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    The National Sexual Violence Resource Center provides information about assault and how people can respond to assault. graphic provided by nsvrc.org

April is sexual and child abuse awareness month

in Health by

Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino, who both suffered sexual assault at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, helped spearhead federal investigation into campus crime when they filed a federal complaint against UNC for mishandling sexual assault. Working from their experiences, the two have created a book We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out. Clark and Pino were also featured in the highly recommended The Hunting Ground documentary which also analyzes sexual assault on college campuses.

As one Good Reads reviewer says, “With documentaries such as ‘The Hunting Ground’ and books such as ‘We Believe You,’ we are finally allowing people to step forward to share their experiences, not just the assault itself, but the horrible follow-up that involves their institutions not prepared for how to handle these kinds of accusations. . . It’s a f****** mess.”

Books like “We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out” not only better inform those who should be assisting abuse survivors, they remind us how big the sexual assault problem really is.

An estimated 27.2 percent of women and 11.7 percent of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact, and 13 percent of women and 6 percent of men have experienced sexual coercion in their lifetime (i.e., unwanted sexual penetration after being pressured in a nonphysical way), according to the Center for Disease Control’s The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey Studies and Sexual Violence on Campuses summaries.

It should also be noted that sexual assault is not exclusive to cisgenders. Sexual assault is prevalent in the LGBTQ community as well. Statistics show that 46.4 percent lesbians, 74.9 percent bisexual women reported sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes, while 40.2 percent gay men, and 47.4 percent bisexual men reported sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, however, calls rape the “most underreported crime, claiming that “an estimated 63 percent [of sexual assaults] are never reported to the police,” citing a 2002 study by Rennison.

Battered Persons Advocacy in Roseburg, which has an office at 1202 SE Douglas, coordinates a county wide sexual assault team and assists with acute hospital rape responses. They also provide services related to domestic abuse. Their website states that “one in four Douglas County residents has used services at BPA in their lifetime.” UCC’s Campus Mental Health, Recovery & Wellness Center will work with BPA for students as needed.

While sexual assault awareness campaigns date back to the late 1970s, it wasn’t until the month of April 2001 that the campaign was nationally recognized in America. In 2009, April was then officially proclaimed Sexual Assault Awareness Month by President Obama.