Beyond the Headlines: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

DULUTH, MN — We’re starting off this week’s episode with some startling statistics.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be raped at some point in their lives. 51 percent of female victims reported being raped by an intimate partner.

And while rape is the most under-reported crime, it’s also the most costly, with the lifetime cost of rape per victim estimated at $122,000.

It’s these figures, and the push to end the silence, that has helped April become recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. People across the country are being asked to do their part in raising awareness, and educating one another on how to stop the problem.

Here in the Twin Ports, that effort gets underway this week.

This week Dan Wolfe sits down with Sara Niemi, Executive Director of the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault–or PAVSA–to talk more about her organization’s mission, and the events you can take part in this month in an effort to spread awareness of the issue of sexual assault.

Meanwhile Niemi, PAVSA, and others involved across the country in ending sexual assault are asking people to take part in a pledge drive known as “Start By Believing.” Officials say it was started in April 2011 by End Violence against Women International (EVAWI), and has only grown since then.

In a nutshell, the pledge asks people to:

  • Start by believing when someone tells you they were sexually assaulted
  • Support the survivor on the road to justice and healing
  • Help end the silence

You can take the pledge right now by clicking this link. PAVSA also has pledge card than can be hand-signed at their Duluth office.

And follow these links for more on sexual assault awareness month, the events in our area, and PAVSA.

Billy Wagness

Billy Wagness

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