Tag Archives: april is sexual assault awareness month

Together We Can ‘Take Back the Night’

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Guest post by: Averett Robey, Prevention Education Specialist, HAVEN

When having conversations about sexual violence and consent, in the community and with youth, it can be difficult to talk about the prevalence of sexual violence in our world. Often they will tell me that they know it is easy to secure a conviction, and a lot of times the survivor just does it to get money and sympathy. The unfortunate reality that I share with them is that 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail, and the attention survivors receive is in no way supportive or caring. The statistics are astounding. According to the CDC, one in five women and one in seventy-one men experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. However, what we know about those statistics is that most sexual assaults go unreported. They go unreported because we create an environment that glorifies and portrays sexual violence as inevitable and a fact of life. Then we shame and blame people when they are assaulted, making it difficult for survivors to heal and go through the legal process.

One of the many avenues created to enact change around this reality are the global events known as Take Back the Night. It is unclear as to when the first official Take Back the Night took place, but some assert that it began with meetings of tribunal councils in Europe to discuss the safety of women as they walked down the street. The revolution eventually spread to San Francisco in 1973 as people took to the streets to protest pornography. In the US, the first “Take Back the Night” marches occurred as a response to the murder of Susan Alexander Speeth who was killed while walking home alone in Philadelphia in 1975 . Take Back the Night was born out of the need to address and prevent the violence women were experiencing traveling on the streets at night. Today, the enduring revolution stands as a movement to support survivors and eliminate all forms of sexual violence.

Take Back the Night is a way for communities to come together and speak out against sexual violence, support survivors, share their stories, and promote awareness. It is a way for us to create a culture that starts by believing survivors, one that does not tolerate sexual violence and holds perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Join the movement to eliminate sexual violence. Attend our annual Take Back the Night event Saturday, April 30th from 1-4:30 pm at Five15 in Royal Oak because together we can take back the night.

For more information, contact our Prevention Education Department at arobey@haven-oakland.org or visit our website here.

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Filed under HAVEN Event, Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Beth Morrison, HAVEN CEO

The classmate who raped my college roommate 30 years ago was never held accountable for his behavior. The business man who molested a relative of mine decades ago was never held accountable for the crime he committed. The professional who sexually assaulted a friend of mine 10 years ago never served even a moment in jail. The high school student who recently raped a fellow student will never be formally charged. One wonders how many other assaults were or will be perpetrated by these men?

Not surprising, and not acceptable.

First, it is estimated that sexual assaults are one of the most, if not the most, underreported of all crimes.  Second, when a crime is reported few rapists are arrested, even fewer are prosecuted and then even fewer are convicted. In a recent analysis of data from various reports, RAINN estimates that out of every 100 rapes only 3 rapists will ever spend a single day in prison. Or in other words, 97 of 100 rapists will walk free!

So what do we, as a society, need to do to change this unacceptable statistic?  We first need to create a community in which a rapist will be held fully accountable. We will have educated law enforcement officers, prosecutors, court personnel and jurors. All who understand the dynamics of sexual victimization and will apply their knowledge to hold all perpetrators accountable for their actions and choices.

By creating a culture that emphasizes perpetrator accountability we will have created a safe environment for victims of rape to be able to reach out for help after an assault.  An environment where they know they will be supported, believed, trusted and cared. A space in which they will experience professionalism and support by each individual they will interact with as a result of their victimization – law enforcement, their employer, high school counselor, medical professional, prosecutor, spiritual leader, parents and others in their circle of family and friends.

What can you do today to help create such a culture? First, become educated on the facts of sexual violence.  Second, take a stand against sexual victimization by speaking out against the rape culture and the root cause of sexual violence. Let advertisers, entertainers, members of the media, elected officials and individual community members that you will not tolerate misogyny and victim blaming.

Join HAVEN in speaking out against rape and sexual assault. Join us in creating a world where everyone has a right to live without fear.


*Editor’s note: Please join us on April 17 for Take Back the Night at Oakland University, and join us on April 25 by wearing jeans for Denim Day.

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Filed under Sexual Assault Awareness Month