Rape is not Republican. Rape is not Democrat. Rape is an act of power, control, and violation that crosses all political boundaries.
Our country is in the midst of a rape dialogue that is being driven by the statements of political candidates. The conversation has shifted to semantics, definitions and perpetuation of myths and mistruths. The fact is that one in four women in this country are victims of sexual assault and their political affiliation and that of their rapist have no bearing on this heinous crime.
In the past year, 206 women in our community reported sexual assaults to law enforcement and underwent an evidentiary exam at a local hospital. 800 victims called our 24 hour Support & Information Line to seek help. Another 264 received 1,504 hours of sexual assault counseling at WEAVE. Given that fewer than one out of ten victims reports the crime to law enforcement and less than half (46%) of sexual assault victims seek any help after the assault, we know an even greater number endured the assault alone and have not benefited from therapeutic counseling.
For some victims, their attacker was an acquaintance or friend. For others, the assailant was a complete stranger they had never met. In some cases, the rapist was a spouse or partner.
The common thread amongst each of their stories of survival is the fear that consumed their lives not only during the assault but in the hours after when they reported to police or sat alone filled with terror, dread and for too many, shame and self-doubt. This fear continued in the days and weeks that followed when they were awakened by nightmares, haunted by flashbacks and questioned about their actions and inactions.
The fear is legitimate. The pain is real. The affect is life changing.
WEAVE believes every victim of sexual assault deserves unconditional support in the hours, days, weeks, and years following the attack. This support is critical if victims are to become survivors. Since 1988, WEAVE has been the sole rape crisis center in Sacramento County. We are tasked with ensuring every victim of sexual assault has equal access to appropriate medical care, mental health support, and advocacy during the criminal justice process.
Our community has stood with victims 24 hours a day for 24 years. The need for this support has never been greater than right now.
To learn more and to support WEAVE, Inc. go to www.weaveinc.org.