01 April, 2009



A sexual assault is about power, anger, and control. It is an act of violence and an attempt to degrade someone using sex as a weapon. Above all, sexual assault is a crime. These crimes are often committed again and again, until the assailants are caught. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual harassment, and incest. Making offensive jokes and comments, posting offensive images, grabbing or fondling someone, and stalking are examples of sexual violence.

The focus of Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2009 is respect. The “Respect Works” campaign is ultimately about moving beyond the victim- or perpetrator-focused view of sexual violence and focusing on the larger environment in which sexually violent acts happen. This includes relationships, organizations, and communities. Whether at home, work, or school, healthy relationships are based on consideration and respect. When we care about others and the world around us, we have a responsibility to be involved and help out when others are in harm’s way. This is the essence of
promoting social change that can result in less sexually violent behavior.

How does respect prevent sexual violence? Respect means treating people with consideration. This includes respecting their boundaries. Being aware of how we treat one another makes us less likely to hurt or offend someone. Stop sexual violence before it escalates–when you hear an offensive joke or comment. If you see someone in need, offer your help.In addition to encouraging people to treat each other with respect, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault wherever you are. The MPD encourages individuals to always be alert by walking with confidence knowing who’s out there and what’s going on. Don’t let alcohol or other drugs cloud your judgment, and trust your instincts—if a situation or place makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, leave.

If you ever become a victim of a sex assault, remember, it is not your fault. Do not
accept blame. You are an innocent victim. Go to a hospital emergency room or your own
doctor for medical care immediately. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member to go with you, or call a rape crisis center or school counselor. Preserve all physical evidence.

Don’t shower, bathe, change clothes, douche, or throw any clothing away until the police or counselor say it’s okay. Finally, call the police. The sooner you tell, the greater the chances the rapist will be caught. If you are uncomfortable calling the police, contact a rape crisis center

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