Today marks Day 1 of the nationally observed Sexual Assault Awareness Month here in the United States. I’m so grateful that President Obama and so many proactive leaders have acknowledged that RAPE & MOLESTATION ARE AN EPIDEMIC. That these things don’t always happen in dark alleys, it’s not always a stranger breaking in and assaulting you, it can be someone you know, someone you trust, someone you love. That RAPE is NOT A JOKE. Not something to be giggled at amongst your friends. Not something that should bring questions such as, “What were you wearing?”, “Were you drinking?”, or “Are you sure you said NO?” Where does it end? My heart aches everytime someone bypasses just how LIFE CHANGING & TRAUMATIC sexual assault can be in your life. Can you imagine someone invading your body while you beg them to stop? While you cry? Or while you pray that it ends? Sadly many can’t. People seem to think because sex is a way of life, no harm done. NOT. Victims of Sexual Assault don’t stop being victims after their attack(s) it’s a constant battle. Fighting the backlash, the memories, the shame, the mental health issues that stem from it all, thoughts or attempts at self harm, isolation and more.Many can’t sympathize or understand because they feel “it hasn’t happened to me” or “no one I know has been assaulted.” It’s disheartening that it takes for someone you know to be a victim for many to understand, but honestly, I’ll take that because somehow, some way, WE NEED MORE SEXUAL ASSAULT WARRIORS. Those who speak up for others who’s shame silences them. Who’s family told them to “get over it”. Who can’t function on a daily basis without drugs in their body because they can’t cope. Those who will forever lack trust and question love and sex even from those who truly care. WHO WILL SPEAK UP FOR THE VICTIMS? WHO WILL STAND AND SAY THAT THIS IS HAPPENING? WHO WILL TELL THEIR STORY AND CHANGE A LIFE?Rape and Molestation aren’t things you just see on SVU… It happens around you. If a friend or family member confides in you and tells you that they have been assaulted or raped, LISTEN! Don’t rush to question them or prove a point, LISTEN!! You could save their life. And if you actually spent the time reading through this long message, I thank you. If you are someone who needs a reason to look further into fighting rape and sexual assault to help those around us but you can’t place yourself close enough to the issue because you don’t know any victims, well you do. Because you know me.