April is sexual assault awareness month. I wanted to use this platform to open up a discussion on a topic that no one wants to talk about, sexual assault. While sexual assault isn't just against women, (Read this article!) and is a serious problem in the LGBT community (Read this!); I will only be discussing violence against women in this particular post.
I recently saw this t-shirt that a crisis center, I used to work for, put together. It perfectly states what consent really means. This is important because a large majority of men and woman are unaware of what consent means and that it is NOT okay to have sex with someone WITHOUT their consent. I'm going to say that again to be clear: it is NOT okay to have sex with someone WITHOUT their consent. A startling new statistics says that 1 in 3 college men would rape a woman if they didn't think they knew they would be caught or punished in any way (Source). The culture or rape and violence against woman is so pervasive that a recent study revealed that women today might not be reporting rape incidents because they assume that it is the norm to be assaulted and abused (Source).
My novel, Seasons, addresses both domestic and sexual assault. I thought it was important to give an honest voice to women who experience violence. I especially wanted to show some of what the healing process looks like for a woman who has been assaulted. While each person's experiences are different and how they handle it is different, I did try and show one perspective.
If you would like to know more about the effect sexual violence has on someone the website H.A.L.T has a pretty comprehensive list.
If you or someone you know has been assaulted, know that your safety is important and that it is not your fault. If you feel unsafe, consider reaching out to someone you trust, you don't have to go through this alone. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673). They can link you up with support services in your local area.