April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

In Kansas 1 rape occurs every 8 hours. Many people have an unclear understanding about what sexual assault means, which is normal since sexual assault comes in many forms. A general definition of sexual assault “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Crimes like sexual violence, incest, rape, acquaintance rape, partner rape, sexual exploitation by helping professionals and sexual harassment are all fall under sexual assault.

Even with knowing the types of sexual assault someone can be a victim without realizing it. Being in a relationship with someone, not physically resisting, or not having the capacity to say no does not means there is no sexual assault. In fact, any sexual advance that occurs without one’s full consent or when one is unable to give consent is considered sexual assault. Partner rape is one example and occurs within marriage or a relationship. In some incidents, the victims do not physically resist due to the fear of being injured. Sometimes the victims are unable to give consent because they are unconscious, not fully conscious or mentally incapacitated. Another case is when one person holds greater power over the other person and could potentially harm the other person. Examples for this situation are sexual exploitation by helping professionals and sexual harassment in workplace or school.

Sixty-eight percent of sexual assault cases are not reported. Many victims do not report because of shame, fear of revenge, the lack of awareness or fear that no one would believe them. Victims may not report because of their affection toward the offender if he or she is a family member or spouse. Reporting is crucial because doing this not only punishes the perpetrators, but also helps to prevent future crimes.

Being informed about the type of sexual assault, your state’s laws and seeking help from specialized organizations such as SOS, where confidentiality is emphasized, is very important. Advocates help victims and lead them to necessary resources to overcome their situation. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, SOS is here to help, call 800-825-1295 or visit SOS at www.soskansas.com to learn more.