Sunday, April 01, 2007

April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

* * * Trigger Alert * * *

In the time it takes to read this message, 3 individuals somewhere in the United States will have become the latest victims of sexual violence.

Nationwide, 1 in 6 women - and 1 in 33 men - will experience a sexual assault during their lifetime. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, more than half of all rapes of women occur before the age of 18.

These statistics are significant but sexual violence is not about numbers. It is a personal, painful trauma that has profound and long-lasting physical, social and psychological consequences.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is observed in April in the United States, and is dedicated to making a concerted effort to raise awareness about and prevent sexual violence.

The first observation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month occurred in 2001, where the National Sexual Violence Resource Center provided resources to advocates nationwide to help get the word out about sexual assault. This awareness day has gained momentum over the years, especially on high school and college campuses. For those who want more information, click this.

All information herein was obtained by: National Violence Resource Center


Marc said...

There is a good website I ran into for victims of sexual assault here

They have a national 24 hour hotline as well as over 600 rape crisis centers around the country.

Fallen Angels said...

Thanks for letting us know. I can never remember when our city holds the "Take Back the Night" rally...until after it occures...I'm sure it is this month so now I can find out and participate like I used to!


Dr. Deb said...

Dear Marc,
Oh yes, RAINN is a wonderful resource.

Dear Fallen,
I never know either. If I didn't check the calendar, I probably wouldn't realize the correct date either.


Dreaming again said...

This will be the first April that I will be proactive in my own recovery from this. Even though it's been 30 years ...

I'll even be writing an article for a national youth ministry organization for how youth ministers might be able to recognize the effects in their youth groups. (too many girls (and guys) simply do not tell (like myself) and let the effects implode on them for 20 to 30 years.

Awareness campaigns will hopefully bring an end not only to the lack of reporting ..but one day to the crime itself so that ultimate healing (by prevention) can begin.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Dreaming,
That is so wonderful. You will also heal as you help others.

Jade said...

Thank for helping out in the cause of raising public awareness. It really does effect every community.

MYSTI said...

Thank you for making everyone aware.


Jim said...

Dr Deb

i have linked u here
Hope u dont mind


east village idiot said...

Thanks Deb. This information is so important for so many of us.

jumpinginpuddles said...

its sad its happening maybe soem of those men and women who have been through this and never sought Therapy before might have the courage if they know they arent alone and get some healing from being hurt

Wendy C. said...

Awareness is the first step toward action. When I look at the staggering numbers of victims, I am reminded that for every victim there is a perp. We each need to help spread the seeds of non-violence. It isn't enough for me to say "society" needs to deal with this problem - there is no such thing as society...only individuals - and individuals need to promote awareness of sexual violence, and confront those who commit violent acts.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Sexual assault can be devastating, and as a father of girls, I'm concerned about it. However, I always suspect "viewing with alarm" statistics, especially when published by advocacy groups.

I'd want to see the definitions, the sources, and the methods, before I accept the numbers.

Lynn said...

I wonder when the day will come when we can tell children the truth about the most likely source of danger -- their own homes. I wonder if there would be a way to really educate children without taking away their sense of safety in doing so.

For now, I guess I'm just grateful that my husband is a good and safe father for our children.

Godwhacker said...

Hi Deb,
I've been watching the "Addiction" series on HBO and I am really bothered by the number of non-violent drug offenders in our prison systems. And even more so by the fact that the state MUST release violent criminals and sexual-predators to make room for them.

These people who's only crime is the illness of addiction are put in with the worst of the worst, locked away into a subculture where rape and violence is the norm.

Our society would be better served if our prisons were reserved for criminals who harm other people. Drug addicts with no other history of criminality should get treatment.

Ian Lidster said...

I think openness about sexual assault is a huge improvement on our former tendency to hush things up. My ex wife was sexually assaulted by her grandfather from the time she was 11 until she was 14. We were together for years and there were sexual problems, but she had never told me about the assaults. She only told me after we had separated. I said: "If only you had told me before, it would have explained so much." It probably wouldn't have saved the marriage, but would have answered some questions I'd always had.


Nancy said...

This is huge our lives now. My cousin's daughter who is autistic was assaulted at 'school'. The boy was expelled but was let back into the school because of his legal rights. My cousin's child refuses to talk about it but she did tell a teacher.
So she can't go to school and the suspected offender is around other young girls at the school. I do not know if all of the parents were notified but I seriously do not think the school would take a legal chance with a suit.
He is mentally challenged (autistic as well) and he probably will offend again, but it won't be my cousins child this time. But someone else's child and there is nothing my cousin can do or she will get charges against her.
Our DA is trying to help but the sexual assaulter has more rights that the victim, who is so confused.
So is hard enough for her and then to have this happen.

Dreaming again said...

I'm going to say something that is going to be entirely unpopular, but none the less true. Please don't attack me.

