Many people think sexual assault and rape are things that will never happen to them or the people they know. A CCBC student’s friends and family thought the same thing until she was sexually assaulted nearby a popular college campus.
At least one in four girls will be sexually assaulted during their college academic career. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 54 percent of these crimes are never reported making sexual assault the most under reported crime. A second year CCBC student says, “I was speechless and angry when she told me, but when I took her to get checked out, I felt like I needed to be strong for her,” referring to when her friend, also a CCBC student, opened up to her about her sexual assault. She continues saying, “You never think something like that would happen to the people you know.”
Even though the chances of being one of the women assaulted are high, it seems that most people agree that it will not happen to the one’s closest to them.
According to the mother of this CCBC student who is a victim, it is news that no mother ever wants to hear. “I was devastated to hear that it happened to my daughter. The fact that she had to go through it and I could not prevent it or take away the pain is just heartbreaking,” this mother says about her only child’s story of sexual assault. She goes on saying, “I worry about the long lasting affect on my daughter. I want to cry and never stop, but all you can do it be there, offer love and support, and allow her to heal on her own time.”
Many mothers, like the one above, gave her daughter all the information she could on sexual assault and how to be aware, lessening her risk of becoming a statistic. But with all of the precautions one may have, you cannot always avert a sexual predator.
Although you may not always be in the situation to prevent a sexual assault from occurring, there are precautions one can take to reduce their risk.
According to the Maryland Coalition against Sexual Assault, there are specific things you should do and some things to help protect yourself and the people close to you.
Learn the signs of sexual assault, make safe decisions, and use the buddy system. It is also very important to be an engaged bystander and speak up. Intervene if you see someone’s boundaries being violated. Always let someone know where you are or where you will be, stay with the people you arrived with, and keep an eye on everything you will be drinking.
Things to avoid are walking by yourself at night and letting your friends go home with people they have just met. The Baltimore County Police Department reminds people to never blame the victim or do anything that may put the victim in further danger. They also tell victims to go to the emergency room at GBMC for Baltimore County residents, and not to bathe, apply make up, or smoke or drink anything.
It is important to remember that there are many options even if you do not want to press charges; you can determine your best course of action from there and obtain the medical attention needed.
CCBC Essex has quite a few available resources if you, or anyone you know needs help dealing with a sexual assault. Career Development and Counseling Services in the Enrollment and Student Services building have counseling interns available to meet with and discuss any feelings or problems. Appointments with any of the three counselors can be made by visiting The Career Development and Job Placement services, room 260, in the Student Services Building.
The Sister Circle is a group accessible at the CCBC Essex location that meets Mondays from 12:30 pm till 2:30 pm. Although this group does not have one specific topic they focus on, you are able to share your feelings on whatever topic you need. The meetings take place in room 254 in the Student Services Building and all women are welcomed. For more information on the Sister Circle, you can contact Melissa Lemons at (443) 840-1049.
If you do not feel comfortable talking to others about what happened, there are many online resources and 24-hour hotlines existing. According to the Joyful Heart Foundation, there are more than 23.6 million survivors of sexual assault. The following are resources to make sure you can get through and overcome any obstacles you may face dealing with a sexual assault.
The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault is an organization working to end the problem of sexual assaults. Their website, www.mcasa.org contains laws, events, information, survivors stories, and resources for each county of Maryland.
Around is also an organization in Maryland that offers support to victims of sexual assaults and their loved ones. They have a 24-hour hotline available by calling (443) 279-0379. This gives people the opportunity to remain anonymous, which may be more comforting to some. Turn Around also offers services such as group meetings, events, therapy, and self-defense at location in Towson, Baltimore City, and even right around the corned for CCBC in Essex! For an appointment for any of these services, call (410) 377-8111. To learn more or view all of the available resources provided by Turn around, visit www.turnaroundinc.org.
Even if you are not a primary victim of sexual assault, many resources also welcome any individuals fighting to end the behaviors leading to sexual assaults and rape. Together we can end the rape culture and make our communities a safer place.
*Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.
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