Raising awareness about sexual assault

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

"I think in general at large in society, that most sexual assaults are probably not reported," said Dr. Phil Hestand.

Startling statistics indicate that one in six women in America will become a victim of sexual assault, and oftentimes experts say feelings of shame or guilt keep victims from reporting it.

"They don't want to have to go to court and sit there in public and tell what happened and face the person who victimized them," said Dr. Hestand.

At the Counseling Center at ASU, Dr. Phil Hestand says most of the time the sexual assault victim knows the assailant.

"It could be a relative, it could be a neighbor, it could actually be someone that they have been dating for a while," said Hestand.

Hestand says Sexual Assault Awareness Month will hopefully raise awareness about sexual assault and the level to which it exists. He says he is hopeful to start discussions not just in April, but every month.

"It's a men and women problem so we try to de-bunk the myths with both men and women.   It's an issue of personal responsibility and respect for other people," said Hestand.

Hestand says that by talking about sexual assault and educating people about the issue more people will feel more comfortable coming forward and reporting that assault.

"I think it's not only an issue for the prosecution's say, it's an issue of self healing--being able to talk to other people about it," said Hestand.

April 19th is Sexual Assault Awareness Week at ASU, the school has several events planned.

Monday—Question and Answer board—students test their knowledge about the issue of sexual assault.   Curtis Hitt will be guest speaker regarding sexual assault from a legal perspective.   It starts at 7 in the Spring River room on the 3rd floor of the Student Union.

Tuesday—Pledge to Protect—students can make a pledge to protect someone they know from being sexually assaulted.

Wednesday—Myth and Facts Board--Students can participate in interactive discussions about what are the related myths concerning sexual assault and what are the facts as well as the related statistics.

Thursday is an informative day highlighting the important information associated with sexual assault.

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