Column: It’s Time to Bring More Awareness to Sexual Assault


Bella Smith

Sexual assault is a terrible problem that is spreading in our community. A sexual assault happens every 68 seconds. So why aren’t we talking about it more?

According to, one out of every six American women has encountered sexual assault along with one in 33 American men. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

This is important to talk about during the high school and late middle school years because about 66 percent of victims of sexual assault and rape are aged 12-17 years old.

Therefore, this month we should be talking about prevention about stopping sexual assault. Let’s start here:


When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. Consenting to one activity, at one time, does not mean someone gives consent for other activities or for the same activity on other occasions. And remember you can change your mind

at any time.

Respond if Someone Is Pressuring You

If someone is pressuring you to engage in sexual activity, it is important to remember that being in this situation is not your fault. Some ways to get out are: think of an escape route, it’s okay to lie to get out and have a code word with family and friends on how to get out.

Alcohol Safety

While it’s safest not to drink, there are steps you can take to increase your safety in situations where drinking might be involved. For example, if you drink, keep an eye on your friends, have a backup plan and know what you’re drinking. Along with not leaving your drink unattended, do not accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust and be aware of sudden changes in the way your body feels.

Symptoms of Trauma

Warning signs of someone who has been affected by sexual assault include unusual weight gain or weight loss, unhealthy eating patterns, signs of physical abuse and changes in self-care.

Getting Help

If you are worried about a loved one or have experienced sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE), tell a trusted adult or tell an authority.

Remember that you are not alone and that it is not your fault that this happened to you. Reaching out can offer you multiple ways to receive help and could stop the person from doing it again.

Preventing the sexual assault that happens every 68 seconds is something that our community should be talking about. This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Let’s be proactive and talk about stopping sexual assault.