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