A road less traveled or better said a subject with the lights still dim…. That is “Sexual violence in the U.S., also known as Sexual Assault.” I am sure we all know someone who has suffered or who have been exposed to acts of such barbaric magnitude, sexual assault. One thing is for sure it happens, has happened, and will likely happen again to some unsuspecting male or female in our cities, states, and country. We often pretend or turn a blind eye to those who are marginalized or in someway made to round one’s shoulders or lower one’s head. The shame and guilt associated with the act can be so devastating and beguiling making it difficult to pick up one’s self and possibly moves forward.
Why is it so? The answer is silent; the unrelenting chorus so often heard…” why did you not fight, scream, why did you wear that particular clothing item?” “You asked for it,” realistically speaking is it that simple. The question should be asked why did you (the perpetrator) choose to violate one’s space, decidedly strong-arm passage into another’s private space, their body? Sexual violence knows no boundaries, color, gender, or ethnicity it only knows that control must be removed from the unsuspecting soon to be a victim. I like to characterize the victim as a survivor because indeed they are truly brave and full of resiliency as well. Unfortunately, some are not as resilient as others but does that make them any the less brave, no.
I am going to quote you a few statistics as well as a few facts that I gathered from the “National Sexual Violence Resource Center: Info & Stats for Journalists.”
· One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives
· 46.4% lesbians, 74.9% bisexual women and 43.3% heterosexual women reported sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes, while 40.2% gay men, 47.4% bisexual men and 20.8% heterosexual men reported sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes.
· Approximately one and 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration. Approximately one in 45 men have been made to penetrate an intimate partner during his lifetime.
· 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and 9% are male.
· In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them
Child Sexual Abuse:
· One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old
· 34% of people who sexually abuse a child are family members
· 12.3% of women were age 10 or younger at the time of their first rape/victimization, and 30% of women were between the ages of 11 and 17
· 27.8% of men were age 10 or younger at the time of their first rape/victimization
· More than one-third of women who report being raped before age 18 also experience rape as an adult
· 96% of people who sexually abuse children are male, and 76.8% of the people who sexually abuse children are adults
These statistics are grim, and that means there are too many victims on our planet.
I could go on and on with statistical information. However, the real question is, how does this information set in your minds. The realization of sexual assault goes far beyond most of our comprehension that this is a reality- this does happen. Rape is the most under-reported crime 63% of sexual assaults are under-reported to the police, leaving just a whopping 12% of child sexual abuse reported to the authorities. Why is this? I peradventure it is directly related to the veil placed over the act, desensitized, sanitized, and homogenized for the sake of comfort. Unfortunately, the comfort blanket is not for the victim but for those who believe reporting might tarnish them in some way. Despite the pain and agony experienced by the victim, those closest to them made it about them. That is not to say that all feel that way, there are many who will stand with the victim, seeing it through to the bittersweet end.
A substantial support system is healthy for the victim, as they see, know, and feel that they are not alone. Making the healing process a positive venture, and not drudgery they carry into their adulthood or their future relationships. No one desires to have their personal space violated or should they be made to feel subhuman. The victim/survivor should know that predators would be summarily dealt with in the criminal justice arena. The survivor’s honor and dignity should never be questioned, but their cries for help should be quickly answered in a positive tone that rings out with solutions.
Let’s remember that all human beings striving for safety and acceptance. For more information on sexual assault check out the video below.
Statistical Information: National Sexual Violence Resource Center: http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf
Video: SpeakUP Sexual Assault Statistics:
If you need help sorting out being an assault victim or if you want to work through any trauma experience or if you want more information you can contact Valerie Fluker, PCCI @email@example.com or Central Counseling Services (951)778-0230