Most, if not all offenders, started out as victims themselves.
While that doesn't excuse them ... at all ... if anything, it gives more reason to put fire on the awarenss campaign ... the reason to stop the fire ... is to stop it before it starts.

Many many of us choose to implode and self destruct rather than pass the same pain onto others that was inflicted onto us ...but a large enough percentage chooses to repeat the pattern ... and as long as that continues ...the cycle will continue ... )

Making this subject known does far more than making healing our hearts and souls ...

I have had unspeakable things done to me (by non family members) and yet, I have a family member in prison for doing unspeakable things done to his foster child.

Yet, of all the things done me, to his foster child .. the worst of all the stories I've heard ...anywhere ... on any website ... of my own ... and any story ever told ...was that that my grandmother inflicted on my uncle and his brothers. The disgusting things they endured ... beyond endurable ... and 3 brothers chose to implode, one exploded ... he's where he belongs ..hopefully without getting out ...ever.

It doesn't change the fact that if my grandmother had been who she should have been, he'd have been the foster parent he should have been ... (and maybe my father would have been the father he should have been and I wouldn't have been in the position of being a victim???) who knows?

What evils were inflicted on my grandmother ... I don't know ...

I'm not asking us to feel sorry for the predators ... just to remember, we need to stop this prevent future predators as well as future victims.

I could go on, but I've taken enough space. Once again, I've hijacked Dr. Deb's blog!

(the following is a link to a poem I wrote about a year ago regarding my father, myself and my child and breaking the cycle ...

Wanda's Wings said...

The numbers of abuse are overwhelming. In my immediate family the numbers are closer to 1 in 2. The devastation it has caused is beyond words. My only prayer is that I will be able to do something to stop the cycle of pain.

HP said...

The statistics are staggering. Thanks for highlighting this campaign. I wonder if there is something similar happening here?
Will have to check.

Meow said...

Thanks Deb, for sharing such important information.
Hope your week is going well.
Take care, Meow

~Deb said...

The fact that someone who rapes, sexually assaults and abuses another human being---to me, it’s as bad as killing someone. You kill their spirit and hope to have faith in another human being at times. I wasn’t aware of this month being dedicated to this. It’s important that it’s all ‘out there’ and ready to educate others.

What gets me is, the lack of jail time these offenders get. I have a very close friend who once got caught with drugs on him. Yes, he was selling drugs for a short time, and got 5+ years for it. Then I see these people who have brutally raped an individual, wreaking havoc on their mental stability and emotions—killing their spirit---and what, they only get a few years, if that!

Very important information you’re putting out there Dr. Deb!

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Jade,
The ripple effect from this is long-ranging, I agree.

Dear Mysti,
If it helps one person, just one, that's fantastic.

Dear Jim/Saby,
You can link to me, but maybe use your own photo instead of mine?

Dear EVI,
I know. It still remains a quiet epidemic, sadly.

Dear JIP,

Dear Wendy,
It *can* be very overwhelming to read the stats and numbers.

Dear GOM,
I am a stickler for data etc and its valid and reliable collection as well. Actually I think that the numbers are underestimated. Most individuals assaulted rarely reveal their abuse. So these stats are "estimates".

Dear Lynn,
So true. Most offenses are "familiar" ones, rather than from strangers. That is why we need to educate our children young!And to be sure we get the message to girls AND boys.

Dear GW,
The correctional system is in need of great repair. I agree. Isn't the HBO series spellbinding.... Heartwrenching and eye opening?

Dear Ian,
Sounds like it would have cleared away a lot of confusion for you. I hope she has sought help to heal from this trauma.

Dear Nancy,
Oh, this IS terrible. I recall working a case with similar issues.

Dear Dreaming,
You are correct, that most offenders were victimized themselves. Research has pointed that the psychological makeup of the abused indiviudal and the family dynamics can shape how the trauma gets metabolized. For many, an abused child develops empathy and would never want to do what what done to them. For others empathy and compassion do not develop and other antisocial and pathological trajectories take place. You are always welcome to write as much as you want here, dreaming :)

Dear Wanda,
I know. Seems to me that nearly everyone I know has some trauma related to this.

Dear HP,
I know that in November there is an International Day for Violence Against Women. If there is one for Sexual Assault, it would be great for the blogs to unite and get the word out.

Dear Meow,
You too, my friend!

Dear ~Deb,
"Soul Murders". The trauma takes so much of the soul away. It is tragic. I am always amazed when a person in recovery claims their own life and soul again.


Anonymous said...

I've missed visiting your site for a bit...I'm glad you're here. As usual, you bring attention to so much that we all need to know about. What a gift you are. Peace.

astrorat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
astrorat said...

Dear Dr. D,

Its really sad to read about how people (who are meant to be a higher order species, at least as compared to the monkey) turn against each other. In crimes against women, its chilling to realize that the women you may read about in the news could be your girlfriend, sister, or mother.

In Malaysia, the NGO Womens Aid Organization ( has many such tales to tell.

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Belizegial said...

