April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Not only is this month dedicated to bringing awareness to sexual assault and violence but also aims to educate the public on the best ways to prevent it. Sexual assault can cover a broad range of actions that take place without consent, from fondling and unwanted touching to rape. All forms of sexual assault are unacceptable and need to be addressed.
It is important to note that sexual assault is not a rare occurrence. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC, 2019), “one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime” (https://www.nsvrc.org/statistics). These numbers are staggering – for women AND men. Rape is more common against females; in fact, 91% of rape survivors are females (NSVRC, 2019). These numbers are often seen as even low averages because people are often afraid or ashamed to come forward when these crimes are committed against them. However, not only do survivors have to suffer the attack, they often face extremely difficult and painful symptoms after the experience(s). Survivors of sexual assault can go through more anxiety and depression but also experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD symptoms can often include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts (Joyful Heart Foundation, 2019). Sexual assault is something that will stay with a survivor for a long time in the form of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that help them avoid of any reminders of the assault. It is important to acknowledge and believe those who report experiencing sexual assault to afford support and validation.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from the after effects of sexual assault, please know that you are not alone. The Center for Behavioral Health at Spalding University is here to believe you, listen to your story, and help provide you with tools that can assist you in healing. Please give us a call at 502-792-7011 to get set up with an appointment or even visit our website at behavioralhealth.spalding.edu to learn more about our services.
“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.”