According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) – there are an average of 293,066 victims of rape and sexual assault each year (age 12 or older). That number is staggering, however, sexual assault has actually fallen by 49% in recent years thanks, in part, to the awareness raised by organizations like RAINN and others. Sadly, we are a long way from eradicating this widespread problem. A sexual assault still occurs every two minutes in the US.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month #SAAM – a month spent talking openly about the harsh reality of this epidemic. A month spent trying to chip away at the stigma still attached to rape. Victims of sexual assault face a wide variety of issues following their experience. Not only do they often feel unwilling to report their rape, but they are also very likely to experience mental health challenges, substance abuse issues and flashbacks to the attack.
The National Women’s Study recently produced dramatic confirmation of the mental health impact of rape. The study determined comparative rates of several mental health problems among rape victims and non-victims.
- Almost one-third (31%) of all rape victims developed PTSD sometime during their lifetime
- More than one in ten rape victims (11%) still has PTSD today
- Rape victims were 6.2 times more likely to develop PTSD than women who had never been victims of crime (31% vs 5%)
- 21% of all rape victims were experiencing a major depressive episode at the time of assessment (By contrast, only 10% of women never victimized by violent crime had ever had a major depressive episode; and only 6% had a major depressive episode when assessed.)
- Rape victims were 4.1 times more likely than non-crime victims to have contemplated suicide.
- Rape victims were 13 times more likely than non-crime victims to have attempted suicide (13% Vs 1%)
It’s these statistics that made us produce the groundbreaking, award-winning documentary The Hunting Ground about sexual assault on college campuses. You can do a lot to raise your own voice for the cause. Watch the film, share it with others using #TheHuntingGround, be ready to prevent a sexual assault before it happens, support organizations like RAINN and, most importantly, be willing to talk openly about the problem.
We want to be part of the much-needed movement to reverse these horrible statistics. We want to be part of the solution. We want to help prevent the pain and suffering of survivors and their families. We want to raise our voices for the cause.
Won’t you please raise yours with us?