed for their own victimization and pressured to be silent. This is called “rape culture,” because people who perpetrate sexual offenses are given “social license” to act this way. If we don’t give voice to survivors, and bring sexually violent offenders to justice, this will continue to be the culture we live in every day. Until we acknowledge our society’s failings and take a stand against sexual violence in our communities, sexual assault will continue to be a reality for far too many women, men and children.
79% of female victims of rape report that they were first raped before age 25. 28% of male victims of rape report that they were first raped at age 10 or younger.
Sexual violence can be prevented, because violence is a choice. Preventing sexual assault is about more than a intervening in a potentially dangerous situation. Violence begins with how we treat each other every day. So correcting someone’s misconception about sexual assault, or stopping a sexist conversation between people you know, are both ways we can work toward dismantling rape culture. Start there. Does your workplace need to better explain and promote policies that protect their employees from harassment? Start there. Can you build up and foster the healthy relationships in your life? Start there. Can you be a supportive listener and caring friend to someone who has experienced sexual assault? Start by believing.
This April, we’re focusing on sexual assault awareness and prevention through several events that promote education and raise funds for the services Safe Harbor provides to survivors. Click on our events below to learn how you can get involved!
- 4/2: “Defining Consent” Brown Bag Lunch Panel @ the YWCA, 12-1pm – Meet us for lunch at the YWCA, where our Sexual and Domestic Violence Counselor Katie Copty will discuss consent on a panel of law enforcement and community advocates. Click here to register for this FREE event online now!
- 4/1: Wine Down @ the Wine Loft, 6:30 pm – Kick-start SAAM by donating $10 to Safe Harbor at the door and enjoy for free appetizers and discounted drinks!
- 4/16: “How to be an Advocate” Brown Bag Lunch Panel @ the YWCA, 12-1pm – We’re returning to the YWCA to discuss ways that everyone and anyone can be an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, beyond providing direct support. Vanessa Durrant, our Director of Counseling & Advocacy, will speak on the panel, so join us to learn what you can do! Click here to register for this FREE event online now!
- 4/29: Denim Day – We’re bringing this international awareness campaign to the Henrico Courts again this year, and all the tools you need to organize Denim Day at your own workplace!
Resources for Sexual Assault Awareness
- What is campus sexual violence?
- Preventing Sexual Violence
- The Impact of Sexual Violence
- Healthy Sexuality & Consent
- It’s time to talk about consent
Watch and share this PSA: It’s time to act