April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It is a time to call attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and impacts every person in this community. Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment harm our community, and statistics show one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.

Child sexual abuse prevention must be a priority to confront the reality that one in six boys and one in four girls will expe- rience a sexual assault before age 18. Young people experience heightened rates of sexual violence, and youth ages 12-17 were 2.5 times as likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault.

On campus, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted during their time in college.

Prevention is Possible!

As individuals we can intervene to stop concerning behavior; promote and model healthy attitudes and relationships; and believe survivors and assist them in finding resources.

We must work together to educate our community about sexual violence prevention, sup- porting survivors, and speaking out against harmful attitudes and actions. Prevention is possible when everyone gets involved. The first step is increasing education, awareness, and community involvement. It’s time for all of us to take action to create a safer environment for all.

Support is available for victims of sexual assault and loved ones. Victim Resource Center has someone available to speak with 24/7 no matter when the assault happens. Staff and volunteers are trained to provide information, support and resources, and may be able to accompany victims to medical facilities, police stations and legal proceedings.

Victims Resource Center also provides age appropriate awareness and prevention programs to children and adults of all ages. These programs include teaching adults to recognize warning signs of abuse and how to report suspicions; working with student groups to pro- mote prevention; and help people of all ages learn how to speak up or intervene when they observe troubling behaviors.