April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and chances are someone in your life has experienced sexual violence. Family and friends, colleagues, neighbors, and classmates carry the trauma and burden of sexual assault with them. Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men report experiencing sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.
Sexual violence affects all people, regardless of geography, race, age, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic background. One in four women and 1 in 26 men have survived a rape or attempted rape. Abuse can happen anywhere — at work, home, school, public places, or online. It can lead to depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other physical and emotional wounds.
It’s essential to support and advocate for victims of sexual assault. Primary prevention plays a key role and can be deployed in everyday life. Those approaches can include:
- Being a role model for respectful relationships
- Speaking up when hearing harmful comments or witnessing acts of disrespect or violence
- Creating policies at workplaces and schools
- Talking with legislators and asking them to support prevention programs
The International Institute of Buffalo’s Survivor Support department offers safe, free, and confidential services for those affected by domestic violence and human trafficking, regardless of age, immigration status, or type of exploitation.
You are not alone. The Institute works with hundreds of survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence each year from countries worldwide. Our staff also provides professional training and community presentations aimed at increasing the identification of human trafficking and domestic violence in Western New York and helping professional partners work more effectively with this specialized population.
If you want more information on receiving training, please call 716-222-3890 and ask for Survivor Support Services staff. Services are free and safe; we will not call the police. For more information, click here.