Informed by statistics, RAINN estimates that a sexual assault happens once every 73 seconds in the United States. Further statistics show that 1 in 6 American women are victims of completed and/or attempted rape and 1 in 33 American men are victims of sexual violence. Sadly, sexual assault is so common in the U.S. that you likely know someone who has been affected by it.
Through awareness and prevention, we can solve this ongoing problem. That is why, each year, April is observed as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. In recognition of its 20th anniversary, our legal team at The Zalkin Law Firm challenges you to support survivors by pushing to strengthen Title IX, as well as through bystander intervention.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is a civil rights law, passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, that protects people from sex-based discrimination in schools, colleges, and other federally funded education programs. Unfortunately, many universities have wrongfully ignored Title IX and covered up sexual assault on their campuses. We can, however, take action when such institutions fail to protect those under their care.
Restoring the Strength of Title IX
Title IX has been weakened by former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s Title IX rule, which prioritizes those accused of sexual assault over survivors. Thankfully, there are ongoing efforts to rescind and rewrite this rule. For instance, student activist organization Know Your IX is pushing for the U.S. Department of Education to do just that through the #INeedIX and #EDActNow campaigns this Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. To learn more, visit knowyourix.org.
Be an Active Bystander
In addition to Title IX activism, it is possible to actively prevent sexual assault through bystander intervention. In fact, many universities already use bystander intervention to mitigate the prevalence of sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault, on their campuses by encouraging people to speak up and take action when they witness it.
RAINN and other organizations have recognized that bystander intervention strategies can effectively stop harassment in other settings as well. For example, if you witness harassment at a bar, you can act as an active bystander to support the victim through one of the four following strategies:
- Create a distraction: Interrupt the situation with a distraction to derail and halt the harassment, such as by going to the victim and asking if they would like to join you and your friends or asking if they would like to play a round of darts or another bar game.
- Ask directly: This is similar to creating a distraction but focuses more on simply asking the victim whether they would like you to accompany them to a safe place. Often, this entails asking them if they would like help finding their friends.
- Report to an authority: Ask a bouncer, employee, or the bartender to intervene. These figures will likely step in if they hear that a patron is being harassed.
- Enlist others: Ask others around you, such as your friends, to help you take action against the perpetrator.
About The Zalkin Law Firm
A premier nationwide firm, The Zalkin Law Firm advocates for survivors’ rights through the civil justice system. We understand the long-term impacts that the trauma of sexual assault often has on survivors, which is why we are committed to holding perpetrators accountable for what they have done. Our attorney team has effectively litigated groundbreaking cases against powerful institutions (such as the Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and more) that have attempted to cover up the truth by silencing survivors. At The Zalkin Law Firm, we make sure that survivors are heard and listened to.
Call (800) 477-2989 or fill out an online form to speak to a compassionate lawyer at The Zalkin Law Firm.