Editorial: Albert Lea is not immune to sexual assault statistics

Published 7:58 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

No matter what side you believe from last week’s hearing with U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford — the woman who has accused him of sexual assault — there’s no doubt the impact Ford’s testimony has had on raising awareness of sexual assault nationwide.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network that runs the National Sexual Assault Hotline, calls to the hotline were 201 percent above average the day of the hearing, the organization stated in a Saturday article in USA Today. Groups that help victims of sexual assault stated Ford’s testimony was a trigger for many who had experienced sexual assault and had called in to seek help.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and works in partnership with more than 1,000 sexual assault service providers across the country.

The organization lists startling statistics on the prevalence of sexual assault on its website:

• A person experiences sexual assault every 98 seconds across the nation.

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

• About 3 percent of men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

• From 2009-13, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated or found strong evidence that 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.

Albert Lea and Freeborn County are not immune from these statistics. In this newspaper alone, there are at least a few stories every week of sexual assault in our own community — and those are only what is reported to authorities.

Sexual assault has no barriers. Its victims can be young or old, rich or poor. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, and no race is exempt.

In this #metoo era, we wish all people would be more aware of the psychological, emotional and physical effects sexual assault can leave on a survivor for days, months and oftentimes years after the actual assault. Sexual assault is never acceptable.

Help stand up against this growing problem.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, remember there is always a listening ear available through the national hotline. It can be reached at 800-656-HOPE.