The Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently recognized April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is set aside to make people aware that sexual assault is a widespread crisis with public and private health implications.
According to a 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey, someone in the United States is sexually harassed, sexually abused, sexually assaulted or raped every 73 seconds. One in six women and one in 33 men are victims of attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetimes. One in nine girls and one in 53 boys under the age of 18 fall victim to sexual assault at the hands of adults, and 47 percent of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. Sexual assault affects people of every age, race, sex, gender identify, sexual orientation, national origin, socioeconomic background and religion.
The impact of sexual assault can have long lasting physical, psychological and social impacts. Survivors may experience physical injury, depression, anxiety and health complications, such as sexually transmitted diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 81 percent of women and 35 percent of men who have been sexually assaulted go on to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Some of those symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, sleep and appetite disturbances and a general sense of feeling unsafe.
In recognizing the month, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors will continue partnerships with local organizations that provide protective and empowering environments for all, encourage law enforcement agencies to make sure victims of sexual assault are heard and validated and strongly support national, state and local partners to engage the public on how to support sexual assault survivors.
Photo: Prince William Supervisor Margaret Franklin, left, and Prince William Chair-at-Large Ann Wheeler, far right,, presented a certificate recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month to Angela Henz and Katelyn Page at a recent Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting.