April = Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Have you or someone you know experienced some form of sexual violence? In the movies, we see strangers lurking in dark corners, or attacking people on the way to their cars that are parked in dark garages. But in fact, the majority of rapes that occur are known as ‘non stranger’ rape. (This can include friends, acquaintances, family http://blogs.psychcentral.com/college/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=78&type=image&TB_iframe=1members, etc.)
I don’t say this to scare you, but rather to point out the realities that exist today. According to the Department of Justice (2000), “90 percent of rape survivors on college campuses know their assailants.”
Higher-Ed Newsletter wrote a piece about sexual assault last year in which they pointed out a startling statistic: 1 in 10 students on Bridgewater State University’s campus have experienced sexual assault since arriving on campus. Even more startling is the fact that this number is low when compared to other college campuses across the US. It’s hard to believe, but the truth is that the average is 1 in 5.
It’s important to be aware that this is happening on campus so folks can provide support for their loved ones and friends. And on a more preventative level, my fellow volunteers at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center talk about changing the culture of rape and sexual assault. What does that mean? It means changing the way that we as males and females talk with our friends about these things. It’s about creating a culture where asking for consent, not assuming it, is the norm.
We can encourage each other to treat each other with respect and help people realize that it’s NOT OKAY to engage in nonconsensual sex. As they would say, though, if it’s consensual, healthy, protected sex that is consensual from both parties, then heck, go for it! Have a blast! Just be aware that it’s important that we as human beings look out for one another in our communities be it on campus or off.
For more resources and information on rape and sexual assault, check out the following web sites: Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) at: http://barcc.org/information/facts/stats or the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at http://www.rainn.org/. For specific information for college students that are survivors of sexual assault, visit http://barcc.org/help/yourself/survivor/student.
Woman in basement photo available from Shutterstock.
Bazirgan, M. (2012). April = Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/college/2012/04/april-sexual-assault-awareness-month/