In December 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the initial findings of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS).
“Approximately 80 percent of female victims were raped before the age of 25, and almost half before the age of 18. About 35 percent of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults compared to 14 percent of women without an early rape history. Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration. One percent, or approximately 1.3 million women, reported being raped by any perpetrator in the 12 months prior to taking the survey.”
Each year, April is designated as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” (SAAM) in Lake County and across the nation.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month was introduced to Lake County to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault, educate the community and help prevent sexual violence.
On April 25, Lake Family Resource Center sponsored “Denim Day in Lake County.”
Denim Day grew out of a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore skinny jeans.
The judge reasoned the victim’s tight jeans meant that she helped her assailant remove them, implying consent.
People all over the world were outraged, and wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes and myths surrounding sexual assault, thus, Denim Day was born, according to www.SayNoToViolence.Org .
Lake Family Resource Center would like to thank all of the participating organizations for their support of Denim Day and sexual assault victim/survivors, making it a huge success: Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Mendocino Community Health Clinic, Twin Pine Casino, Victim-Witness and the District Attorney's Officee, Lake County Administrative Office, Lake County Counsel, Lake County Board of Supervisors, courthouse employees, Lake County Office of Education, Kathy Fowler Chevrolet, Hillside Honda, Healthy Start and Lake County Probation.
Altogether, 1,363 badges, 185 flyers and 29 posters were distributed in our community. Each person who wore a badge asking “Why Denim?” was prepared to answer that question and have a conversation about sexual assault.
Spreading sexual assault awareness helps to prevent future attacks, hold offenders accountable and educate many. Sexual assault not only affects the victim but also families, friends, bystanders and our entire community.
Reports say that approximately 20 percent of the US female population will be the victims of some form of sexual assault and 80 percent of those completed rapes will occur before age 24 (12% before age 10, 30% between ages 11-17 and 37% between ages 18-24). That is one out of every four or five female children/women!
It’s incredibly sad to realize that this number does not reflect an accurate description of the extent of sexual assault in our country because so many assaults are unreported. Estimates are that only about three to four of every 10 rapes are reported. Male sexual assault is also vastly under reported.
Please speak up and let’s all try to help prevent the next attack … And if you have been sexually assaulted, please know this – it’s never your fault! And the Rape Crisis Center is ready to help and support your journey to wellness after this terrible experience.
The Rape Crisis Center provides 24/7 Crisis Counseling (through the Community Crisis Line – 1-888-485-7733), accompaniment at the hospital and for all law enforcement and court processes as well as assistance to connect with and apply for other community resources.
The Rape Crisis Center will share information about what has happened and why a survivor feels the way they feel.
All services are free and strictly confidential.
Of great concern, the Rape Crisis Centers’ budget has been cut by nearly $10,000 in 2012-13. Please donate to help maintain this vital service in our community. Contact Lake Family Resource Centers – Rape Crisis Center.
Anybody can help! Won’t you?
For more information about sexual assault victim rights and services or to make a donation, please contact Lee Perales at 707-262-1379, Extension 110.
To speak to a trained sexual assault counselor call the Community Crisis Line (24/7) 1-888-485-7733.
Sheri Salituri-Young works for the Lake Family Resource Center, headquartered in Kelseyville, Calif.