Sunday PSA…

April is a great month. It’s about to be gone in a couple days, and I’m remembering all that’s happened this month.

I turned 22 on the 22nd. I celebrated my golden year of life. I also gave my first ever sermon, which included part of my testimony, the part of my testimony that has to do with depression and self-injury.

But something else happens in April…

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. I didn’t know this until my counselor told me. And if you guys didn’t already know, yes, I am in counseling. But I digress.

I found it interesting that April was Sexual Assault Awareness month. I found it interesting because I have gone my whole life without knowing this information and I am someone who has been sexually assaulted/taken-advantage-of more than once.

Because I have suffered this more than once, it has made me a bit of a crusader for the cause. Here are some statistics on sexual assault and rape according to RAINN:

1. Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.

2. There is an average of 207, 754 victims of rape and sexual assault each year.

3. 1 out of every 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape  in her lifetime.

4. 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

5. Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression and 6 times more likely to suffer from PTSD.

6. 54% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the last 5 years.

7. Only 3% of rapists ever spend a day in jail.

8. 73% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a non-stranger.

9. Approximately 2/3 rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.

10. 43% of rapes occur between 6:00 p.m. and midnight.

Folks, I know this is intense information, but I swore to always keep it real here on The Wildflower Way, and this is a VERY real issue. I don’t want to be too depressing so I’ll make my soapbox moment short, sweet and to the point.

If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, it is NEVER too late to seek help. If you know someone who has been raped/sexually assaulted, please never assume it was “her fault” or that she was “asking for it” or that she did something to deserve it. No one ever deserves to be taken advantage of or violated.

And if you know someone who has been raped or sexually assaulted, stand by them. Support them. Love them. If you don’t know what to say, that’s okay. Point them in the direction of someone who will know what to say, like a police officer, pastor, counselor, or parent.

If you have ever been sexually assaulted/raped, on behalf of mankind, I am so sorry. But there is hope and help is real. Please contact organizations like RAINN or To Write Love On Her Arms so they can get you the help that you need.

Ladies (and gents), just know that you are loved. You are beautiful and wonderful, and no one can ever take that from you, no matter what happens in life or what someone does to you. Don’t ever let someone take your smile away.

I’m off my soapbox now. Regular programming will resume tomorrow.

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