Faces of Survivors

by Free Speech on April 13, 2010

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, WI
4/12/10

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year, Hope House of South Central Wisconsin is raising awareness through a poster campaign, Faces of Survivors.  Hope House staff and volunteers created over a hundred posters to be distributed around Columbia County.  Each poster has a cut-out of a man, woman, boy, or girl.  The message is that anyone can be a survivor.
It is estimated that about 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, often before the age of 15.  It is estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be victims of an attempted or completed rape.  Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact; rape is any type of sex that is unwanted.
Survivors are never to blame for what happened to them – perpetrators need to be held accountable for their crime.  In the vast majority of cases, the victim knows her/his perpetrator.  Perpetrators pressure, manipulate, coerce, threaten, or force victims into unwanted sexual contact.  Perpetrators are motivated by the need to feel powerful, to control, dominate, and humiliate the victim, and to take their anger out on that person.
Most sexual assaults are never reported to law enforcement – victims are embarrassed, blame themselves, afraid of their perpetrator, afraid they will not be believed or will not get justice, they cannot remember what happened due to alcohol and/or trauma, or they do not identify what happened as a sexual assault because they are unaware of the definition.
The Office of Justice Assistance estimates that in Columbia County there are 430 sexual assault victims each year.  This means that everyone knows someone that’s been sexually assaulted – in fact, you most likely know several survivors.  We need to stop the silence surrounding sexual assault.  As the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault says in their new campaign, we all need to “Rise to the Challenge” to end sexual assault, to envision our communities free of sexual violence, and work to turn that vision into reality.
Free and confidential help is available in Columbia County and can be accessed through Hope House’s 24-hour helpline 1-800-584-6790.  We provide counseling, peer support groups, legal assistance, accompaniment to sexual assault nurse examinations, safety planning, emergency shelter, and information and resources.
Our education program provides presentations and prevention activities to youth and adults on topics like sexual violence and bystander intervention.  To learn more, visit Hope House’s website at www.hopehousescw.org.
This April, be sure to look for Hope House’s Faces of Survivors posters in your community.  We hope it will inspire you to take action to support survivors and learn more about sexual assault and prevention.

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