Family Support Services of Amarillo is promoting education on sexual abuse, as April marks the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, every 2 minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. More than half of sexual assaults committed are not reported to police.
RAIN also reports that 2 out of 3 assaults in America are committed by someone known to the victim, and 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
In an effort to reduce the national numbers, Family Support Services is offering educational resources, counseling services, and support groups to Panhandle residents.
"The statistic for Texas, I believe, is 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men will be a victim of some kind of abuse in their lifetime," said Angie Stovall. "Within the last calendar year my unit helped almost 500 clients, primary clients of sexual assault. Also, we fielded nearly 2,000 calls related to the sexual assault victimization."
FSS defines sexual assault as any unwanted touching of any nature, and can be performed between any two people. The advocacy group
states that most sexual assault cases begin with an imbalance of power.
"That imbalance of power usually includes someone who's older than the potential victim, someone who has more social status than the potential victims, maybe someone who is the position of power
," said Stovall.
Craig, a Crisis Interventionist at the support center, said they also focus on children who are victims of sexual assault, but their clues aren't always verbal. "They may go back to younger traits like sucking their thumb and wetting the bed, and things like that. Small, subtle hints that something is a miss," said Craig.
Stovall said that all residents should learn to detect warning signs of potential abusers. "Look for someone who doesn't respect boundaries, who pushed for really quick involvement, who does not take no easily," said Stovall.
On April 17, 2013, FSS is encouraging all residents and businesses to sport teal to promote with sexual assault awareness.
For more information on Family Support Services, visit http://fss-ama.org/.