Unfortunately, sexual assault on Miami campuses and in homes and public places all across Florida is all too common. According to the CDC, one in five men and one in two women will experience some type of sexual violence during their lifetime. April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and there is no better time to review ways to keep ourselves safe and to help address this difficult issue.
There are many ways to make changes:
1) Follow your instinct.
Many survivors of assault report having a sentence or a sneaking suspicion that all was not right. However, they didn’t want to be rude or to offend anyone. When it comes to personal safety, trusting your instincts is important. If you feel that someone is behaving in an odd way or may become violent, remove yourself from the situation if at all possible.
2) Know the risks.
Most attacks come from people that the survivor knows. Just because you are spending time with someone you have met before, it does not mean that you are safe. Whether dating or meeting friends, consider your personal safety.
3) Talk to others.
One of the best ways to combat violence in our society is to engage in open discussions about it. This month, talk to others about violence. What are their ideas for stopping violence? What experiences have they had with violence? What can you do together to help address this issue?
4) Write your elected representatives and the media.
One of the problems with sexual assault is that jail time and penalties for it tend to be light compared to other crimes. It is not unusual for perpetrators to only serve a few months in prison. In addition, survivors sometimes report being treated poorly by the justice system or by police. Write your elected representatives if you have ideas about extending sentences or improving conditions for survivors. If you notice the media representing assault in an insensitive or offensive manner, write to them and explain to them why you can’t support that view. Make your voice heard.
5) Resist misconceptions.
Sometimes, we have misconceptions about the role that clothing, behavior, or alcohol play in instances of violence. The reality is that no one asks to be attacked. Survivors of abuse and sexual assault range in ages from toddlers to senior citizens. There is obviously nothing that a senior citizen is doing and nothing that a child is wearing that could provoke this type of violence. The only person to blame in any type of sexual attacks is the perpetrator.
6) Make a difference.
Contact RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) or other advocacy groups to find out how you can contribute or volunteer.
If you are survivor of sexual assault or abuse, keep in mind that there are laws that protect you. You may have a legal claim, even if the perpetrator is never caught. You may be able to file a claim against the attacker, against the property owner where the assault took place, and against others who are responsible for your injuries. To find out more, contact Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free, no obligation case review. Our South Florida and Hollywood personal injury lawyers offer legal advice and representation to those who have been injured.