Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2022
Friday, April 1, 2022
It starts with believing
Believe people when they choose to disclose one of the most traumatic experiences of their life. Believe that at least one of your friends or family members have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
Believe that it happens here, too. A 2019 data report by the South Dakota State University and the Dept. of Health analyzed sexual assault trends throughout South Dakota. The findings were shocking. Hughes County has the 3rd highest rape rate per 100,000 in South Dakota, at 70.2. Pennington County (135.6) and Davison (78.7) were the only counties higher than Hughes County.
According to the same report, South Dakota has the 6th highest rape rate per 100,000 in the United States (72.6) - and this is the highest the rape rate has been in South Dakota since 1960. These numbers are staggering, and they are real.
We can change that, and it starts with supporting survivors. Coming forward, naming their abuser, and pressing charges are all terrifying things for victims to do. We must make safe spaces, online and off, for our loved ones who have experienced this trauma. The simple act of providing a safe and supportive environment may encourage a victim to hold their abuser accountable in court. Even they choose not to, every act of kindness and support makes a difference.
This includes what we say online. We might forget that real people, with real experiences, will read what we share on the internet. What we say and share matters. Show your support this April by going to nsvrc.org/saam and sharing graphics on your social media platforms.
Source: Sexual Violence in South Dakota 2019 Data Report. Tracey McMahon et al. Population Health Evaluation Center. South Dakota State University. March 2021. Accessed from https://doh.sd.gov/documents/Prevention/2019_SD_SexualViolenceReport.pdf