What once was a normal life changed in an instance. In the hot summer month of August, when the birds fly high and the sun always shines, the unthinkable happened. The sun quit shining, life felt like a cold dark eternal winter and unfortunately I’m not the only one.
I am one out of the many million sexual assault survivors. Unfortunately, fear and shame prevented me from getting justice, but this is my way of speaking out.
I may not have prevented other victims, but I plan on making up for it. I want everyone to close their eyes and just take in what I am about to say. According to The Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN), every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted; every eight minutes it is a child. One out of ten assault victims are men, and as of 1998, 17.7 million sexual assault victims had come forward.
Sexual assault affects everyone in every walk of life. Every ethnic group, religious group, and all ages. Different communities are affected, especially the transgender community. At least 21 percent of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, or nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted. The elderly are affected as well, and the statistics state that 3 percent of sexual assault victims are 65 years of age or older.
This has to stop! Our children, parents, grandparents, friends, and many more are affected by this every day.
Although sexual assault and rape statistics are still incredibly high, they have decreased. Since 1993, the rate of sexual assault and rape have decreased by 63 percent.
We are headed in the right direction but not enough is being done. As parents or mentors we need to open up the conversation. We need to teach our children that the body is a temple, not to be messed with. As a community, we need to create safe zones where people can go, and advertise them so everyone knows that they are available to them.
RAINN has a telephone hotline (800.656.HOPE) available to everyone 24/7. This service provides confidential services where you can talk to a sexual assault service provider that offers advice and support. RAINN has helped more than two million people since it was established in 1994, but in my opinion it lacks advertisement.
When I was going through my trauma, I had no idea these services existed. We need to inform people that these events can happen to anyone, and that there are places you can go that will help. We are all humans trying to share this world, and we need to support each other in these dark times. This cycle of violence and abuse needs to stop, and the eternal winter that 17.7 million people have experienced needs to end.