April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. It was first observed nationally in April 2001. The theme, slogan, resources and materials for the national SAAM campaign are coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center https://www.nsvrc.org/ each year with assistance from anti-sexual assault organizations throughout the United States. Barack Obama was the first president to officially proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
According to Centre Safe in State College, there are many forms of domestic abuse including physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and financial. While sexual assault and domestic violence against women is well documented, domestic violence against men is not as well known.
Consider these facts:
- Domestic violence against women and domestic violence against men happen in almost equal proportions. (Domestic Violence Statistics Organization, 2012)
- Men generally do not report domestic violence in fear of ridicule by both law enforcement and the public. (Domestic Violence Statistics Organization, 2012)
- 63% of males (as opposed to 15% of females) have had a deadly weapon used against them in a fight with an intimate partner. (Domestic Violence Statistics Organization, 2012)
- In domestic violence cases, where there was reciprocation, over 71% of the initiators were women, and in those cases, men were more likely to be injured than women. (Rhymes, 2014)
According to the Pennsylvania Bar Association, under the Protection From Abuse Act, abuse is defined as any of the following:
- Attempting to, or intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, spousal sexual assault or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with or without a deadly weapon;
- Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
- False imprisonment, as defined under the crimes code;
- Physically or sexually abusing minor children; and/or
- Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another
person, including following the person, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.
You can file for protection if the person threatening/causing harm is:
- or was your spouse;
- or was living with you in a common-law marriage or as your boyfriend/girlfriend;
- the parent of your child;
- your child;
- a sexual or intimate partner;
- your parent; or
- related to you by blood or marriage.
According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, the number of Protection From Abuse (PFA) filings in Pennsylvania has increased from 2014 through 2017, with 39,083 PFAs filed in 2017, of which 90 percent were granted. Dads’ Resource Center has an educational video series that discusses Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders through interviews with a sheriff, district judge, attorney and community counselor.
Centre County Assistance and Information
If you, or someone you know needs help, or wants to learn more about sexual assault or domestic violence, contact:
140 W Nittany Ave
State College, PA 16801
As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the 5th Annual Men Against Violence Walk will be held on April 10 at 12 noon at the Penn State University Flex Theatre HUB-Robeson Center (132 HUB). An educational component will be presented before the walk begins. Individuals and organizations are welcome and can register at tinyurl.com/MAVWalk2019.