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Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month, and there are things you can do to help.

  • Every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
  • 54% of rapes go unreported.
  • 97% of rapists never go to jail.
  • 44% of victims are under the age of 18
  • 80% are under the age of 30.

If you are disgusted by these facts, you have an opportunity to do something. April is Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month. RAINN (The Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) is a program that works to raise awareness for the issue. You can follow RAINN on both Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates about the issues and what you can do to help.

SAFER Act
"During National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence that threatens lives, erodes communities, and weakens our country. As we reflect on the progress we have made and the distance we have yet to go, let us recommit to empowering survivors and fighting for a safer future for every American," said President Barack Obama in his Presidential Proclamation.

In order to do this, legislation like the SAFER Act needs to be supported. SAFER, the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry will track the status of DNA evidence collected in rape cases. There are a large number of rape kits, between an estimated 180,000 and 400,000 kits, that have not been tested and sit in police evidence rooms. While the DNA sits in a room collecting dust, rapists remain on the streets. There is a chance that the rapist has DNA on record somewhere and if every rape kit is actually tested and put in a database of offenders, they can be caught and held accountable. Rape is not something someone just does once, think about that. 

To support the SAFER Act, write your congressperson and demand that they become cosigners, do as much as they can to push it through, or at least support it and vote yes on it! RAINN has sample letters and telephone call scripts you can use when contacting your congressperson.

Here is the contact information for Duncan Hunter.

Volunteer at a Rape Crisis Center
The Center For Community Solutions in San Diego, The Women's Resource Center in Oceanside, and The Sure Help Line Center in El Centro all have rape crisis centers at which you can volunteer.

RAINN also has volunteer opportunities. You can volunteer for the National Sexual Assault Hotline. You can also volunteer for their e-crew by spreading RAINN's message on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, and by sending emails and creating media. You can organize an event to help raise money for RAINN. Just do everything you can in general to raise awareness on sexual assault and sexual assault prevention.

Donate 
If you wish to donate to RAINN, you can click here. Eighty-eight cents of every dollar go to preventing sexual violence and helping victims, the other twelve cents goes to running the organization.

Spread the Word
The whole point of this month is to spread the word about sexual assault and sexual assault prevention. Share this article, other articles on RAINN's website, and other sexual assault awareness group’s articles on every social media outlet you have.

If you yourself are a victim with the courage to speak out and share your story RAINN has a speaker's bureau for you. If you have a website of any kind, they also have banners you can post on your page to share the information.

Get Help
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault you can get free, confidential help by calling 1.800.656.HOPE or by going online to https://ohl.rainn.org/online/.

The Rape Crisis Centers in San Diego County are The Center For Community Solutions in San Diego, The Women's Resource Center in Oceanside, and The Sure Help Line Center in El Centro.

Women's Rights (My Thoughts)
The only person responsible for a rape is the rapist. Just because a female dresses sexy and provocative does not mean she is asking to be raped. Women have a right to be free; that freedom includes being able to go outside wearing whatever you please without having to feel that your safety is threatened simply because of your attire.

We live in a society where we teach "don't get raped" instead of "DON'T RAPE." By educating people about sexual assault and pushing legislation that tests rape kits, we can get rapists off the streets. We live in a country where certain state governments do not respect a woman's right to govern her own body, and we have a culture that condones treating women like animals. Is it no wonder why so many women have become victims of sexual assault?

Parents, you should teach your daughters that as women, they have fundamental rights: the right to life, the right to privacy, the right to freedom, the right to bodily integrity, and the right to decide when and how they reproduce. Tell your daughters to report anything that has every happened to them, regardless of what the perpetrator says they will do to them or your family. Unfortunately, parents should also teach their daughters how to prevent rape. It makes me sad to say that, but it is true.

Parents should also teach their sons that a woman is in control of her own body. She needs to be treated with the utmost respect. Just because you want her body physically, does not mean you can just take it. It is her right to choice who she has sex with, when she has sex with them, and on what terms.

I wonder what the world would be like if parents of rapists had told their children not to rape. Obviously, parents aren't always to blame for their children's actions, but it seems like we aren't sending the message enough. Sadly, with the abundance of violent images and offensive "joking" comments about rape in the media, it really has become a necessity for parents to, as uncomfortable as it may be, tell their children that it is not okay to rape anyone and that rape is not a laughing matter. In sexual education in school we teach safe sex but I do not remember any of my teachers ever explicitly saying "do not rape."

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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