In 2006, American activist Tarana Burke started the Me Too movement. Her goal was to empower and encourage girls who had undergone sexual abuse to speak. Fast forward to 2018, and “Me Too” became a full-fledged hash-tag sparking a vital conversation about sexual abuse and violence that had otherwise been swept under the carpet.
Young girls and women are the primary victims of sexual abuse. According to the New York Times, more than 201 powerful men have been brought down by the campaign. And more than half of their replacements are women. Over the years, there has been activism to ensure stricter punishment for sexual offenders. Defendants face up to 27 years in prison for sex crimes.
In confronting sexual assault, knowledge is power, and here are some of the things you should know.
Sexual Assault Occurs Every Two Minutes in the US
Yes, you read that right. According to RAINN, an innocent victim experiences sexual assault every two minutes. That works out to 720 incidents every day. Now if that’s not scary, I don’t know what is. Additionally, one out of every six women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. For men, the number is one out of every 33 men.
There are Different Kinds of Sexual Assault
If you think of sexual assault, what comes to mind? Chances, are you are thinking of rape. However, there’s more to sexual assault. Marshall University lists some of the different kinds of sexual assault:
- Rape—sexual intercourse against a person’s will
- Forcible sodomy—anal or oral sex against a person’s will
- Forcible object penetration—penetrating someone’s vagina or anus, or causing that person to penetrate her or himself, against that person’s will
- Marital rape
- Unwanted sexual touching
- Sexual contact with minors, whether consensual or not
- Incest (Sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion between family members)
- Any unsolicited or coerced sexual contact
Other sexual crimes include:
- Sexual harassment
- Solicitation of minors through the Internet
- Possession of child pornography
Most People Are Abused By Someone They Know
A 2011 study on college campuses showed that 60% of rape survivors knew the person who raped them. Out of that number, over 30% were raped by a romantic or intimate partner. In fact, marital rape is also a common occurrence.
Once you know someone personally, it is easy to let your guard down and blur the boundary lines for that person. That’s why you should be extra cautious even when dealing with people you know. Be ready to speak up and voice any concerns you have if you sense that someone close is going beyond their limits.
Child Sexual Abuse is Surprisingly Common
Unfortunately, sexual abuse of children is prevalent. Children are usually more trusting and easy-going with older people – particularly with people they know. And this makes them more vulnerable to abuse. That’s why you should be extra cautious about allowing people to spend time alone with your children. Also, make sure you filter the online experiences of your child. There are vicious sex offenders looking to prey on naive children.
Sexual Violence is Also Mental
While sexual violence is mostly physical, it has grave effects on the victim’s mental and psychological well-being. Survivors of sexual abuse are more likely to:
- Three times more likely to suffer from depression
- Six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder
- 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol
- 26 times more likely to abuse drugs
- Four times more likely to contemplate suicide
In a Sum
Sexual violence is a recurring theme across many news portals. There have been several campaigns to give a voice to many who have been silent on their abusive experiences. To help ensure sexual violence doesn’t happen around you or your community, you need to know what it entails. In this article, we have sharped some helpful insights into what sexual abuse is all about.