Does Sexual Assault Occur Online?- Victim Advocates Say A LOT!
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.(SAAM)
The Need For National Help
One in five women in the United States experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime
Nearly a quarter (24.8%) of men in the U.S. experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.
The Focus Is Online
This year's theme reinforces the idea that sexual harassment, assault, and abuse can happen anywhere, including in online spaces. Like sexual interactions in all other contexts, the key component is CONSENT.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says Building Safe Online Spaces Together is possible when we practice digital consent, intervene when we see harmful content and behaviors, and promote online communities that value respect, inclusion, and safety. That's not been the expectation says Debbie Brockman, Program Manager for Aspen Victim Advocacy Services in Yakima. Online harassment, cyberbullying, sexual abuse, and exploitation have been the fear and the norm for too long, taking place as:
- Sending someone unwelcome communication about sex or hateful comments based on sex, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation.
- Sending partners, friends, acquaintances, or strangers unwanted requests for nude photos or videos or to livestream sexual acts.
- Performing sexual acts on webcam without the consent of everyone involved or in inappropriate settings (like during an online class or online work meeting).
- Sharing private images or videos without the consent of everyone involved (also known as revenge porn or nonconsensual pornography
- Sharing porn in spaces where not everyone has consented to view it (for example, in inappropriate spaces like Zoom meetings
- Grooming children to enable their sexual abuse either online or offline.
Assault Is Assault
Advocates like Debbie Brockman say that sometimes violence is initiated online and then takes place in person, and in other instances, the violence takes place entirely behind screens where the impact on the victim, their loved ones, and the community can be just as harmful as sexual violence committed in person.
Brockman appeared on the radio today to draw attention to April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Local HOTLINE number is (509) 452-9675.