Idaho State Recognizes National Sexual Assault Awareness Month
BOISE, ID, April 3, 2023–The State of Idaho recognizes April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and remains dedicated to increasing public awareness of this crime. Any unwanted sexual contact is a sexual assault, and thousands are traumatically affected yearly. Throughout April, numerous organizations will continue partnering to educate the public about sexual assault and let people know there is help.
On April 4, 2023, at 10 a.m. Idaho Governor Brad Little and other state and local officials will join others nationwide in officially declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Idaho. The public is invited to join as elected officials, victim services, and community leaders unite to stand with survivors and share a vision of a community free of sexual violence.
The news conference can be viewed at Faces of Hope and will be live-streamed on YouTube @FacesofHopeFoundation and at: https://vimeo.com/event/3227803
“We all have a vital role in making our communities safe for sexual assault survivors to feel supported and believed. Even more, we must create an environment where we all understand consent and healthy boundaries,” says Executive Director Paige Dinger of Faces of Hope Foundation. “There is never a reason or an excuse for sexual assault. I am honored to play a role in the movement to make the Treasure Valley safer for today’s children and tomorrow’s adults and leaders.”
A December 2021 research brief on sexual assault victimization in Idaho, conducted by the Idaho Statistical Analysis Center (ISAC) at ISP, found an increasing trend in Idaho’s sexual assaults:
- In 2020, about 1 in 8 (or 12%) of all victims of a crime against persons (commonly referred to as “violent crimes”) reported to Idaho law enforcement were from sexual assaults.
- The number of victims served through programs in 2020 (9,573) was 4.6 times higher than those reported to law enforcement (2,091).
Between 2016 and 2020, the number of sexual assault victims known to Idaho law enforcement increased by 16%, and the number of sexual assault victims served by grant-funded programs in Idaho’s crime victim service agencies increased by 36%.
While the increases in reported crimes and the number of clients served are alarming, statistics from many reporting agencies indicate that the number of sexual assaults that go unreported and the number of victims who never reach out for help is infinitely higher than the reported numbers served.
“Sexual assault takes many different forms, but one thing remains consistent – It’s never the victim’s fault,” says Deb Wetherelt, Idaho SANE Coordinator with ISP. “This is a tough subject, but it’s important to know the facts. We know sexual assault is vastly underreported as studies indicate an assault occurs every 68 seconds in the United States; the statistics remain consistent in Idaho. Sadly, children are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted, while 10% of victims are male, and no gender is immune from victimization.”
With sexual assault victims, it is important to recognize the effects can be long-lasting and might include developing anxiety, depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, and long-term health consequences like asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, frequent headaches, chronic pain and difficulty sleeping. Getting professional mental health counseling is an important healing step for this trauma – healing IS possible.
If you are a victim of sexual assault:
- Get to a safe place
- Call 911, go to a local hospital, or a victim center or domestic violence shelter
- It is never too late to report a sexual assault or seek help
- Prompt reporting and evidence collection may strengthen the investigation for prosecution
- If you choose, a companion or victim advocate can be with you throughout the process
- If possible, preserve evidence by delaying bathing, showering, and other hygienic processes
- You are not alone – help is available
Parking at the Faces of Hope Victim Center will be reserved for clients, victims, and patients receiving services. Paid parking is available at the Hampton Inn garage. Street parking around the Center is metered.
Guests, media, and event staff are asked to use the Broad Street entrance (directly across from Trader Joe’s, near the corner of 6th and Broad Street). Please do not use the main entrance as clients, victims, and patients using the Center for emergency and scheduled services need privacy and a stress-free visit.