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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in FL

April 10, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than develop breast cancer, according to a joint study by the National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control. It's a statistic that women's support centers hope to change by raising awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault in Florida. April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Katherine Cross, who is director of a sexual assault awareness center, explains why speaking up is so important.

"Secrecy about sexual violence is really something that can even promote it by allowing it to happen. If nobody is talking about it, then nobody is doing anything about it."

There are a variety of events planned around Florida this month to raise awareness about sexual assault. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were more than 11,000 cases of sexual assault in their latest reporting year, 2007, with just over 3,000 arrests made.

Cross says it's important to remember that rape isn't the only act considered a sexual assault, and it's not just about women.

"There are all kinds of sexual violence that occur in addition to rape, and there are all kinds of potential victims, including male victims."

The U.S. Department of Justice says 75 percent of sexual assaults involve people who know each other. Additionally, only 60 percent of assaults are actually reported.

Additional information and statistics are to be found at www.fcasv.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL