UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and one local organization plans to educate the public on the importance of identifying, discussing and reporting sexual assault.
According to RAINN, every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Every 9 minutes, that victim is a child.
Safe Homes Rape Crisis Coalition (SHRCC) said fewer victims reported sexual assault crimes during the height of the pandemic, but more people are now coming forward in 2021.
Marlene Evans, director of Non-Residential Services at SAFE Homes – Rape Crisis Coalition said they’ve helped out in over 197 cases within the past year.
Some of those cases started with social media interactions that lead to in-person sexual assaults. Advocates urge internet users to avoid posting their location, daily routines and adjust their privacy settings on social media accounts.
“If you’re posting images of where you are currently, it makes it easier for someone to locate you,” Evans said. “It creates ease of people finding you and it also tells people your schedule and routine. If you’ve got a routine, then people are much more able to track you.”
Evans said it’s important to keep the conversation going surrounding sexual assault to help victims feel comfortable about coming forward. That’s why SHRCC Spartanburg plans to host a series of events during the month of April, which includes BINGO on Facebook Live and acknowledging Denim Day.
“We want people becoming not comfortable with sexual assault but comfortable with what they can do to help prevent sexual assault. We need a cultural shift that says certain behaviors just aren’t okay. ‘Am I going to be a bystander who does nothing or am I going to be an up-stander?'” Evans said.
SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition
SHRCC provides a 24-hour hotline (864-583-9803) for domestic and sexual assault survivors seeking support, resources, hospital accompaniment, and/or shelter.
Click here for more information on SHRCC.