Data from RAINN shows that a sexual assault happens once every 73 seconds in the United States. What’s more, 2019 statistics for Montana alone show that 58.4 out of every 100,000 state residents were victims of forcible rape that year. Our personal injury attorneys at Hoyt & Blewett PLLC are proud to observe Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month 2021 in addition to our year-round advocacy for the rights of sexual assault survivors in court.
Sexual Assault Affects All Americans
Although the issue of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault has become the focus of national conversation, there is still a substantial amount of work to be done to squash it. National statistics, as reported by RAINN, show that 1 in 6 women has experienced attempted or completed rape within their lifetime. This issue also affects men, with 1 in 33 American men experiencing sexual violence.
Per data from RAINN, indigenous peoples, women of college age, and transgender college students are disproportionately affected by sexual assault:
- Indigenous peoples are reportedly twice as likely to be victims of assault than members of any other race;
- Regardless of whether they are actually enrolled in college, women of college age (18 to 24 years old) experience sexual violence at rates 3 to 4 times higher than that of women in general; and
- Twenty-one percent of transgender college students have been victims of assault, as opposed to 18% of cisgender women and 4% of cisgender men enrolled in college.
How to Support Sexual Assault Survivors
Sadly, the stigma surrounding sexual assault only serves to make it harder for survivors to come forward about their trauma. To support survivors and reduce the rate of sexual assault in your community, it is important to speak up and speak out with compassion.
For instance, if a friend confides in you about their experience with sexual assault, do your best to support them by showing compassion. Make sure to remember that survivors are never to blame for what happened. Questions about what they were wearing, whether they were drinking alcohol, or why they would go to a party/bar alone insinuate that you believe them to be partially at fault, regardless of whether you intend to insinuate this or not. Instead, ask them how they are feeling, listen to their experience without judgment, and offer to help them find a counselor or report the incident to law enforcement.
In terms of prevention, bystander intervention can go a long way toward stopping sexual harassment and assault. Typically, there are four ways to be an active bystander:
- Create a distraction, such as by cutting off the conversation between the harasser and the victim to give the victim a chance to leave;
- Ask the victim directly, such as asking if they need help or if they would like you to stay with them and help them find their friends;
- Refer to an authority, such as by asking a security guard to step in and diffuse the situation; and/or
- Enlist others, such as by asking others to join you in helping the victim.
Through survivor support and bystander intervention, the issue of sexual violence, harassment, and assault can be solved. Together, we can empower survivors and make Montana a safer place for everyone.
Caring, Compassionate Counsel for Survivors
If you have been the victim of sexual assault, our highly qualified personal injury attorneys at Hoyt & Blewett PLLC will advocate for you and your rights. Backed by more than 130 years of collective experience, our skilled legal team has earned recognition from the Inner Circle of Advocates and Lawdragon, among others. When you are ready, contact Hoyt & Blewett PLLC online. Confidential consultations are offered free of charge and carry no obligation to move forward.