Recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Every April, we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month . This year, with rape in the headlines nearly every day, we speak out with even greater urgency to honor survivors and prevent sexual violence. We know the devastating the statistics: 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetimes. That’s 18 million women in this country who have been raped, and more than 1 million rapes that occur every year. The vast majority of these assaults occur when the victims are under the age of 25, and those under the age of 18 are at the greatest risk. These numbers are real, but they don’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell of the broken trust when the attacker is a friend, a trusted colleague, or a family member.  They don’t tell of the suicidal feelings, the depression, or of the PTSD. And, they don’t tell of the courage survivors demonstrate when they work every day to put their lives back together. Across the federal government, we are working to support survivors and to prevent sexual violence. Last year, the Department of Justice modernized the definition of rape used to collect our nation’s crime statistics . This year, the Department of Justice is working with law enforcement agencies to implement this change and develop new guidelines for investigating sexual assault cases. The Office on Violence Against Women is funding training that will help communities address their backlogs of rape kits and improve prosecution of sexual assault crimes. The Office of Victims of Crime is supporting the development of a telemedicine center that will help bring sexual assault forensic exams to victims in rural and isolated communities. read more
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