In the United States, the month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). SAAM is a movement promoted by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) to raise awareness and education on sexual assault with aims at preventing sexual violence. The first instance of SAAM occurred in 2001.
In March, a bipartisan group of US Representatives submitted House Resolution 186 which calls for Congress to officially recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The resolution is currently still pending in committee.
The frequency and regularity of sexual assault is shocking. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), one of the largest anti-sexual violence organization, works to prevent and educate on sexual assault and violence. RAINN has published some startling statistics about the prevalence of sexual assault:
- There are more than 293,000 victims of rape and sexual assault each year
- Every 107 seconds a person is sexually assaulted in the United States
- 80 percent of the victims of sexual assault are under the age of 30
The 2015 SAAM campaign is titled “Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus.” The theme of this year’s SAAM focuses on preventing sexual assaults on college campuses, which experience a higher frequency of sexual assaults than the general public. According to some reports as many as 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college.
Sexual assault can have devastating effects on victims. Some of the more prevalent impacts on victims of sexual assault are: post-traumatic stress disorder; sexually transmitted infections and diseases; depression; substance abuse; sleep disorders; eating disorders; suicidal thoughts; and many other mental and physical ailments.
In California, if you have been the victim of a sexual assault, then you have a number of legal options available. These legal options include both criminal and civil actions. In the criminal actions, the district attorney (the prosecutor) brings criminal charges on behalf of the county/state against the perpetrator. In these cases, the prosecutor seeks to convict the perpetrator of committing a crime, which may end up in fines and/or jail or prison time.
A number of civil actions may also be available for survivors of sexual assault. If you have experienced any of the negative impacts of a sexual assault then you may be able to recover in a civil case. These negative impacts may include; medical bills, bills from counseling, bills for any medication, loss of a job, loss of enrollment at school, emotional distress and many other impacts. In many cases, victims do not realize that they can bring a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of a sexual assault, but if you can prove they have damaged you, then you may be able to recover compensation.
Cases of sexual assault have been increasing in San Diego. In fact, UCSD is expanding its sexual assault prevention center. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a Southern California or San Diego sexual assault, contact the sexual assault attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP today to discuss your case. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and emotional distress. Contact our San Diego office: 619-512-5995 or Riverside office: 951-200-4630.