This is the month of the teal colored ribbon. It’s known as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (“SAAM”). I consider this to be one of the most important posts I have ever written. The video I share with you today, Alyssa Lies, is based on a true story. I use it anytime I speak to groups, whether they be children or adults. I urge all of you to read this post and listen carefully to the words of Jason Michael Carroll. (Click on the link to learn more about Jason.)
Always remember this simple message as we send out our prayers and love to those who have been victimized by sexual violence:
If you see something, say something.
The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. The 2014 campaign focuses on healthy sexuality, young people and sexual violence prevention. Yes, healthy sexuality is key to preventing the thousands of sexual assaults reported annually, but, since Make It Better Right Now is a teen-centric site, I have decided to focus on the many staggering statistics surrounding teen sexual assault (for purposes of this discussion I include ALL forms of sexual assault from fondling inappropriately, to abuse, to assault, to rape.) If these stats don’t scare the hell out of anyone, I’m not sure what will!
First, did you know that every 2 minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted? Sexual assault, by the way, does not just happen between adults and their victims, it also occurs between teenagers (date rape is just one example.) Doing the math there are about 207,754 sexual assaults per year in the United States alone. 44% of victims are under 18-years old. Breaking the numbers down one more time – somewhere in the neighborhood of 91,500 kids are sexually assaulted – RAPED – every single year – that’s 250 kids a day! If that isn’t staggering enough for you think about this: less than half of all sexual assaults are ever reported.
Why not??? Because, as one who has been there, I can tell you that the shame and stigma attached to being raped is nearly impossible to handle – especially when you’re just a kid. Not to mention that you fear for your life. The perpetrator almost always threatens your life if you tell. My abuser threatened me with a sword. I was 10. Did I believe him? Absolutely! 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker (I did). 34% of attackers are family members; 59% are friends or acquaintances. If you trust someone you are less likely to tell on them.
Now that I know better, here is my advice to you:
NO MATTER WHAT – YOU MUST REPORT IT!
And, no, it won’t be easy. I hate to tell you this, but no matter how minor you might believe the assault to be, it will change your life forever! Do you need some more statistics? Here we go:
1. You are now 3 times more likely to suffer from depression;
2. You are 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
3. You are 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol;
4. You are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs;
5. You are 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
Now, for some sobering stats. What happens to the person who assaulted you? Who abused you? Who raped you? We have stats for that as well. Out of every 100 sexual assaults:
46 get reported to police;
12 lead to an arrest;
9 get prosecuted;
5 lead to a felony conviction;
3 rapists will not even spend a single day in prison;
The other 97 will walk free.
If a rapist does manage to serve time, 46% of them who were released from prison were re-arrested within 3 years of their release for another crime.
Now multiply those numbers by the number of assaults reported each year.
Scary, isn’t it?
I hope these stats are enough to make you want to at least start a conversation. Hey, do you know someone whom you think is being abused right now? Keep in mind, they are likely too embarrassed and too scared to tell anyone – including you, their best friend. They are probably fearing for their life. But, trust me, they need you right now. I have confidence in you guys! Saving a life starts with you!
Are you, yourself, a victim of sexual abuse? Please, please, please reach out to us – we here at MIBRN are here for you!
Do you want to do something to make a contribution during this month of Sexual Assault Awareness and beyond, but don’t know what to do? It’s simple:
Start a conversation.
Use the statistics in this article to get you started. Awareness comes from conversation – from healthy dialogue. Alyssa Lies and all Jason Michael Carroll’s music is available on iTunes. Every time this song plays on my iPod it reminds me that I must not stop fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. I hope this spurs you on to do the same.
NOW GO FOR IT!!!