Every two (2) minutes, in this nation a person is sexually assaulted. Forty-four percent of the victims of sexual assault are under the age of 18. Eighty percent of the victims are under the age of 30.
The month of April has been designated as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). During the month, as recognition of the prevalence of this pressing public health issue, community outreach and education campaigns are run to highlight available resources to prevent sexual abuse. The overarching goals of Sexual Assault Awareness Month are to raise public awareness about the prevalence of sexual violence and to educate communities and people on how to prevent this pressing public health issue.
Each day, people witness a continuum of behaviors that range from being respectful and safe, to sexually abusive and violent. A primary prevention approach helps to create environments where people are safe in their relationships, families, neighborhoods, schools, work places and communities. This year’s, Sexual Assault Awareness Month brings together resources and information, thus offering everyone the opportunity to address behaviors before sexual violence occurs.
Today, the President of the United States issued the 2012 National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation. President Obama aptly stated in the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation that, “It is up to all of us to ensure victims of sexual violence are not left to face these trials alone. Too often, survivors suffer in silence, fearing retribution, lack of support, or that the criminal justice system will fail to bring the perpetrator to justice. We must do more to raise awareness about the realities of sexual assault; confront and change insensitive attitudes wherever they persist; enhance training and education in the criminal justice system; and expand access to critical health, legal, and protection services for survivors. As we fight sexual assault in our communities, so must we combat this crime within our Armed Forces.”
In the 2012 National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation, President Obama went on to say that, “With the leadership of Vice President Joe Biden, my Administration is working to stop sexual violence before it begins and ensure justice for the countless men, women, and children who have already been harmed. Last year, we introduced comprehensive guidance to schools, colleges, and universities to clarify their obligations under existing civil rights law to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault.”
“In January, we issued a revised definition of rape that will improve our understanding of where and how often this crime occurs. And today, we are collaborating with private organizations and agencies at every level of government to bolster advocacy and assistance for victims of sexual violence. All of us share a responsibility to those in need. By standing with survivors of rape and sexual assault and helping them secure the support and services they deserve, we do right by the ideals of compassion and service at the heart of the American character. For additional information and resources, visit: www.WhiteHouse.gov/1is2many.”
Source(s): President Obama’s Proclamation Sexual Assault Awareness month 2012. National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998. U.S. Department of Justice. 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2003. U.S. Department of Justice. 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2004. 1998 Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls. 1998. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. 1995 Child Maltreatment Survey. 1995. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. 2000. World Health Organization. 2002. U.S. Department of Justice. 2005 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2005.
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