April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

“Sexual assault and domestic violence co-occur in many relationships,” says Nickie Ostick, outreach coordinator for the Christina House domestic violence program.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and abuse is an ongoing problem.

“As a domestic violence services provider, the Christina House has a vested interest in promoting awareness of sexual assault,” said Nickie Ostick, outreach coordinator for the Christina House Domestic Violence Program.

“Sexual assault and domestic violence co-occur in many relationships. Studies have shown that 30-40 percent of domestic violence victims will also experience intimate partner sexual assault,” Ostick said.

“Victims who are both physically and sexually abused are more likely to be injured or killed than victims who experience one form of abuse.” She states that domestic violence and sexual assault are very closely linked. Intimate partner sexual assault and rape are used to intimidate, control and demean victims and survivors of domestic violence.

The Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports that one in three American women have experienced some type of sexual violence. Sexual assault includes physical force, threats of force, or when the attacker gives the victim drugs or alcohol as part of the assault, without consent.

Sexual assault may be non-contact, when someone exposes themselves to you or forces you to look at sexual images, voyeurism/peeping, sexual harassment or threats, forcing someone to pose for sexual pictures or sending someone unwanted texts or sexts.

Just because a woman says no, does not mean she is saying yes. Silence is not consent, nor is it consent when she doesn’t fight back or just because she’s consented before. Consent is a clear yes. You know and can say what you are doing or want to do, and you are not impaired by drugs and alcohol to be clearly aware of what you are doing.

Are you being abused?

Does your partner keep track of everywhere you go, everyone you talk to and everything you do? Is he or she jealous, controlling or angry? Does he or she put you down or humiliate you in front of others? Does he or she physically hurt or threaten to hurt you or the people you love? Does he or she force you to have sex or share intimacy without your consent?

Force is not always physical, advises RAINN (Rape and Incest National Network). It can be emotional coercion, psychological force or manipulation, threats or intimidation.

“Sexual assault can take many different forms, but one thing remains the same,” RAINN says. “It’s never the victim’s fault.”

Long term effects of abuse are PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression and anxiety. The Office on Women’s Health provides a hotline, 1-800-994-9662, which is available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Locally, there is a 24-hour crisis line is available at 330-420-0036. Christina House offers emergency shelter, counseling, case management and legal advocacy. Abuse can happen to anyone.

REMINDER: April 27 is a National Prescription Drugs Take Back Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. unused prescriptions, unwanted prescriptions and expired prescriptions may be turned over to a law enforcement officer at East Liverpool City Hospital or at the professional building across the street from Salem Regional Medical Center, 2094 E. State St. Please remove identifying labels.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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