Sexual assault awareness, information, key to prevention


Senate Democrats (Flickr)

Unveiling Legislation to Curb Sexual Assaults on Campuses

Sikia Meza, Reporter

Every 92 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.

In addition, one out of six American women have been victims of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, according to statistics from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization that works in partnership with local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense

3% of American men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

Sexual assault is a crucial topic to understand and takes many forms in a world where men, women and children are affected by this. Sexual assault includes rape, or attempted rape and any unwanted sexual contact or threat.

And the numbers have increased.

The reporting of such crimes to police has also increased from 23% in 2016 to 40% the following year according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Criminal Victimization report.

Even though the report does not indicate why the jump in reporting, some in law enforcement and crime victimization advocacy groups suggest that the #MeToo movement that exploded in 2017 after reports of abuse from individual’s in powerful positions in the entertainment, media and political arenas increased public awareness.

Karen Weiss a sociology professor at West Virginia University who specializes in crime victimization says, “There’s definitely been a cultural shift,” as sexual assault victims have become more open about their experiences.

I do think it’s good news—the victims (reporting) are the first step. You have to report it to get it into the system,” Weiss said.

The #MeToo movement has also been credited with helping victims feel empowered to report and supported.

Arizona State University alumni, Josh Brito, believes that a large component to sexual assault awareness is talking about it.

“If we don’t talk about it and keep the conversation going there is going to be a lot of ignorant people so I really think that talking about sexual assault is important, and people will not know whether or not they take part in it unless they are informed,” Brito said.

Consent plays a major role in sexual assault.

Consent consists of an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity and the participants being of legal age.

Consent also means that at any given moment a person giving consent can change their mind and consent is never implied regardless of outward perceived actions, for example, what someone is wearing, perceived “flirting” or drug and alcohol incapacitation—and regardless of whether or not consent has happened in the past, or being pressured by someone who will not accept “no.”

One in three adolescents in the U.S is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

Knowing what consent looks like is important to know.

The first step is being fully informed on the subject of sexual assault and what it means.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) or contact