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Sexual violence awareness: knowing the signs and how to prevent it

Sexual Assault Awareness Ribbon
Sexual Assault Awareness Ribbon(MGN)
Updated: Apr. 20, 2022 at 3:45 AM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in three women and nearly one in four men experience sexual violence involving physical contact during his or her lifetime. And 90% of the time, the perpetrator is someone that the victim knows and trusts.

Sexual violence impacts every community and affects people of all ages, races, genders, and sexual orientations.

There are people in southeast Minnesota who dedicate their careers to helping these survivors.

In 2021, the Victims Services Center for Olmsted, Dodge, and Fillmore Counties handled about 640 cases of sexual violence, with children under the age of 18 making up more than half of those cases.

Community members also play a critical role in preventing this public health issue by knowing the facts, creating a safe space for survivors, and stepping in when you see someone being targeted.

“They’re telling to the person who’s being targeted that, ‘Hey I got your back, I know this is not okay, I’m part of this community and I’m going to make sure that the person doing this understands that this kind of behavior and these words don’t have a place within this community and that they’re not acceptable,” Sam Khoshini, Violence Prevention Specialist with Olmsted County said.

This type of violence is common and can happen in person, online, and through technology. Signs of this include unwanted attention or touch and inappropriate words or gestures.

It’s critical to address this issue year-round.

Khoshini added, “Once we’re done with April, it doesn’t mean that it stops. We need to focus on educating ourselves, understanding the root causes, and what we can do as individuals to help victim survivors and to help prevent.”

There are resources available if you or someone you know is experiencing sexual violence. You can call the 24-hour crisis hotline in Rochester at 507-289-0636.

For more information about sexual assault awareness and prevention, click here.

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