Redfield Crisis Center takes part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month

According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. Due to the widespread prevalence of sexual assault, on April 1, 2001, the United States set aside the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) for the first time nationally. “Since then, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center promotes national unity for SAAM activities. We encourage interaction and feedback from across the nation. This builds momentum to prevent sexual violence,” states the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website, “This year, the SAAM campaign is ‘Engaging New Voices.’ The focus will be on involving coaches, faith leaders, parents, Greek Life, and bystanders with preventing sexual assault.” In Redfield, South Dakota, the Family Crisis Center leads the way for sexual assault prevention and recovery. In 2016, the Family Crisis Center answered a total of 3,235 calls having to do with domestic abuse, sexual assault and elder abuse. Three percent of the Family Crisis Center’s calls were sexual assault calls and one of them pertained to sex trafficking. During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Family Crisis Center also aims to prepare adolescents at Redfield High School for college by raising awareness about sexual assault on college campuses. The center shows the video “Speak out and Stand Up: Raising Awareness About Sexual Assault,” which is produced by Security on Campus, Inc. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 20 and 25 percent of women will experience a completed and/or attempted rape during their college career. Even in high school, 26 percent of teenagers and young adults say they have participated in sexting and nearly 40 percent of young people in a relationship in the U.S. have experienced at least one form of abuse via technology, according to the U.S Department of Justice. Family Crisis Center coordinator, Romelle Fortin, attested to the prevalent problem of sexting in Redfield High School. She hopes to raise awareness among teens about the dangers of sexting. Be on the lookout (warning sings from the U.S. Department of Justice) Teenagers and adolescents that may have been sexually assaulted may present the following behaviors: • Self-injury (cutting, burning) • Inadequate personal hygiene • Drug and alcohol abuse • Sexual promiscuity • Running away from home • Depression, anxiety • Suicide attempts • Fear of intimacy or closeness • Compulsive eating or dieting Warning signs that someone may be sexually abusing a child: •Making others uncomfortable by ignoring social, emotional, or physical boundaries or limits •Refusing to let a child set any of his or her own limits; using teasing or belittling language to keep a child from setting a limit •Insisting on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with, or holding a child even when the child does not want this physical contact or attention •Turning to a child for emotional or physical comfort by sharing personal or private information or activities that are normally shared with adults •Frequently pointing out sexual images or telling inappropriate or suggestive jokes with children present •Exposing a child to adult sexual interactions without apparent concern •Having secret interactions with teens or children (e.g., games; sharing drugs, alcohol, or sexual material) or spending excessive time e-mailing, text-messaging, or calling children or youth •Being overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (e.g., talks repeatedly about the child’s developing body or interferes with normal teen dating) •Insisting on or managing to spend unusual amounts of uninterrupted time alone with a child •Seeming “too good to be true” (e.g., frequently babysits different children for free, takes children on special outings alone, buys children gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason) •Frequently walking in on children/teens in the bathroom •Allowing children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate behaviors Contact Numbers : The Family Crisis Center’s 24-hour crisis phone number is 605-472-0508. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is : 1-800-656-HOPE.