Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month?

Unfortunately, sexual assault can happen to anyone, during any stage of life, and remains one of the most underreported crimes.

In the United States alone, one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, and more than 50 percent of victims are assaulted by an intimate partner. In light of these shocking statistics, we want to share with you a few tips to help you protect yourself and those you love from becoming a victim of sexual assault.

1. Communicate.

Encouraging open communication between you and your loved ones can help you feel more comfortable sharing information with them in the event an emergency situation arises. Similarly, checking-in with your loved ones regularly can help you notice any warning signs that they have been a victim of sexual assault or may be in a situation that could lead to sexual assault. Even if your loved ones are not willing to openly discuss their relationships with you, encouraging open communication and remaining available to listen to them regularly may help them feel more comfortable leaning on you for support and guidance.

2. Recognize warning signs.

In eight out of ten sexual assault cases, the victim knows his or her perpetrator. This can make it particularly difficult for a victim to be open about the assault. The warning signs that someone has been a victim of sexual assault vary. There are some common symptoms, however, that it is important to be aware of, including signs of depression, increased anxiety, avoiding specific places, people, or situations, substance abuse, and withdrawal from social situations.

3. Share resources.

Regardless of whether you know someone who has been a victim of sexual assault, it is important to share resources with your loved ones in the event that they or a friend need them. We encourage you to connect them with a trained advocate in their area through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. This is a free and completely confidential service. Additional resources and information are readily available at www.rainn.org.

We know this can be a difficult topic to think about. In reality, however, sexual assault can affect anyone. Do you have further questions about protecting yourself or those you love? We are your local community law firm here to help you. Do not wait to contact us at any time, day or night.