The Family Justice Center is dedicated to supporting and advocating for all survivors of abuse and violent crime. April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month which provides an opportunity for us to raise even more public awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault, and the damage it leaves in its wake. The term sexual assault is an umbrella term that can include rape, molestation, unwanted sexual contact, incest, child sexual abuse, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking and more. Sexual assault is a complex topic because it can occur in many different forms and can happen to anyone. We often fall back on the stereotype of a stranger hiding in the bushes… However, sexual violence is much more common in situations with a spouse/intimate partner, a family member, an acquaintance, a coworker… just to name a few. Often, the offenders are people placed in a position of trust and authority.
The serious and widespread problem can be curtailed by people doing their part to educate themselves and spread that awareness to others. This helps to destigmatize the topic and bring a voice to the survivors.
Below are some statistics on sexual assault in the United States.
- Rape is the most under-reported crime: 63% of sexual assaults go unreported
- Nearly 1 in 5 women have experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime.
- Nearly 1 in 38 men have experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime.
- The majority of sexual assaults happen at or near the victim’s home, often by someone they know, and/or trust
- Only 5 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.
- Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
- 1 in 3 female rape victims and about 1 in 4 male rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11-17 years old.
- 1 in 8 female rape victims and about 1 in 4 male rape victims reported that it occurred before 10
These statistics only scratch the surface of sexual assault awareness in the U.S. The numbers are both alarming and emphasize why it is so important for individuals and communities reach out to victims of domestic abuse and other violent crimes. The FJC is available to all survivors, providing a safe place to obtain a variety of legal and social services. Having these resources available for the survivors will help them get back on their feet after surviving the trauma of abuse.
Sexual assault happens to people from all backgrounds, and having a safe place to turn for help is something that can be empowering. As the statistics have shown, sexual violence often occurs in domestic and peer situations. This type of dynamic can make it harder for people to reach out for help or even know where to begin. The complexity of the survivor situation can vary greatly and can be difficult to navigate. These factors can lead to an issue the numbers to not reflect…the estimated cases that go unreported. Survivors often feel ashamed, embarrassed, afraid…and sadly, at fault. The FJC is here is provide trauma-informed support and services where survivors and their abusers are promised to never cross paths. Call for an appointment:
Services provided by FJC and partner agencies in one location are the following:
-File a criminal complaint
-Obtained an order of protection
-Receive legal aid for civil matters
-Food and shelter
-Spiritual care upon request