Not everyone is comfortable with being in the limelight, especially around really personal, sensitive issues like sexual violence. However, everyone who admits –even to just one person– that they have been a victim of sexual violence is a hero! Every person who has ever been victimized and lived to tell about it is a hero!
The woman interviewed in the following series of newscasts is a family friend of ours. I met her when I was a small child, about the same time she became a survivor of sexual violence. Because I was so young at the time, I don’t know how much Sally spoke about her abuse when it occurred, but I know NOW she is a hero on the front lines, making people aware that sexual violence happens right under our noses and that it needs to stop NOW.
Here are some scary stats on Sexual Assault, according to the website for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN.org):
- 1 out of every 6 American women (17.7 million women) and 3% of American men (2.78 million men) have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
- 44% of victims are under the age of 18, and 80% are under the age of 30.
- On average, the age a male is most likely to be the victim of sexual assault is age 4; the age a female is most likely to be the victim of sexual assault is age 14.
- Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.
- Approximately 4/5 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, and 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.
- Approximately 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents occurred within 1 mile of their home or at their home.
- 43% of rapes occur between 6pm and midnight.
EFFECTS OF RAPE: Victims of sexual assault are:
- 3 times more likely to suffer from depression
- 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide
- 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder
- 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol
- 26 more likely to abuse drugs
In all of these gut-wrenching statistics, I see heroes. Not only have the people these statistics represent gone through unspeakable pain that couldn’t ever be represented by a number, they are heroes for reporting the abuse to someone they trust. Without reporting incidents like sexual violence, statistics wouldn’t be available, the word wouldn’t be spread, and actionable steps to prevent and give support for the survivors of sexual violence wouldn’t be possible!
I implore you to open your hearts and your eyes, and to learn more about sexual violence. Given these staggering statistics, all of us know at least one person effected by this, and rather than face our judgment, let’s let them see our show of support and love. These men and women are heroes!
Elsewhere in the country, there are a plethora of similar organizations with the common goal of ENDING SEXUAL VIOLENCE! Find one and get involved!
Until next time, my friends…
Make it a great day,
One more thing worth sharing, and also including my friend: Breaking Our Silence PSA by The Forces and Voices Project
This is Sally’s story: