Take Action in Sexual Assault Awareness Month
"Each day, people witness a continuum of behaviors that range from being respectful and safe, to sexually abusive and violent." April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time designated to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence (National Sexual Violence Resource Center).
Sexual assault is, unfortunately, too prevalent in central Indiana. Affecting even young members of our community, this dangerous and life-changing action is happening in our neighborhoods, on our blocks, and even in our homes. Women's Fund grantee Prevail, Inc. serves domestic violence victims in Hamilton County and surrounding counties. On visit there earlier this year, I was reminded of the need as I listened to staff members talk about the inordinate demand for their services - in particular, for the teen programs. 17.3% of Indiana girls report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse at some point in their lives. 13.7% report having been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose over a 12 month period, according to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of high school students. Of women in college, 20-25% report experiencing an attempted or completed rape (Still on Shaky Ground 2011).
Violent behavior is beginning at an early age, and is continuing through adulthood. The theme for this year's Sexual Assault Awareness Month is "It's time... to get involved." The focus is for everyone to speak up to prevent sexual violence in our neighborhoods, communities, workplaces and schools. View this 3-page fact sheet for more information, including five key steps to take action. I encourage you to take action when you encounter or experience sexual assault - it could save someone's life.
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