April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
4/8/2010 7:15:08 AM
By Jami Custer
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 34 percent of all Native American/Alaskan Native women are victims of attempted sexual assault, the highest percentage among any race in the country. 

RAINN, the country’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, reported that even though about 80 percent of all assault victims are white, minorities in some cases are more likely to be attacked.

The organization reports that white women make up 17.7 percent, black women make up 18.8 percent, Asian Pacific make up 6.8 percent and women of mixed race make up 24.4 percent of the attempted victims.

While not every case involves women, 3 percent of women have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. In 2003, according to RAINN, one in every 10 rape victims was male. That totals more than 2.5 million men in the United States who have been assaulted in some form compared to the 17.7 million women.
 










  
MORE INFORMATION
National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE, Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health (918) 207-3898, CN W.W. Hastings (918) 458-3170, CN Marshal Service (918) 207-3800
One misconception with many is that rape or sexual assaults happen to victims from unknown criminals when in fact nearly two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Also, about 73 percent of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger and 38 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance. About 28 percent are an intimate, while 7 percent are a relative. More than 50 percent of reported sexual assaults happen within a mile radius from the victim’s home. About 40 percent take place at the victim’s home and 20 percent take place at the home of a friend, neighbor or relative. Many victims of rape seek counseling after the event has taken place. The effect a sexual assault can have on a person has the potential to cause them to have erratic behavior, suffer from depression and hurt themselves. According to RAINN, victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and four times more likely to contemplate suicide. In a statement from Cherokee Nation Communications, the “Cherokee Nation has no independent sexual assault program. Those in need of assistance can receive outpatient care at any of the Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health offices.” In addition, victims can also contact CN W.W. Hastings Hospital. It offers outpatient counseling and the CN Marshal Service has trained victim witness advocates on staff.
Many rape or sexual assault sufferers often do not know whether what happened to them was considered rape or assault. According to RAINN, these questions can help judge whether or not someone has been a victim of this type of crime. Are the participants old enough to consent? People below the consenting age are considered children and cannot legally agree to have sex. In most states, the age of consent is 16 or 18. In some states, the age of consent varies according to the age difference between the participants. Because laws are different in every state, it is important to find out the law in your state. Do both people have the capacity to consent? States also define who has the mental and legal capacity to consent. Those with diminished capacity – such as people with disabilities, elderly people and people who have been drugged or are unconscious – may not have the legal ability to agree to have sex. Did both participants agree to take part? Did someone use physical force to make you have sexual contact with him/her? Has someone threatened you to make you have intercourse with them? It doesn’t matter if you think your partner means “yes,” or if you’ve already started having sex — “no” also means “stop.” If you proceed despite your partner’s expressed instruction to stop, you have not only violated basic codes of morality and decency, you may have also committed a crime under the laws of your state. Reach Staff Writer Jami Custer at (918) 453-5560 or jami-custer@cherokee.org
Terms of Service and Privacy Policy