Everyone should be free from sexual violence | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Everyone should be free from sexual violence

Amy Stacy

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month, South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center and sexual assault programs across the nation are working to focus public awareness on the epidemic of sexual violence and encouraging all Americans to become part of the solution.

We must all join together in this effort to stop sexual violence as it has reached epidemic proportions. In the United States, sexual assault occurs every two minutes. Rape and other forms of sexual assault affect women, children, and men of all racial, cultural and economic backgrounds. Here in South Lake Tahoe, more than 225 victims of sexual assault seek services from the Women’s Center each year.

In addition to the immediate physical and emotional costs of this crime, sexual assault may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, major depression, homelessness, eating disorders and suicide.

No child should dread going home out of fear of sexual violence. No college student should be afraid to walk around campus. No one should ever have to suffer sexual violence at the hands of someone who is supposed to love her or him.

If this has happened to you or someone you know, help is out there. Rape crisis advocates and volunteers are available 24 hours a day on the Women’s Center’s crisis line at (530) 544-4444. Services are available in English, Spanish and Tagalog.

Sexual violence affects all of us – every community, every family. We all have a responsibility to end sexual assault. Action can be as simple as contributing money to a local rape crisis center, volunteering your time, or advocating for prevention programs in local schools and businesses.

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Individuals who are looking for ways to help can call the Women’s Center business line at (530) 544-2118 or stop by the office, 2941 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center building is financed by a low-cost loan through the Rural Community Assistance Corp.

– Amy Stacy is an outreach coordinator at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center.