WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) were joined by 27 of their colleagues today to introduce a bipartisan congressional resolution recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
“The reckoning we’ve seen in every sector across the country against those who use their positions of power to not only commit abuses, but to get away with them, has erupted into a national awakening and pushed our fight against sexual violence forward,” Rep. Speier said. “It is critical that Congress recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month and I’m glad to support my colleague Representative Reed in these efforts. We cannot be complacent when 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in America will be raped in their lifetime. We must honor this cause not just during this month, but all year round. We must support survivors by providing the resources needed to fight this epidemic of sexual violence and eliminate it from our society once and for all.”
“Every 92 seconds another American is sexually assaulted,” Rep. Reed said. “We care about the men, women and children who have been the unfair victims of these heinous crimes, and cannot afford to let survivors live in shame and in the shadows any longer. It’s time to recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.”
In addition to the stark number of women and men who will suffer sexual assault in their lifetimes, studies also show that children and young adults are most at risk of sexual assault and men and women of all racial, social, religious affiliation, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic groups are affected by this violent epidemic. Additionally, sexual violence takes many forms, including acquaintance, stranger, spousal, and gang rape, incest, child sexual abuse, elder sexual abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation of disabled persons and members of the LGBTQ community, commercial sex trafficking, sexual harassment, and stalking.
In addition to the strong bipartisan support for this resolution, numerous survivor groups and advocates have voiced their support for this initiative.
"Sexual violence is an issue that affects nearly every family in America. It’s vital that we as individuals and communities take action—together,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN president and founder. “In April we put a special focus on bringing attention to this issue and finding ways to work together to end it. Our National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 to ensure survivors get the help they need and deserve."
"We're grateful for the efforts of Representatives Reed and Speier to call attention to the needs of survivors and the importance of prevention in our communities by honoring Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and we applaud them for being champions of the Violence Against Women Act,” said Terri Poore, Policy Director, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. “This is exactly the kind of leadership we need to end sexual violence."
If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual assault, please contact local law enforcement to report this crime. Additional resources are available for survivors. To learn more, contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline for safe and confidential help at 800-656-HOPE (4673).