Sexual violence graphic

HARRISBURG, Penn.  – Inspired by public conversations following the #MeToo movement on how to build understanding and prevent sexual harassment, assault and abuse, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is proud to launch the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April. This year’s SAAM campaign, ‘I Ask,’ pushes the conversation forward by championing the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal and necessary part of everyday interactions.   

NSVRC is calling on individuals and communities to commemorate SAAM and show support for survivors by wearing teal, the symbol of sexual violence prevention and the official color of SAAM, throughout the month. By wearing teal, supporters can drive further awareness around sexual violence prevention and the importance of consent, respect and supporting survivors.

“Asking for consent is a concrete and powerful way to ensure that everyone feels safe and respected,” said Yolanda Edrington, Executive Director at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. “The ‘I Ask’ campaign is a great opportunity to normalize conversations about consent and to empower everyone to ask and respect the answer.”

The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence, educate communities on how to prevent it and bolster prevention efforts throughout the year. In addition to publishing toolkits for individuals and organizations to plan and implement a SAAM campaign in their local communities, NSVRC has developed resources on learning how to recognize consentgiving and getting consent onlineteaching consent early, and understanding how power dynamics impact consent.

“Sexual Assault Awareness Month isn’t just about raising awareness. Our ultimate goal is prevention,” said Laura Palumbo, Communications Director at NSVRC. “Through the ‘I Ask’ campaign, we’re sharing the message that asking for consent not only ensures safe, consensual sexual experiences, but it also helps create a wider culture of respect that everyone can practice daily and in everyday situations.”

Sexual assault in the United States

  • One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives 

  • In the U.S., one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime 
  • 51.1% of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance 
  • 52.4% of male victims report being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger 
  • Almost half (49.5%) of multiracial women and over 45% of American Indian/Alaska Native women were subjected to some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime 
  • 91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and nine percent are male 
  • In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator 
  • Eight percent of rapes occur while the victim is at work 

Child Sexual Abuse

  • One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old 
  • 30% of women were between the ages of 11 and 17 at the time of their first completed rape 
  • 12.3% of women were age 10 or younger at the time of their first completed rape victimization 
  • 27.8% of men were age 10 or younger at the time of their first completed rape victimization 
  • More than one third of women who report being raped before age 18 also experience rape as an adult 
  • 96% of people who sexually abuse children are male, and 76.8% of people who sexually abuse children are adults 
  • 34% of people who sexually abuse a child are family members of the child 
  • It is estimated that 325,000 children per year are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial child sexual exploitation 
  • The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14 years old, and the average age at which boys first become victims of prostitution is 11-13 years old 
  • Only 12% of child sexual abuse is ever reported to the authorities.

Campus sexual assault

  • 20% - 25% of college women and 15% of college men are victims of forced sex during their time in college 
  • A 2002 study revealed that 63.3% of men at one university who self-reported acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape admitted to committing repeat rapes 
  • More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault 
  • 27% of college women have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact 
  • Nearly two thirds of college students experience sexual harassment 

There is a national network of community-based rape crisis centers, with centers available in every state and territory. These centers exist across the United States to provide supportive services to victims of sexual assault. 

The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), organizes the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline. The Hotline is a referral service that can put you in contact with your local rape crisis center. You can call the Hotline at 1-800-656-4673, or access RAINN’s online chat service.

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