Sexual violence is a serious public health issue that affects millions of men and women. According to the Center for Disease Control, in the United States alone, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 3 women reported experiencing sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their life.
As startling as that statistic may sound, it doesn’t capture the true magnitude of the problem as many victims do not tell police, family or friends about the incident. Unfortunately, this is a crisis that individuals may face at any age. Children, adolescents, adults and the elderly can all fall prey to attackers.
In an effort to draw attention to the pervasive problem, April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff issued a press release about the topic providing some information and commenting on the seriousness of sexual assault. He said that having respect for all individuals and understanding that it can be offensive to violate someone’s personal space will help eliminate this type of abuse.
The prosecutor added that consent is about respecting and accepting the choices of others in everyday situations. He stated that sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact including actions such as sexual harassment, name-calling, ‘revenge porn’, inappropriate contact and rape.
Bourff mentioned that changing attitudes that diminish the seriousness of sexual assault is another way all people can work to reduce the frequency of such incidents. This starts by discouraging anyone who victim blames or laughs at inappropriate or unwanted comments.
Those looking to speak with someone about a personal situation can contact the Victims Assistance Division of the Starke County Prosecutor’s Office at 574-772-7756. More information and helpful resources can be found on the Center for Disease Control website.