Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

We take this opportunity to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on the resources available to survivors.

Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime. Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped. One in three female victims and one in four male victims of rape or attempted rape experienced it for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17. The latest 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey estimates that only about 25% of cases were reported to police that year.

These statistics are discouraging and disheartening. Survivors of these heinous crimes need support and deserve justice. It can be difficult and often frustrating to ensure the latter in today’s changing public safety political climate, but we must do better to ensure resources are available to help.

If you or someone you know has experienced any form of sexual assault, please visit The National Sexual Violence Resource Center or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656- HOPE (4673).

In my capacity, I am proud to have introduced AB 1968, which instructs the CSU and UC campuses to standardize content on their websites so victims of sexual assault can quickly and easily find the necessary resources immediately following an incident.

Unfortunately, sexual assault is still pervasive on college campuses, with 13% of all students experiencing some form of sexual assault or violence. Despite improved availability of services, data indicates only about 1 in 5 college-aged female survivors received assistance from a victim services agency.

Current information resources on higher education campuses lack clarity and organization which limits their effectiveness. Connecting survivors to resources that can immediately assist them must be a priority so they can take back control of their safety, health, and start healing.

Fortunately, AB 1968 passed through the State Assembly today with no opposition and bipartisan support, and is headed over to the Senate for approval.

This is a tough topic to talk about, but we can help bring about positive change, action, and healing to the survivors through communication and awareness.