April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Warning: This article talks about different topics regarding rape, suicide, and sexual assault. If you are triggered by topics about sexual assault, please do not read ahead. 

In the United States alone, there are approximately 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year (RAINN). 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male. However, the majority of rape/ sexual assault victims are females between the ages of 18-34 years old. 82% of all juvenile victims are female, and 90% of adult rape victims are female. The risk is even higher if these women are college students, specifically 3x higher. Transgender students are also at a higher risk of sexual violence, with 21% of transgender college students reported being sexually assaulted.

Sexual violence survivors can experience depression, suicidal thoughts, and PTSD after sexual assault. About 94% of women who are raped experience PTSD and 13% of women victims attempt suicide. Sexual violence survivors are also 3-10x more likely to start using drugs than the general public. Survivors are also at an increased risk for experiencing work, school, or relationship problems in their personal life. 

Even if you have never been a victim of sexual assault, there are still ways to help survivors. 

  • One way to help is not being a bystander. If you see something that doesn’t seem right or may lead to sexual assault, step in. Being an ally is important in preventing these statistics from climbing even higher.

  • Another way to be an ally is to support the survivor. Phrases like “I believe you”, “It’s not your fault”, “You are not alone”, and “You didn’t do anything to deserve this” can help reassure the survivor that things will get better. 

  • Finally, making sure the person has continued support and resources is important. 

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are resources to help. These resources can include:

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline- 800.656.HOPE

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- 800.273.TALK

  • National Helpline for Male Survivors- https://1in6.org/

  • https://www.rainn.org/resources

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline- 800.799.SAFE

  • National Center for Victims of Crime- 855.4.VICTIM

A reminder to sexual assault survivors: You are not alone. You are believed. You are worthy. 
  • All statistics and resources provided by rainn.org