April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
By Angel Anderson
Perkins County Sheriff’s Office
Sexual violence is a wide spread issue that impacts everyone. The children and teens of today are our hope for tomorrow. It is important for us as parents, caring adults and communities to help set young people on the path for a healthy future and support them as they work to create positive change. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year’s campaign is focused on youth.
One in six boys and one in four girls will experience a sexual assault before the age 18. (Dube et al.,2005)
One in five woman and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives (Black et al., 2011)
Rape is far more extensive than reported in official statistics, and the majority of rapists are never apprehended (Carr & VanDeusen, 2004).
Parents and caregivers are uniquely positioned to assist children and teens experiencing sexual violence, as they often see the warning signs- sudden changes in behavior or mood, lower grades, social withdrawal-before others.
Children and teens may turn to you to discuss what is happening. All adults are responsible for keeping children safe and protect them from harm. Survivors of sexual violence have experienced trauma, and each person reacts differently to trauma. Some disclose immediately, but many never talk about what happened to them, or wait years to talk about it.
When someone discloses sexual abuse, appreciate their resilience, strength, and bravery. Be mindful of your own response-Create a safe space for them to talk and share, Listen and allow them to share the amount of information they are comfortable sharing, Believe them, and Be open and honest about your responsibilities.