by Kelli Knight, Outreach Coordinator at LaFASA
I don’t think it’s wrong to assume, each one of us wants to live in a society free from crime and oppression. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t yet exist, especially concerning sexual assault. The alarming statistics show that one in six women will be raped or experience attempted rape in her lifetime. Women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence; 90% of all adult rape victims are women. Over half of victims are ages 18 – 34 and a third are 35 – 64 years old. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Most assailants are someone the victim knows. Forty-four percent of lesbians and 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. Twenty-six percent of gay men and 37% of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.
Here’s why we need to take these statistics and completely digest them. A vast majority of us assume, “sexual violence hasn’t affected anyone I know.” The reality is that sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes. It’s estimated 63% of assaults are not reported to police and a majority of survivors live without disclosing their assault. Translated, these two paragraphs of facts conclude that though you may not be aware of it, someone who is close to you may be suffering from an assault in silence.
This is why outreach is so important. LaFASA is dedicated to reach even the silent survivors. We want everyone to know that help is easily accessible and that it’s confidential, free, available 24/7, and available to anyone-regardless of how long ago the assault occurred or if the victim is someone’s child or family member.
Sharing social media sites and links is a great way to get information to those who need it. We encourage you to follow LaFASA on social media as well as our blog and newsletter. But sometimes, it’s more effective to talk directly to individual groups and let those attending know about the help that is available.
If you are part of a club, organization, church, krewe, team, or meet-up, I am available and would love to meet where you are and briefly speak and hand out brochures. I’m also available to visit your office/workplace at a meeting or event to talk, answer questions, and hand out brochures. Conference calls are always on the table, too. If speaking isn’t possible, perhaps you might consider having a small table with brochures and information set up. Tabling large events is something we do, also. LaFASA doesn’t ask for any payment or donations in return. Our goal is strictly to reach those who need information. I hope you’ll consider reaching out to us, regardless of where you are located. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.