Take Part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month
- March 31, 2009
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“Every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S.”
April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time for all of us to get more educated and involved in how to prevent any form of sexual assault or abuse in our community. In a culture where sexuality is rarely discussed and very often suppressed, it comes as no surprise that many women are not even AWARE that they are in sexually abusive relationships until it becomes too late. It is crucial for each of us to learn how to identify sexual abuse for ourselves and our friends and family.
What suggestions do you have for introducing the subject of sexual abuse in the South Asian community and encouraging people to ask questions and gain more insight into the issue?
What IS Sexual Abuse?**
“Sexual assault takes many forms – it is any unwanted sexual contact, including rape, attempted rape, sexual harassment, and stalking and child sexual abuse”. According to the National Violence against Women survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, 1 in 6 women in the U.S. has been the victim of rape or attempted rape.
Below are some explanations of the most common forms of sexual abuse:
Rape is defined as ANY forced intercourse. Rape victims may be forced through threats or physical means. In about 8 out of 10 rapes, no weapon is used other than physical force. Anyone may be a victim of rape: women, men or children, straight or gay. Marital rape occurs when a spouse forces any sexual activity on another spouse who is unwilling.
“College age women are FOUR TIMES as likely to be sexually assaulted”
Drug facilitated assault is when drugs or alcohol are used to compromise an individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity. In addition, drugs and alcohol are often used in order to minimize the resistance and memory of the victim of a sexual assault. It is important to be always guard your own drinks at all times and be aware of any situations where you may be starting to feel unsafe or less aware of your surroundings.
Sexual harassment is ANY unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This is a very common form of sexual abuse that is often ignored or taken lightly. It is important to always report any incidence of harassment and reach out to the appropriate help or support through hotlines and reaching out to trustworthy friends and family.
What YOU Can Do to Help
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800–656–HOPE (800–656–4673) to be connected to the rape crisis center nearest to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or visit www.rainn.org for more information.
**The information was provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): rainn.org