April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). On average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. Ages 12-34 are at the highest risk. While 82% of all juvenile victims are female and 90% of adult rape victims are female, approximately 3 million men in the U.S. have been victims of rape or attempted rape. One out of every ten victims are men. If that weren’t bad enough, it gets worse when we look at the LGBT community: 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males. Sadly, many sexual assaults go unreported.
The after-effects of sexual assault can be devastating: 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks following the rape, 30% of women report symptoms of PTSD 9 months after the rape, 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide, and 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide. There are also high rates of significant problems developing with work peers, bosses, family, and friends. Of course, there are also risks of pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted illnesses.