Jerry Sandusky. "Legitimate" rape. Daniel Tosh. The women’s health care debate. If there were ever an era in which sexual violence was inextricably linked to many of the most talked-about headlines, this would be it. While today marks the 18th year in which the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization,RAINN (which stands for Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), has worked to raise awareness of the issue and the recovery resources surrounding it, the underlying problems press on.
Someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every two minutes. More than half of those assaults go unreported. Some 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in jail. So, what’s being done about it? Is there any hope at all?
The statistics are discouraging at best, but significant signs of progress are visible. The year prior to RAINN’s establishment in 1994 by musician Tori Amos and Scott Berkowitz, who continues to serve as the group’s president, 485,000 Americans were victims of sexual violence. To date, the number has plummeted to just over 200,000. The 60-plus percent decrease isn’t enough for advocates to rest on their laurels by any means, but it does illustrate something: the conversation itself is critical.
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