Building Connected Communities in Observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

It’s a topic that many times goes unheard—sexual assault. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and organizers are working to bring attention to what’s considered a public health issue. This year’s theme, Building Connected Communities, is designed to encourage people to work together to support healthy, safe, respectful behaviors and environment. The idea is to motivate people to work together, support those who have been sexually assaulted and be aware of ways to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the community where individuals live and work.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sexual assault is usually someone that the survivor knows, such as a friend, neighbor, or family member. Other statistics show that it’s common, with more than half of women and nearly 1 and 3 men reporting that they have been involved in some form of sexual assault.

Sexual assault has long term consequences that can lead to chronic illnesses, suicidal or depressive thoughts, and substance abuse. It’s impact not only hurts the survivor but the community.

The Virginia Department of Health has a list of resources and programs available to help survivors and individuals who want more information about sexual violence and sexual assault.