Governor Burgum Declares April ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’
Governor Burgum signed the declaration earlier today (April 18th); the month of April will now be considered "Sexual Assault Awareness Month." The goal is not only to bring awareness to the growing issue, but to also take steps toward prevention.
The declaration was posted to the North Dakota Department of Health's Facebook page.
The declaration states that in 2021, there were almost 1,139 victims of sexual assault/violence in North Dakota, and that's just the primary victims. You might not know it, but when someone is sexually assaulted, the victims aren't the only ones impacted. The number of estimated secondary victims who visited rape crisis centers in North Dakota last year was right under 300.
With this declaration, state officials, schools and other entities are pledged to work to improve policies, promote healthy relationships, and stop harmful behaviors.
I'm happy to see these steps being taken. Let's not forget, part of the problem is the stigma behind bringing the issue to light. So, seeing our state encourage an open conversation is great.
It's hard enough for survivors to reach out and come forward when they need to; knowing that their community is there to support and believe them is everything.
What Is Sexual Violence?
According to the CDC, sexual violence is defined as "sexual activity when consent is not obtained or freely given." Sexual violence impacts many people of different ages and genders, and it's prevalent in every community, even here in North Dakota.
The CDC website also says that statistically, more than 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual violence. Not only that, but 1 in 4 men have also been found to experience sexual violence.
According to Rainn.org there are on average, 463,364 sexual assaults and rapes each year in the United States.
Statistica.com calculated the rape rate for each state, and it's quite alarming.
Find more statistics at Statista
If you're looking for help and/or guidance, CAWS North Dakota is a local organization that advocates for victims and offers help and support to those who need it.
National Assault Hotline: - 1-800-656-4673.
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