By Nurse Diane
I have never lived in a big city; have always lived in small towns, kinda like the song in Cheers, where everybody knows your name. Places like that are almost free from the crimes you see in the big cities, but they do occasionally happen. That is why, several years ago, the whole community was shaken to the core when an elderly woman and her female roommate were found attacked in their home.
The victim, a woman in her late 60's was my Sunday school teacher at church. She was the type of person who would do anything to help someone in need. They lived in an older part of town in a suspect neighborhood. She was coming home from Sunday night church. As she entered her home, her 80-year-old roommate was they’re waiting for her. Before she had time to set down her belongings, there was a knock at the door. She went to see who was there, a young man asking for something, and she invited him in.
- A stranger - into her home at night,
- He attacked her, raped her there near the door, then attacked the other woman in her wheelchair, then went about tearing up the place looking for drug money.
- When he couldn't find any, he raped the woman again, and then left.
News of this attack spread quickly, even without the Internet, and the community rallied together to find the suspect and punish him severely. My teacher was hospitalized, and the women were no longer able to share living accommodations, and both moved in with family members.
It was so horrific that this kind of attack happened to the elderly ladies, however, it could have been easily avoided had the door remained locked, and the person was asked to leave the premises.
The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. In 2009, President Obama was the first United States president to proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
According to the CDC, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime and nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced other forms of sexual violence at some point in their lives. Sexual violence is any sexual activity where consent is not freely given. This includes completed or attempted sex acts that are against the victim's will or involve a victim who is unable to consent.
Sexual violence also includes:
- Unwanted sexual contact, and
- Non-contact and unwanted sexual experiences (such as verbal sexual harassment).
Sexual violence can be committed by anyone:
- A current or former intimate partner;
- A family member;
- A person in position of power or trust;
- A friend or acquaintance; and or
- A stranger, or someone known only by sight.
Sexual violence impacts health in many ways and can lead to long-term physical and mental health problems. Victims may experience chronic pain, headaches, and sexually transmitted diseases. They are often fearful or anxious, and may have problems trusting others. Anger and stress can lead to eating disorders, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
If you are, or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence:
Contact the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, Free, Confidential, 24/7
Contact your local emergency services at 9-1-1.