Sexual assault in an unfortunate reality for the 250,000 people who are sexually assaulted in the United States every year. For many of us, it's a tough subject to talk about or even think about.
April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The goal is to raise awareness about sexual assault. The practical purpose is to get people thinking about it, talking about it, and doing something about it.
We all have the power to make a difference. Here are four ways you can raise the awareness of sexual assault, take steps to help victims, and help prevent assaults from happening as frequently.
You can help raise the awareness of sexual assault by learning as much as you can about it and passing along that wisdom to your family. Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact that a person is influenced or forced to participate in against his or her will.
Nearly one in five women has experienced a rape or an attempted rape in her lifetime. One in six men also experience some form of unwanted or abusive sexual experience in his lifetime too.
The resulting trauma for both women and men often carries into other aspects of the victim's life. People who experience sexual assault are more likely to experience post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, problems with intimate relationships, and difficulty at school or work.
LEARN HOW TO HELP
The hard part is knowing how to reach out to someone who has experienced sexual assault. So what can you do? Here's some advice from counselors and therapists associated with Good therapy.org
Many people just want to be heard. Offer a compassionate, nonjudgmental ear. Be a good listener.
Don't try to force your friend or loved one into seeking support or taking action if he or she is not quite ready for it yet. Be considerate. If the person does plan to seek support or medical attention, offer to be there by offering a ride or just going along.
If someone you know is sexually assaulted, your reaction can have an impact on the recovery from the trauma. Don't question the person about why it happened. One of the most important things you can say to a sex abuse survivor is "I believe you."
You have many choices when it comes to volunteering. You can offer your time at a crisis center, participate in fundraising events for groups or organizations, or help raise awareness by volunteering to staff a hotline.
ENGAGE IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Consider your church and other faith-based organizations. And remember, social media platforms are a great way to learn more about organizations in your area. You have the power to make a difference.
CONSIDER A PERSONAL SAFETY DEVICE
There is a growing need for effect, safe, non-lethal personal safety devices. Having reliable products you can trust is critical.
Mace® Brand is committed to providing community and family safety through individual empowerment.
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