Augusta, Ga. (WJBF) – For sixteen years the nation has taken time each April to raise awareness about sexual assault. The goal is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities how to prevent it. That is something Susan Selden does every day as executive director of the Cumbee Center in Aiken.
The statistics can be startling. 1 in 5 women in the United States have been the victim of attempted or completed rape during her lifetime. It is not just women, though. 1 in every 6 men have experienced abusive sexual experiences before the age of 18.
Every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. That averages out to 293,000 sexual assaults a year, but that number could very well be higher. That is because 68% of rapes go unreported.
There are several reasons why rapes and sexual assaults go unreported. One of those reasons is that often times the victim has been made to feel guilty; instead of asking why the offender did what they did, people ask why the victim allowed it to happen. While that is not fact, it is a stigma that became attached to sexual assault.
Another reason so many victims do not come forward is because of the backlog of rape kits across the country. Those kids are sitting on shelves waiting to be tested. In Georgia there are more than 10,000 untested kits, and in South Carolina the number is not known. That means hundreds of thousands of rape kits are waiting to be tested. Those are kits that could solve rape cases, bring healing to a survivor, and take serial offenders off the streets.
To learn more about anything Susan discussed – or if you or someone you love are a victim – you can visit the Cumbee Center website. You can also contact them at 803-649-0480.
You can also learn more about the No More campaign featured during the segment by going to their website.
And to find out more about the efforts to end the backlog of rape kits, visit EndTheBacklog.org.