BY PIXIE IWATA
This article talks about very sensitive topics such as sexual assault and abuse.
Growing up, you think that there would be people that were always going to be there for you no matter what. Whether it’s your family or friends, you think they’re supposed to be there for you to love and protect you from anything and everything. That, however, is not the case, and I, unfortunately, became aware of that at a very young age.
My nightmare of a story started when I was 8 years old. Then, when I thought it was over, it happened again at 12 years old. And yet again at 17. Three different stories with three different men, but all falling under the same title; sexual assault.
It wasn’t until recently that I finally spoke up about those who were touching, kissing, and grabbing me in ways I didn’t understand. It took me years to even grasp what was happening to me when I was younger.
I’m not the only one with a story like this. There are so many women and men who have gone through any form of sexual assault.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and although you may hate seeing this topic being talked about, we still need to discuss it because this may happen or has happened to you or someone you love.
By definition, sexual assault is the wide range of criminal acts that involve sexual actions, from nonconsensual touching to kissing.
Every 68 seconds there is someone who has been sexually assaulted somewhere in the United States. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 13% of all students have experienced rape or sexual assault in college.
These statistics are based on what has been reported, but there are many other people who are going through this without reporting it. In another study conducted by RAINN, they found that only 310 out of 1,000 sexual assaults are actually reported.
Let’s now take a step back from all these statistics, definitions, and data. because that’s not only what this month is about. It’s about the victims. It’s about us. Our experiences.
In almost every article I’ve ever read about sexual assault, they talk about victims as either just a number in their statistics or as people who are just vulnerable and helpless. And while we may be vulnerable, we are not helpless.
Victims of sexual assault are not defined by their trauma. They are not defined by someone else’s actions towards them and are not defined by whatever the media shows victims to be.
Everyone is different, everyone has their own stories… Listen to them. Sexual assault is something that no one should ever have to deal with alone.
Remember: You are not alone. There are so many people that have gone through what you’re going through, and you may not even know it. Take your time. Reach out.
If you or someone you know is going through any form of sexual assault and you need help, here are some resources:
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1(800) 656-4673
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: https://www.nsvrc.org/
For Students: https://www.knowyourix.org/
BY PIXIE IWATA