Victims of sexual assault have come forward with their stories in the past few weeks and months, making it a particularly active time in the headlines. As famous actors, executives, and politicians are falling under suspicion, it can be easy to lose sight of the everyday reality of most victims:
One out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime.* And the rich and famous aren’t the only ones committing sexual assault and harassment; about 70% of assault victims knew their attacker.
It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. First of all, please know that you are not alone. Below are some other things to keep in mind. If you are in immediate danger or have been seriously injured, call 911.
- Your safety is important. Are you in a safe place? If you’re not feeling safe, consider reaching out to someone you trust for support. You don’t have to go through this alone.
- What happened was not your fault. Something happened to you that you didn’t want to happen—and that’s not OK.
- Call the RACES (Rape Advocacy, Counseling and Education Services) hotline at 217/384-4444 or 1-877/236-3727. They provide free, confidential services to anyone who has been affected by sexual assault, abuse, or harassment.
When you call the hotline, a staff member will walk you through the process of getting help at your own pace.
*The above post was adapted from rainn.org/ and cu-races.org/.
[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]
Part of the college experience is becoming more aware of your contribution to society; you come to realize you can and do make a difference by serving the world around you. This month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, offers new opportunities for you to express that service. Here are two of them:
- Our RACES Fundraiser takes place April 26, 11 am–1 pm, in the Student Union. All proceeds will benefit Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services (RACES), a community rape crisis center. RACES offers advocacy, counseling, and crisis intervention for survivors of sexual assault and provides educational programs in Champaign, Piatt, Ford, and Douglas Counties.
While you’re at Parkland next Tuesday, buy and decorate a “I ♥ Consent” T-shirt. Take a selfie of yourself as you sign the “Empowering Words” wall, a new mobile assault and domestic battery awareness display. Make your own bracelets/wrist bands, Ultimately, make your voice heard, because it’s on ALL of us to say, “Not Anymore.”
Shirts are available in white $10 or blue at $15. If you’re unable to attend, you can still order a shirt by contacting Chaya Sandler at 217/353-2627 or me, Dean Marietta Turner, at 217/351-2505. Tell us your size, color and please make the check out to RACES.
- Take your group, club, friends or family and make a strong Parkland College showing at the 37th Annual TAKE BACK THE NIGHT walk:
37th Annual TAKE BACK THE NIGHT
Thursday, April 28, 6:30–10 pm
Lincoln Square, 201 Lincoln Square, Urbana
Take Back the Night is aimed at raising awareness around sexual violence and calling for its end by bringing together survivors, community members, students, and other supporters. Everyone will gather on the west side of Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana (intersection of Race and Green Streets), and march to the Main Quad beginning at 7 pm.
A rally and speak-out will follow the march. The speak-out will take place in room 217 in Noyes Laboratory (505 S. Matthews Ave., Urbana). This event is OPEN TO EVERYONE. We will march in inclement weather, barring dangerous conditions. For more information, call 217/344-6298.
On behalf of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Committee at Parkland, I encourage you to get involved and make your voice heard.
Dean of Students