Sexual Assault Awareness: Building Safe Spaces together
Every 68 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States, and every 9 minutes, the person who experiences the assault is a child (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network).
Take a moment to digest these numbers; this means just in the US, over one minute of every single day a person over the age of 18 is sexually violated, and more than 6 children every hour experience sexual violence.
With the staggering statistics, it’s safe to conclude that everyone has someone in their life who has experienced sexual violence.
Unfortunately, the experience is often more complex than a one-time horrific isolated incident, demonstrated in findings such as, “girls who have been sexually abused are more likely to experience additional sexual violence and violence types, and becomes victims of intimate partner violence in adulthood” (Center for Disease Control). And the avenues by which someone can be sexually harassed, assaulted or abused can be anywhere, including online.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says, “For too long harassment, cyberbullying, and sexual abuse and exploitation have come to be expected as typical and unavoidable behaviors online.”
NSVRC is the nation’s largest sexual assault resource, and they encourage us to engage in this year’s theme of prevention for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is Building Safe Online Spaces Together.
“Building Safe Online Spaces Together is possible when we practice digital consent, intervene when we see harmful content and behaviors, and promote online communities that value respect, inclusion, and safety,” NSVRC says.
Always remember, when considering the impact of trauma, every person reacts differently to experiences and therefore there are no “levels” of victimization (as in, no one type of experience should be considered “more traumatic” than another), and there is no certain “formula” for healing.
If someone tells you they have experienced a violation of sexual consent, allow them the space to have autonomy over their story and their healing, and refer them to a community based Sexual Assault resource such as Tu Casa, Inc. for confidential, free and 24-hour specialized support.
Tu Casa, Inc. has Advocates who are highly skilled at meeting a client where they are and reflecting and building upon the survivor’s strengths, to walk alongside them in their journey towards empowerment.
Tu Casa, Inc. Advocates have both internal and external resources to offer clients safety physically and emotionally, and to provide the space for survivors to harness their inherent capacity to heal.
“The roots of resilience…are to be found in the sense of being understood by and existing in the mind and heart of a loving, attuned, and self-possessed other,” says Diana Fosha, founder of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP).
If you, or someone you know has been impacted by child sexual abuse, sexual violence, or sexual assault you can call Tu Casa, Inc. and the Children’s Advocacy Center of the San Luis Valley at 719-589-2465 to speak with an Advocate.
If the victim is a child, you must report the abuse to both the Colorado Child Abuse Hotline 844-CO-4KIDS (844-264-5437) and or law enforcement in your local area.