Make Time to Speak With Those You Love About Sexual Assault Awareness
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and at the YWCA, we want to help you become more aware of a subject that affects every community in a powerful way.
What began 40 years ago as a movement to make streets safer after dark has grown into an annual, national event highlighting violence against victims – violence which occurs at home, at work and in public. Sexual assault happens in communities of all sizes and locations; however, there are steps that communities and individuals can take to increase awareness, prevention and healing.
Consider just a few of the key facts surrounding sexual assault in America:
- An assault may impact daily life whether it happened recently or many years ago. Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own way.
- There are significant long-term and short-term impacts of sexual violence on overall health and well-being.
- 32,000 pregnancies each year result from instances of rape – most often among women who are involved in an abusive relationship.
- Emotional health damages include denial, fear, shame, anxiety, withdrawal and PTSD-like symptoms.
- It is estimated that one out of every six American womenhas been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
Experts suggest communities discuss the difficult questions surrounding sexual assault, such as: What constitutes sexual assault or sexual violence? What should an individual do if they feel they are a victim now or might become one? How can a victim safely leave an abusive relationship? The answers to these questions all need to be shared widely.
Locally, the YWCA continues efforts year-round to provide resources and hope for victims. We offer support groups, life skill groups, rape crisis assistance and referrals to further resources in addition to our 24-hour crisis hotline and our Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children. In April 2016, we are co-sponsors of a self-defense training event especially for women. The T.A.K.E. self-defense course will be offered free of charge to all women and girls over age 12 who register on April 9 at the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex on the MWSU campus. This event runs from 10am-12 noon (registration at 9am) and will give women tools to use in protecting themselves against unwanted advances or violence.
Last year the St. Joseph YWCA provided over 1,300 individual therapy sessions to help women heal from domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Today, we invite you to join our mission and share critical information about sexual assault and sexual violence. Visit www.ywcasj.org to learn more.