Laila Rahbari

As of 2000, the blue ribbon represents sexual assault awareness in the United States. Photo credit to https://www.efr.org/sexual-assault-awareness-month/ .

Anusha Sikand, Reporter

The month of April honors sexual assault awareness, encouraging communities to show support to the millions of unheard voices and survivors of sexual assault. Sexual assault is defined as the violence against another person for power over another, taking the other person’s choice away.  Victims of sexual assault are often left feeling helpless and traumatized. The national sexual violence resource center (NSVRC), the Resource Sharing Project (RSP), and many other organizations have worked hard to advocate the importance of consent and in 2000, the color blue was officially determined to be the representation of sexual assault awareness and prevention. 


Organizations work every day of the year in supporting survivors and raising awareness in society about assault and different forms such as inappropriate touching, nonconsensual kissing, and groping, and even rape. However, in April, communities of rape survivors come together and speak to others about their experiences and how they have come to terms with the chapter of their life they despise the most.  


“No amount of me trying to explain myself was doing any good. I didn’t even know what was going on inside of me, so how could I have explained it to them?” said survivor Sierra D. Waters.


There have been many movements in history showing support for those afraid to speak out such as the Me Too and Times up movements. In 2006, Tarana Burke, a sexual assault survivor, spoke out against her rapists, encouraging millions of survivors of sexual assault to speak out as well. This led to a chain of women supporting one another, and an inspiration for many who encountered or, at the moment were in, similar circumstances. The Me Too movement encouraged many people to come out and share their stories. 


Many voices are left unheard due to fear of judgment by society and family members, fear that no one would believe their story while others are forced to remain oppressed because the people closest to them force their silence. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted and every nine minutes a child is assaulted. However, only five out of every 1000 violators are imprisoned. Assault is not limited to women. A common misconception is rape victims are majority women. In fact, one out of every 10 rape victims is male. Many do not report their experience in fear of judgment in society or being unbelieved. 


“Even though it may not be commonplace in the United States, traveling around the world, there have been a number of cases where men are victims of sexual assault and many who remain silent.” said senior Kashyap Sreeram.  


Society has normalized the usage of rape alarms and different apps for safety as a means of protection. For transportation, some rely on Uber and it is not uncommon that an unknown driver may make a client feel unsafe. For this reason, rideshare companies such as Uber have 911 preinstalled in the app, automatically sending the location of the Uber to the police when pressed. Campus safety has also changed over the years through the installation of security cameras and rape alarms. These are important precautions that can potentially save people from dangerous situations. However, there are many instances where these protections are not enough. In order to show their support, Seminole County opened up the Victim Service Center of Central Florida to help crime victims. This center has helped hundreds of people find the help they need to move past their trauma. 


Assault can be a very traumatizing experience, leaving many people with emotional and physical scars and, most importantly, guilt. It is important to seek treatment or someone safe to talk to about negative social encounters, inappropriate touching, rape, etc. To make sure the help needed is received. Organizations such as RAINN have been created to aid those in need of help regarding cases of sexual assault. Being assaulted is NEVER your fault. 


Visit https://www.rainn.org/ for further information on sexual assault.

Call 8006564673 for the sexual assault hotline

The Victim Service Center of Central Florida’s Seminole County location: near The Sharing Center off Highway 1792 in Longwood.