Tag Archives: Statistics

Be Aware, Not Afraid

(A guest blog, written by Maggie P., a Practicum student at SAVES, the Franklin County office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services.  Thank you, Maggie!)

As a female, I have always been taught to recognize and defend myself against those who may cause me harm.  For example, my parents started telling me from a young age to not walk alone at night, to avoid unfamiliar places, and to keep my guard up at all times when interacting with strangers.  This dialogue is common among adolescent females and their protectors, so I never thought anything of it.  As I have grown older, and have become more aware of the world around me, the idea of my parents telling me to be constantly afraid seems ridiculous.  When I came to college at the University of Maine at Farmington, I was given a “rape whistle” in my orientation packet.  It was a joke among my friends, and no one took the tool seriously, especially because there was a $25 fine if you blew it when not in crisis.  I just learned recently, however, that only females were given these whistles; male students had the option as to whether or not they wanted one.  Seriously?  I took this information to be very offensive, as did the other females I was with who found out.  I understand that the university is just trying to protect their female students, but to only assume that we would be the victim of rape or sexual violence is absolutely absurd.  Many people associate sexual violence with the female gender because we are most often seen as vulnerable and, statistically, we are the majority of the victims.  People seem to overlook the fact that 1 in 5 males will be the victim of some sort of sexual violence other than rape at some point in their lifetime (Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault).  I don’t know whether this is due to a lack of education or people’s own choice to overlook the fact, but sexual violence can happen to anyone.  In high schools and universities, this statement should be reinforced.  Maybe this would open young people’s eyes to the severity of sexual violence among all genders, races, and ages.  Education is the best way to prevent sexual violence; not encouraging young females to constantly be on guard and on the defense.  When I was in high school, I don’t remember any lessons in my health class that focused on sexual violence or rape.  I understand that some people still see it as a taboo subject, but without education there can be no progression.  If we continue to just reinforce the defense method to young adult females, and completely ignore young adult males, sexual assault statistics are never going to change.  Schools need to implement education programs, get facts to their students, and encourage the younger generations to be aware instead of just afraid.

 

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Throughout this month, our School-Based Advocates will be working with local area teens to educate and raise awareness around the issues.

National Statistics: 

* Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year
* 1 in 3 teens in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence
* 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend
* 1/4 of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse

[For Teens]:

*  If you are in an abusive relationship…please talk to somebody that you trust:  parent, teacher, etc.  It’s okay to get help.
*  Know that it’s not your fault, and that you are not alone.  You deserve to be happy, and feel loved.  “Love is NOT abuse.”

[For Parents – tips for talking to your teens about healthy relationships]:

* Share the facts about healthy relationships…be sure to listen respectfully to your teen’s answer, even if you don’t agree. Then you can offer your opinion and explore other options together
* Set rules for dating…as kids get older, they gain more independence and freedom. However, teens still need parents to set boundaries and expectations for their behavior.
* Be a role model…you can teach your kids a lot by treating them and others with respect.
* Talk to your kids about sex…teach your children the facts about their bodies, sex, and relationships. Talking to your kids about sex may not be easy, but it’s important. You can help them stay healthy and make good choices as they grow up.
* Talk to your teen about any concerns…write down the reasons you are worried. Listen to your teen calmly, and thank him/her for opening up.

(Sources: healthfinder.gov & teendvmonth.org)

 

Stalking, Human Trafficking & The Superbowl

Today, January 31st, marks the end of Stalking Awareness Month & Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  However, just because the month is ending, that does not mean that we are stopping.  We will continue to educate, raise awareness, and work towards ending these violent crimes all year ’round.

Quick facts about stalking:
* 6.6 million people are stalked annually in the United States
* Nearly 75% of victims know their stalker in some capacity
* 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week
* 11% of victims have been stalked for 5 years or more
* 2% of stalking victims in 2008 experienced sexual violence by the stalker (this number rises to 31% when the stalker is a current or former intimate partner)
(Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008)

Quick facts about human trafficking:
* Nearly 300,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year  (Estes & Weiner, 2001)
* Between 600,000 and 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year  (USDOS, 2009)

Also, something to think about this weekend while you’re watching the Superbowl… 

The Super Bowl is commonly known as one of the largest human trafficking incidences in the U.S.

 

 

How many are falsely accused of rape?

Not many…

MYTH:  ”Women are always ‘crying rape;’ claiming they were raped when they were not.”

FACT:  Only “2-8% of all of the accusations of sexual assault reported to law enforcement are false reports, the same rate as other type of violent crime (Lonsway, Archambault, & Lisak, 2009).”

MYTH:  ”If there are so many people being sexually assaulted, why don’t I know any victims?”

FACT:  ”Survivors of sexual assault often suffer in silence because they experience shame, embarrassment and fear that no one will believe them.  Offenders will often threaten to harm survivors or their families to guarantee their silence.  Sexual assault is one of the least reported crimes in the United States (Rand & Truman, 2009).  Everyone probably knows a survivor of sexual violence.  However, many survivors are very selective about whom they tell and may not disclose their experiences.  Sexual assault remains largely unreported and undisclosed because it is one of the only types of crimes for which survivors carry an undue burden of shame and guilt.”

[Adapted from – Help In Healing:  A Training Guide For Advocates, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2011]

January is Stalking Awareness Month

Stalking is not romantic, and it is not funny.  Stalking is real, and it is a crime…it does not only happen to celebrities.  “Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”

* 6.6 million people are stalked annually in the United States
* Nearly 75% of victims know their stalker in some capacity
* 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week
* 11% of victims have been stalked for 5 years or more
* 2% of stalking victims in 2008 experienced sexual violence by the stalker (this number rises to 31% when the stalker is a current or former intimate partner)

[Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008]

If you or someone you know is being stalked, please call us at 1-800-871-7741 (Maine only).  If you live outside of Maine, you can call the national sexual assault helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE. You do not have to go through this alone.