Dr. Deb,

Over here in the tropics,we have a month dedicated to Stopping Domestic Violence Against Women.

Most often, domestic violence goes hand in hand with sexual assault. Stopping this trend, is one step taken to prevent assaults of any kind against our female population.


Dreaming again said...

While women are by far the most likely victim, and men by far the most likely predator ...the reverse is also true.

(which, is where the predator's came from to begin with!)

It is not just the women being hurt ... and when the women are hurt, they turn to drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders ... some form of self abuse, self destruction ... implosion. Men tend to explode and become more outwardly abusive ..either sexually, emotionally or physically abusive or controlling or unable to form attatchments and healthy relationships.

Women also commit these horrendous crimes ...the rash of school teachers with their students had my attention simply because the female abuser was something that I was familiar with .. and then ... my son's science teacher was arrested for molesting (violently) his classmate! This teacher had flirted with, and touched my son (on the shoulders, face etc) and my son realized those touches had not been just touches ..but flirtations. We were furious as parents within the district ... my son came closer to this monster (sexual abuse) than he ever should have had to get ...thankfully, this is as close as he's gotten... but it was close enough! But it was a woman that introduced him to the sick idea of it.

To isolate this as a crime against women is going to short sight and never get anywhere. Till we acknowlege this is a crime against humanity and a crime against our CHILDREN ... it will never stop. Boys will still be hurt and will still grow up to rape women.

stepping off soap box, again.

Cheesemeister said...

It is truly a troubling statistic.
Thank you for bringing this information to light.

Rue said...

Thanks for helping to bring this to our attention.

Nice new look to the blog...nice new picture too!

Layla (aka Barbara) said...

I'm glad you are shared these statistics, its amazing to share in a large group of women that I was raped at age 14 - it never fails that at least one of them has also been a victim.

I really appreciate your voice on all these important issues (and I like the bright colors on your template!!)

Midwife with a Knife said...

(Followed a link from fatdoctor)

Thank you for posting this. In my work, I see far too much of the aftermath of sexual assaults. I worry even more about the people who don't present for care after a sexual assault.

Mustafa ┼×enalp said...

tafasenalpI like your site very much. Thanks for your interest. Have a good day

Id it is said...

Those statistics are scary!
Thanks for posting on issues that need focus.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Traci,
It is so nice seeing you here.

Dear Astro,
I agree, so sad to read the numbers and the scope of such violence. Hope you will post on your blog soon!

Dear David,
Thanks for visiting.

Dear Enid,
So often sexual violence and assault occurs from people we know.

Dear Dreaming,
Great additional comments. Soap box always open here.

Dear Cheese,
What would be great is to NOT have to have an awareness day like this or ever!

Hey Rue,
Thanks. Nice seeing you here.

Dear Layla(BArbara)
I too was a child victim. But it appears that you and I have broken the chain, right?

Dear Midwife,
I can't imagine how this must effect you and your patients. Such trauma. I bet the feel so lucky to have you as their professional!

Dear Mustafa,
Thank you.

Dear Id,
The numbers are estimates as many don't come forward to report their trauma.


ellesu said...

Wonderful post! Just a couple of weeks ago the following happened right here in my own state: "Five fifth-grade students face criminal charges after authorities said four of them had sex in front of other students in an unsupervised classroom and kept a classmate posted as a lookout for teachers.

The students were arrested Tuesday at the Spearsville school in rural north Louisiana, authorities said. Two 11-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year old boy were charged with obscenity, a felony. An 11-year-old boy, the alleged lookout, was charged with being an accessory." (from CNN website)

Who's the abuser. Who's the abused. How did these children learn this. How did they think this was appropriate behavior. What has happened in our world?

wolfbaby said...

thats sad... thanks for puttin that up.

shrinkykitten said...

Not to be contrary, but the data simply doesn't support claims that most sex offenders were abused themselves. I don't have the data in front of me, but it appears to be that about 10% or less of sex offenders were themselves sexually abused. Although many/most sex offenders may *claim* they were abused, this is not true and may be simply a means of avoiding responsibility, a way of trying to evoke sympathy, etc.

And an even smaller percentage of people who were sexually abused go on to offend.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Ellesu,
I know. Scary.

Dear Wolf,
Sad. But maybe an awareness day like this can help someone, somewhere.

Dear Shrinky,
The stats show that 30% who are offenders were abused as children (Some form of abuse be it emotional, physical or sexual... Genetics also has influence there as well).

But you are right in that those of us who have been abused as children don't grow up to be abusers.


Battle Weary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mojekearthe said...

In my opinion, all sex offenders should never be allowed to live in the community with children and potential victims around. If they can't be in prison, at least establish sex offender colonies where they would be restricted for the rest of their lives. Anything less would be tantamount to leaving our vulnerable population at risk. If we have to, create an amendment to the constitution so we don't get the ACLU or the criminal lawyers stopping this.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Moj,
I tend to agree with you. It seems that recidivism is high and cure is nonexistent!