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Be Alert!!!
Saturday, January 7, 2023 by Dr James H Dotson Jr

Did you know that every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted?

Or did you know that:

  • 1 out of every 6 American women and about 1 out of every 33 American men has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime;  
  • Eight out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim; and 
  • Only 25 out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison?

Or were you aware that from 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse? (Note: A majority of child victims are 12-17. Of victims of sexual assault and rape under the age of 18: 34% are under age 12, and 66% are age 12-17.)

What is Sexual Violence?

These statistics do not tell the whole story about sexual violence, because there are other forms of sexual violence and, unfortunately, many cases of sexual violence are unreported because victims:

  • May be ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid to tell the police, family, or friends about the violence. 
  • May keep silent because they have been threatened with further harm to self or family if they tell anyone.
  • Do not think anyone will believe or help them.

“Sexual violence is sexual activity when consent is not obtained or freely given.”

Sexual violence is an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to rape, sex trafficking, sexual assault, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, incest, intimate partner sexual violence, and other forms of nonconsensual or forced sexual activity. (Note: Here in the USA, the legal definition of crimes vary from state to state.)

Sexual violence is a serious problem that profoundly impacts the health and wellbeing of those who are victims. And the impacts can be lifelong, especially if left unaddressed. 

Is Help Available for Victims of Sexual Violence?

Yes!!! If you need help or know someone who does, consider these resources.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

National Domestic Violence Hotline

  • Free. Confidential. 24/7.
  • Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) OR TTY 1.800.787.3224
  • Text “START” to 88788
  • Chat Live Online

love is respect

  • Help specifically for young people.
  • Call 1.866.331.9474 OR TTY 1.800.787.3224
  • Text LOVEIS to 22522
  • Chat Live Online

Read the brochure Breaking the Silence: You Can Stop the Violence. This can be a healthy step to getting the help you need.

What Can We Do to Stop Sexual Violence?

First, be alert. “… Anyone can experience or perpetrate sexual violence. The perpetrator of sexual violence is usually someone the survivor knows, such as a friend, current or former intimate partner, coworker, neighbor, or family member. …”

Second, set aside myths and other common beliefs about sexual violence that are not true. These undermine efforts to prevent sexual violence, become an obstacle to taking appropriate actions when sexual violence does occur, and ultimately make it difficult for victims of sexual violence to receive the help and justice they so deserve. 

Space in this blog does not permit an exhaustive review of these myths and false beliefs. To raise awareness about the facts about sexual violence, begin by reading the brochure Breaking the Silence: You Can Stop the Violence.

In the meantime, let me just call out some of the falsehoods that are common.  

  • Only strangers molest children. 
  • Children will quickly outgrow effects of abuse. 
  • Abuse survivors exaggerate.
  • Some people ask, provoke, or want to be abused.
  • It is a sin for Christian victims to seek to prosecute their abusers. 
  • Some people deserve to be abused.

These are among the myths and common beliefs that are not true, which are obstacles to dealing lovingly and justly with victims of sexual violence.

Finally, if you suspect someone you know is being abused, the Women’s Ministries Department of General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists offers this counsel on how you can help.

  • Call the authorities and report the abuse.
  • Don’t try to solve the abuse situation by yourself.
  • Find out about abuse prevention agencies in your area. Call and initiate the help needed.
  • Listen without interrupting and don’t feel as though you have to offer advice.
  • Encourage him/her to seek professional counseling.
  • Don’t criticize the abuser.
  • Offer to be a prayer partner.
  • Invite him/her to join you on outings without bringing up the abuse situation.
  • Keep your word and frequently follow-up to see how he/she is doing.

Be alert!!! Don’t be a passive bystander. Do what you can to help stop sexual violence.

References

“Breaking the Silence: You Can Stop the Violence”

CDC, Injury Center, Violence Prevention, Intimate Partner Violence

CDC, Injury Center, Violence Prevention, Sexual Violence

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

For More Information

Visit the TFT Online Resource Center for more information about sexual abuse and exploitation.

Copyright © 2023 Training for Transformation, Inc. All rights reserved.


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