Being Aware of Sexual Assault

From February 12-19, the second annual Sexual Assault Census was taken in North Dakota with 95 percent of programs reporting the number and type of services that were provided.

“This survey was started last year to get a snapshot of sexual assault services provided during a week-long period, similar to the domestic violence survey that is done through the National Network to End Domestic Violence,” said Kristina Knutson, sexual assault program coordinator of CAWS North Dakota.

Crisis intervention, case management, law enforcement advocacy and hotline were the most commonly reported services during the census week.

The results of the survey are being used to identify gaps in the services and to tailor training and technical assistance for the 20 direct service programs on sexual violence.

“CAWS North Dakota is a nonprofit membership organization representing the 20 domestic violence and sexual assault crisis centers throughout the state,” Knutson said. “It is the coalition’s mission to provide leadership and support in the identification, intervention and prevention of sexual and domestic violence.”

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and CAWS partnered with North Dakota National Guard to host two awareness runs/walks in early April.

In the week that the survey was conducted, 597 people received prevention and education training on information about sexual violence prevention and early intervention across 31 training sessions.

During the week, 101 victims of sexual violence received services. Sixty-two hotline calls were answered; 13 survivors received medical or hospital advocacy responses and there was one victim where requests for services were unable to be met.

Of the 101 victims, 82 were assaulted by strangers, non-strangers or relatives outside of intimate partner relationships, and 19 were assaulted by intimate partners.

“It is likely that the actual number of individuals receiving sexual assault services during the census week exceeded the numbers reported,” according to a press release from CAWS North Dakota.

Follow up information is not collected, and there is no identifying information about the individuals served in the survey.

Students can get involved by reaching out to Rape and Abuse Crisis Center for volunteering opportunities and local activities.

North Dakota State students can report sexual assault to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy website, call Student Health Services and make a report to the equity office and with the counseling center.

“Talking about these issues and raising awareness about sexual violence in our communities is a necessary step toward prevention effort,” Knutson said. “This survey is helpful because it gives a snapshot of what’s happening during one week across North Dakota. Sexual violence is happening in our state, but it doesn’t have to. Violence isn’t inevitable, and we all have a role to play.”

Leave a Reply