Saturday, April 11, 2009

President Obama declares April Sexual Assault Awareness Month

On April 8th, President Obama declared April to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In his statement, Obama said that "Sexual assault scars the lives of millions in the United States." He made special mention of violence on college campuses, noting, "Unlike victims of sexual assault in the larger community, students victimized by other students often face additional challenges in a "closed" campus environment." In conclusion, he urged Americans "respond to sexual assault by creating policies at work and school, by engaging in discussions with family and friends, and by making the prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities."

I think this is very exciting; it's wonderful that President Obama is helping add legitimacy to the knowledge that sexual violence is unacceptably prevalent both on college campuses and throughout the nation. In his announcement, he mentioned some statistics, which are familiar and tragic: 18 percent of American women have been raped, 10.8 percent of girls and 4.2 percent of boys in high school have been forced to have intercourse, and 13.7 percent of college women have been the victims of at least one completed sexual assault since entering college. Although studies vary in the exact numbers, what's clear is that sexual violence should be an urgent concern. I hope that we can accept the responsibility to work against sexual violence, and join President Obama in working to "
reduce the incidence of sexual assault and help all who have experienced this heinous crime"


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