In the past year, the bulk of our attention and energy as a nation has been focused on addressing the COVID-19 crisis. But while COVID has taken the spotlight, many other crises have continued to impact lives. One of those crises is sexual assault. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual assault, harassment, and abuse, and to educate community members on how to prevent it.
Sexual Assault Affects Millions in the U.S. Annually
Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Research from the CDC shows that nearly 1 in 5 women will have experienced a completed or attempted rape during her lifetime. 1 in 3 female rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11- 17 years old, and 1 in 8 female rape victims reported that it occurred before age 10. Sadly, many victims do not come forward or report sexual assaults, so the true figures on sexual assaults are likely much higher.
How to Help a Sexual Assault Victim
Often, it’s hard for someone who has been sexually assaulted to know what to do or where to turn to. If someone confides in you that they have been sexually assaulted, it is so important to listen to them and be supportive. Reassure the victim that it was not their fault, no matter the circumstances.
What to Do If You’ve Been Assaulted
If you have been sexually assaulted, there are steps you should take:
1) Ensure Your Safety – Get to a physically and emotionally safe place and out of harm’s way. This may involve calling a helpline, finding a safe place to stay, contacting authorities, or visiting a crisis center. (National Sex Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673)
2) Consider Medical Treatment – Seek emergency medical care as quickly as possible. You will be treated as a patient first, then as the victim of a crime. It is your choice whether or not to pursue criminal action. If you want a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kit done, get to the hospital within 72 hours after the assault. It does not matter if you have showered.
3) Consider Therapy – Many clinicians will tell you that healing does not occur through avoidance. Everyone processes trauma differently, so listen to your body and your mind and get the help you need.
4) Consider Your Legal Options – Separate from criminal law, a civil attorney who handles sexual assault litigation can help you understand your rights and help you navigate the legal system–even if the sexual assault occurred years ago.
When To Speak With An Attorney
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, our compassionate and experienced team of attorneys and staff are here to help. We have experience fighting for survivors of sexual assault and abuse and we will listen to your concerns. We will guide you through the entire process, including criminal prosecution, and will help you choose the best course of action for you. All information you provide us is strictly confidential.
Call us today: 419-241-1395 or go learn more at charlesboyk-law.com/sexual-abuse/