Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault Reference
One of the more sensitive issues we face today is the presence of sexual assault and rape in society. Sexual Assault Awareness Month is dedicated to helping build awareness for survivors, provide resources and help put an end to this horrible reality.
What classifies as a Sexual Assault?
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), laws surrounding sexual assault represent everything from notifying universities and other colleges about sexual violence on campus, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, helping survivors deal with the costs associated with post-crime services like medical, counseling and lost wages, as well as many others. Listed on their site for you to research are the Debbie Smith Act, Clery Act, Campus SaVE Act, SAFER Act, Title IX, and the Victims of Crime Act. While specific laws can vary between states, sexual assault is not limited to physical interactions. Sending unsolicited nude photos, saving and distributing nude photos of someone other than oneself, and coercion into explicit situations are common assaults that aren’t physical, but can still be considered sexual assault in many area. Other microaggressions that could lead to sexual assault or trigger memories of a past assault in a survivor are overly aggressive flirting, non-sexual and non non-consensual touching as well as making comments implicating the sexuality or a sexual interaction with someone.
Sexual assault is also not just limited to adults. In some cases, assaults can occur in someone’s adolescence and shape them for the rest of their lives. People of all genders, sex, age, and sexuality can fall victim to this assault, but this does not define them. The best way to support survivors is to listen and let them guide how you can support them. There is no one size fits all and everyone goes at their own pace, so it is important not to push them when they are still healing.
In support of survivors, below are a few resources that could help either yourself or a friend if they are needed. Remember, it is never your fault, and there are plenty of people willing to support in any way they can.
24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline
Domestic Violence Resources Site
24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline
1(800) 799 - 7233