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home : insight & opinion : guest columns
April 24, 2019

4/11/2019 1:03:00 PM
Victims aren't only ones affected by sexual assault
For the Daily News

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual assault is a subject that is not discussed frequently, it occurs more often than most realize. At Counseling and Information for Sexual Assault/Abuse, we provide services to help survivors and their families deal with the after-effects.

One in five women and one in 71 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by age 17. These survivors often do not seek help, or speak about their abuse. Eighty percent of perpetrators are people the survivor knows.

Only one third of sexual assault/abuse is reported to the police. This means that out of 300 sexual assaults only 100 would be reported to the police. Out of the one hundred that are reported only one offender will be incarcerated. There are many reasons people do not report. Some reasons include self-blame, feel they won't be believed, worry about what others will think, fear of police, and lack of trust in the criminal justice system. Our legal advocate helps survivors if they choose to report to police and as their case proceeds through the justice system. This relationship assures that the survivor's voice is heard.

Many survivors go to the hospital for care after an assault and a CAISA advocate is there to answer questions and assist them. This care can include testing and examinations. The advocate provides support and information. A client's mother reported to the advocate, "When you walked into the room, I knew everything was going to be okay."

There are many ways sexual assault affects survivors and their families. They may have trouble sleeping. They may withdraw from activities. They may turn to substance abuse. They may become depressed. The assault sometimes affects survivors' relationships with their family and friends. They may lose close relationships and it can affect future relationships.

Our counselors listen to survivors and assist them in coping with the feelings and changes that occur as a result of their assault. They can also help family members deal with their own emotions about the assault and give insight on how to support the survivor in their recovery.

CAISA, located here in Robinson, provides services to survivors of sexual assault/abuse. We are located above the Robinson Hospital for Animals and also have a new office in Olney. Our services are available no matter when the abuse occurred, it could have happened recently or many years ago. Our services are available to anyone 0-99 years of age. We have assisted 715 clients since the year 2000 just from Crawford County. This number does not include family members of the clients.

CAISA provides services in Crawford, Edwards, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland and Wabash counties. Since the year 2000, we have provided services to a total of 1,907 clients. Out of that number 827 were adults and 1080 were children. We provide crisis response 24 hours a day. We have provided crisis response to 2155 individuals throughout our counties. We can be contacted at 618-544-9379 or our 24 hour hot line number 866-288-4888 if you or someone you know needs our services.

Mickie Owens is a Legal Advocate at CAISA Counseling and Information for Sexual Assault in Robinson. These occasional guest columns are provided by Crawford County LIFE, a new local non-profit that "exists to liberate residents of preconceived ideas and addictive behaviors by educating to improve understanding of themselves and their needs; to facilitate community resources with the goal to empower residents toward better emotional, physical and mental health." For more information, check out Crawford County LIFE's Facebook page.

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