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'Healing is possible': April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Idaho State Police encourages victims to call 911 and obtain care as soon as possible.
Credit: ISP

IDAHO, USA — April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, (SAAM) is about raising public awareness about sexual assault and educating people on how to prevent sexual violence. The Idaho State Police (ISP), and other law offices across the valley, issued a press release recognizing the month. 

"Unwanted sexual contact is assault," Baker County Sheriff’s Office said. Further, victims often believe the incident was their fault, blame themselves, and that can keep them from speaking up, obtaining medical care, reporting the crime, or getting support. 

ISP is encouraging victims to call 911 and obtain care as soon as possible by going to a hospital  where a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) assists victims.

"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 knowing the facts is important. 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, no gender is immune from victimization."

According to ISP

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:

- 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%.

- 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 the number who reported to law enforcement (2,091).

ISP also released the following:

If you are a victim of sexual assault:

Get to a safe place

Call 911, go to a local hospital, or a 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


Faces of Hope Victim Center

Idaho Programs for Victims of Crime, Idaho Shelters, and DV Offender Intervention Programs

Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance 

Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673) National Sexual Violence Resource Center

National Sexual Violence Resource Center - Idaho 

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

Women's and Children's Alliance 24-Hour Sexual Assault Hotline: 208-345-7273

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