It was almost 14 years ago I learned about the “It Happened to Alexa” foundation. A family I knew took their 18 year old daughter to college. She had hopes and dreams. But they didn’t include a brutal rape. And certainly not the added brutality that a trial demanded she re-live to get justice but not relief from the erasable memories.
Rape is sexual violence in its most severe form. Mostly everyone (save a few uninformed members of congress) are aware of its much too regular occurrence and its life long devastating effects. But how about other sexual violence?
Let’s talk about sex trafficking for prostitution, date rape and sexual harassment in the workplace. I know I have had a huge education and some involvement (in my own small way) to make sure that awareness will lead to action. A good place to start is PAVE–Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment. Their motto–shattering the silence of sexual violence. This organization promotes the awareness of SAAM or Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Go to the website and look for all the opportunities that are available to help stop human trafficking where little girls, age 9 years, are kidnapped and forced into the ubiquitous slave trade where they serve large cartels in one of the largest global industries satisfying the sexual needs of men illicitly and surely unwillingly. This is happening in American cities, in our own backyards.
Learn about date rape. It could save your daughter, your sister, your friend. Women have to take responsibility and learn to stay out of dangerous situations and learn to say, “No” unambiguously and firmly. And also learn self-defense. Perhaps we should lobby for school health and wellness education include martial arts.
And finally there is the huge topic of sexual harassment. The Catholic church has unfortunately been plagued with the assault on little boys by priests. Women at work may be on the receiving end of both large and small doses of sexual innuendo that permeate some workplaces. The healthcare workplace, where intense emotions are unavoidable, outlets often include release of sexual tension through teasing and other forms of not-so-benign “crossing the line” behaviors. These, too, need re-channeling.
Pretty sobering. But it is thought that April showers bring May flowers. So for all the tears shed over such terrible problems, planted the seeds can take bloom in the form of action to help these advocacy groups highlighted in April get some help from you in May!