As April ended, I couldn't help but wonder how many people knew that April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

This fact got me thinking: Sexual assault is a touchy subject, yes? It’s difficult to talk about, so we usually put it off until something happens.

This fact makes me very upset, because there is a lot of information available regarding this topic, but people don’t really know where to look, or what to look for. In fact, people may not understand what sexual assault is.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, sexual assault is “unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling.” (But be aware: Some states use this term interchangeably with rape.)

This is just a general definition used by the U.S. Justice Department, but one needs to check the law in our state for the precise definition. I wish that there was more advocacy regarding this issue, because the only way to help prevent it in the future is to educate people today.

What are some precursors to sexual assault? Where does one go to report it? Where can someone go to get help?

Personally, I think that there should be informational booklets or brochures that are accessible to the public, perhaps a library, the doctor, a university health center – any of these would be suitable places. But we need to advocate awareness and make sure that information regarding it is accessible.

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