Are you at risk?



April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Some may not fully understand what constitutes sexual assault.  Many believe in order for one to be sexually assaulted you must be attacked and raped in a dark alley by a stranger. Not true. According to PSA Worldwide, “Sexual assault is any unwanted verbal, nonverbal or physical sexual contact, and is characterized by the use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Sexual assault includes inappropriate touching, rape, nonconsensual sodomy, or attempts to commit these acts.  Other examples of sexual assault are voyeurism, exhibitionism, incest, and sexual harassment.”  
Rainn.org is a wonderful resource to learn more about sexual assault. Sexual assault affects millions of Americans. According to Rainn.org, every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. Younger people are at higher risk, but older people are also victims. “One out of every six females has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. One in nine girls and one in fifty-three boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult. Millions of men in the United States have also been victims of rape. One out of every ten rape victims is male.” (Rainn.org). Sexual violence affects every gender and every age.
Sexual violence leaves lasting effects on victims. Many suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after an assault.  Often sexual violence leads to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, drug use and broken relationships. The aftereffects of child sexual abuse can be life long and affect the victim’s mental health into adulthood. The assault also affects secondary victims- the friends, family members and co-workers of a victim.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual assault recently or at any time in your life, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Here are some ways we will help you get through your distress:  
•Our Rape Response Advocates respond to concerns about sexual assault whether the person seeking help is the victim, a family member, or someone close to the victim.
•Our advocate will be there for you at the time you make your police report and undergo the rape exam.
•Our advocate will speak with any family member or friend accompanying you and help them to understand some of the ways this experience may affect you.
•We will be available to meet with you and/or your family or persons close to you to discuss your concerns and your feelings after a sexual assault.
If you or someone close to you is raped, sexually assaulted, or experiencing sexual harassment, our HELPline Rape Response program offers support, information, assistance in seeking victims’ compensation, and a place to express the hurt, fear, and betrayal that sexual abuse causes to the victim.
Crisis Services of North Alabama – Jackson County office 256.574.5826
24/7 HELPline: 256.716.1000

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