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Seeing Red

Back a few years ago when I was looking to purchase a car, I was surprised to find that I was attracted to a red car. Red anything is not typically a color choice for me.

During the week or so of my decision-making process, it seemed that I began to notice red cars wherever I went. It was as if red cars were multiplying all over the place before my eyes!

I did purchase a red car, and from then on what I now call my Red Car Syndrome became my metaphor for the idea that perspective is often based on what we are willing to consider or are made to see.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, and like the color red, not something I would otherwise have made a choice to focus my attention on, until it became personal. I’ve read lots of statistics on sexual abuse and assault, and they vary greatly. The ones I reference here seem to be the most conservative I’ve seen, but I know and trust the Jane Doe No More organization that posts the resource on their website, so I am confident about sharing them here.

Here are just a few stats:

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

  • On Campus: 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).

  • 1 out of 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult.

  • Among the cases of child sexual abuse reported to law enforcement 93% of the perpetrators were known by the victim, 34% were family members, and 59% acquaintances. Just imagine how many are not even reported!!!

When you hold a perspective that something doesn’t apply to you, you tend to ignore everything about it. In this case, that is dangerous. Sexual abuse and assault is all around you. It does affect you.

If you are an adult, be aware and protect yourself. If you are a victim, there’s help. If you are a woman or you love one, or you have or love a child, please don’t assume that this issue has nothing to do with you. Don’t think it only happens in other homes, in other towns, in other countries. It’s in your midst. Be educated and pay attention. I failed my child because I didn’t know. I feel I should have known, most especially because the perpetrator was a family member.

Sexual abuse and assault thrives in silence and secrecy and, sadly, victims think it is their fault. Being knowledgeable and aware is the only way to protect yourself and help save others.

This blog post is dedicated to my daughter, Tracey, a survivor of sexual abuse, and now a voice and member of the Jane Doe No More Outreach Team, and speaker for their “Safe Student Initiative” program. Every dollar helps this organization help victims and educate the rest of us. If I have inspired you, perhaps you would consider donating here. Regardless, take a few minutes to look for the “red” flags that may be around you.

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