Sexual assault can be prevented



Sexual assault may affect anyone regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity.

Linda Nguyen, Staff Writer

According to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, there are more than two million survivors of rape currently living in California. In reality, the numbers of survivors are much higher because sexual assault is considered an under-reported crime. The dilemma most survivors face is embarrassment. They are afraid to be socially isolated and stigmatized as yet another helpless victim of sexual assault.

Sexual assault affects anyone equally. Although the statistic is that 96% of reports are from women, this may be skewed because of the fact that men find it more difficult to file a sexual assault report. In reality, sexual assault affects a broad spectrum of people including but not limited to prostitutes, children, the elderly, wallflowers, macho men, wussies, bullies, and leaders.

Sue Dickinson, a San Diego county representative from the health and human services agency, states that regardless of the date of the sexual assault case, there are many steps that may be taken to provide survivors with long-term empowerment and a strong foundation for them to be their own voice.

Dickinson has worked for more than ten years with the San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). The team consists of a law enforcement team to conduct a thorough investigation and provide emergency assistance, a medical examination team to provide evidentiary and medical support, and a victim advocacy team to provide emotional support, referrals, and information to the victim.

The reason consulting the San Diego SART program might be more beneficial for the victim compared to a regular medical emergency room is because San Diego SART centers are discreet centers set up off sight from a busy hospital. The exams are very thorough and are usually about a two hour process. Also, they provide experts who are professionally trained to deal with sexual assault cases. The San Diego SART program allows for long term support by providing patients with interactive exhibits, prevention techniques, counseling opportunities, and professionals in sexual assault and domestic violence.

The San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team oversees on average five hundred sexual assault cases each year in order to help victims refuse abuse.

If you are in need of guidance and assistance please call one of the following resource numbers:

Center for Community Solutions Rape Crisis Hotline: 888-385-4657
Women’s Resource Center: 760-747-3500
Rape Abuse Incest National Network: 800-656-4673
Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention & Response: 877-995-5247
Child Protective Services: 858-560-2191