POMEROY — Each year the entire month of April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
During a recent meeting, the Meigs County Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing the month. Information was also provided by the Meigs County Victim Assistance Program in an effort to make members of the community aware of sexual assault.
“The entire month of April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Meigs Victim Assistance wants to help make the community aware of sexual assault. Join us in taking a stand against sexual assault by wearing teal this month or showing your support on social media,” read a release from the Victim Assistance Program.
According to Womenshealth.gov, sexual assault is any type of sexual activity or contact, including rape, that happens without your consent. Sexual assault can include non-contact activities, such as someone “flashing” you or forcing you to look at sexual images. Sexual assault is also called sexual violence or abuse.
Sexual assault can include:
· Any type of sexual contact with someone who cannot consent, such as someone underage (as defined by state laws), has intellectual disability, or is passed out (such as from drugs or alcohol) or unable to respond (such as from sleeping);
· Any type of sexual contact with someone who does not consent;
· Attempted rape;
· Sexual Coercion (unwanted sexual activity that happens when you are pressured, tricked, threatened, or forced in a nonphysical way);
· Sexual contact with a child;
· Fondling or unwanted touching above or under clothes.
Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or non-contact. It is anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual activities or attention. Examples include:
· Voyeurism or peeping (when someone watches private sexual acts without consent);
· Exhibitionism (when someone exposes himself or herself in public);
· Sexual harassment or threats;
· Forcing someone to pose for sexual pictures;
· Sending someone unwanted texts or “sexts” (texting sexual photos or messages).
Consent is a clear “yes” to sexual activity. Not saying “no” does not mean you have given consent. Sexual conduct without consent is sexual assault or rape.
Your consent means:
· You know and understand what is going on (you are not unconscious, blacked out, asleep, underage, or have and intellectual disability);
· You know what you want to do;
· You are able to say what you want to do or don’t want to do;
· You are aware that you are giving consent (and are not impaired by alcohol or drugs).
Sometimes you cannot give legal consent to sexual activity or contact, for example if you are:
· Threatened, forced, coerced, or manipulated into agreeing;
· Not physically able to (you are drunk, high, drugged, passed out, or asleep);
· Not mentally able to (due to illness or disability);
· Under the age of legal consent, which varies by state.
· Consent is an ongoing process, not a one-time question. If you consent to sexual activity, you can change your mind and choose to stop at any time, even after sexual activity has started.
· Past consent does not mean future consent. Giving consent in the past to sexual activity does not mean your past consent applies now or in the future.
· Saying “yes” to a sexual activity is not consent for all types of sexual activity.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is intended to draw attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and has public health implications in every community.
Information provided by the Meigs County Victim Assistance Program.