Well it's August 17th and it's back to school time again. This is an extremely stressful time for both parent's and their children. For many parents across the country this is the year that their child begins high school or college. For those of us with daughters this can be a bittersweet time.
On one hand we are so proud of our kids...they have accomplished so much and are becoming adults. The sky is the limit now! On the other hand, these are our babies and we want to protect them at all costs.
As you send your kids back to school this year, I want to make you aware of some very real statistics and facts. My intention is to open your eyes to the very real consequences of sexual assault, in hopes that it will raise your level of awareness. In turn, I hope you will take the time to talk to your children, tell them how much you love them, and let them know that you are not only their parent but their best friend. Communication between you and your kids should be open and honest; and fear of consequences should be eliminated.
Real Fact 1 - 683,000 forcible rapes occur every year in the US. That is 59,916 per month, 1,871 per day, 78 per hour, and 1.3 per minute. The majority of these can be avoided through preparation, awareness, common sense, and self defense.
Real Fact 2 - 80 percent of sexual assault survivors knew their assailant!
Real Fact 3 - Nearly 6 out of 20 sexual assaults occur at the victim's home or the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor!
This is why I we should stress preparation, awareness, common sense and self defense. Does your daughter have a boyfriend, neighbor, relative that is a little to friendly! Are they defensive or overly possessive.
Have you drilled in your children the importance of being alert and aware of their surroundings. If it does not feel right....GET OUT! Have you discussed the importance of there is "power in numbers". What I mean by this is if they go out, they go out in a group. With people who can be trusted and counted on. All parties know that, no one in the group is left behind or goes home alone.
Real Fact 4 - While there is an average of 683,000 forcible rapes in any given year, in 2003 there were ony 29,432 arrests for the same crime! This is why the self defense aspect is so important. Less than five percent of these criminals are arrested and even less are prosecuted.
Preparation, awareness, common sense, and self defense! An item such as lipstick pepper spray, could prevent your daughter from becoming a victim of rape or assault.
Your daughter is a freshmen in college and is invited to a party. Her and some girls decide to go. There is some drinking and some drugs around. A guy comes up and introduces himself. He tells your daughter how pretty she is and how he's had a crush on her for a while.
One thing leads to another and before she realizes it, they are alone in a room upstairs. Mr. Nice Guy becomes very aggressive and begins to force himself on your daughter. Your little girl keeps her cool and tells Mr. Nice Guy she has something for him in her purse.
She reaches over and grabs what looks like a Pink Lip Stick...she removes the top and sprays the OC pepper right into Mr. Nice Guy's face. She then runs down stairs and calls for help!
Meanwhile, Nice Guy is reduced to all but life support breathing...his eyes are clamped shut and even as he pries them open he still can't see because the capillaries in his eyes swollen causing temporary blindness. The pain is excruciating and the condition lasts 20-30 minutes....Just enough time for the police to arrive and arrest him for assault!
Without the pepper spray, this could have ended quite differently.
Real Fact 5 - Rape victims are more likely than non-victims to be in poor health, make frequent visits to a physician, abuse drugs, express low satisfaction with life, experience depression and think about suicide.
Real Fact 6 - Nearly on-third of all rape victims develop rape related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Rape Traume Syndrome sometime in their lifetimes.
I repeat preparation, awareness, common sense, and self defense!