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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month we are provided the opportunity to listen and honor survivors in our community. It is a time to show those who have been impacted by sexual assault that they are not alone, and we hear them. It is a time to educate yourself about sexual assault and the stigma associated with these acts. It is a time to start the change in how society treats victims of sexual assault. It starts with you.

Victim blaming is a common occurrence facing sexual assault survivors. Statements such as “Why didn’t you fight back?” or “Why didn’t you just say no?” suggest the victim or survivor was responsible for what happened to them. Because we live in a society of victim-blaming, survivors often don’t report their assaults. 

We live in a society where the dominant ideology is that of a cis-gender male point of view, especially in relation to how we view sex and power. The rape culture society normalizes and minimizes sexual violence and rape. 

Additionally, the experience of sexual violence often leads to serious threats to a victim’s mental health. Among survivors, there are high prevalence rates for mental health problems including PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression, substance abuse, suicide attempts, and feelings of guilt and shame.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some ways to support survivors.

  1. Challenge statements that normalize or minimize sexual violence.
  2. Educate yourself on sexual violence. There are myths surrounding sexual assault and rape. Dispel those myths and change your mindset based on facts. Here are some resources. The first two are national and the last is local to Kentucky:




  3. Believe survivors who disclose to you.
  4. As a survivor ally, continue to challenge the norm and empower survivors to freely use their voice.