More flags represent increased awareness

Mark Gutman/Daily News Orange flags are placed outside the Genesee County Building in recognition for the month of April being Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Another statistic increased this year, but it got lost in the Corona News.

Last year, statistics noted that someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every two minutes, or 720 every day. The average is now once every 73 seconds — or 1,183, in 24 hours.*

April is “Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” and agencies like RESTORE use this month and all year to inform communities about the realities of sexual violence and resources for support. Each year, RESTORE creates displays of flags across the region we serve — Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. All month, five displays of 1,183 flags have represented those impacted by sexual assault in the U.S. daily.

An increased statistic might seem like more violence, but it is actually because more people can define their experience and reach out for help. With increased conversations about consent and sexual boundaries, more people are able to understand what happened to them. With more responsible coverage that shares resources for those impacted, survivors and loved ones are able to make contact with programs that can support them.

Anyone can support survivors or take part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sharing posts from RESTORE’s social media (@RESTOREsas on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) helps spread the word on local resources, and talking about consent and healthy boundaries with your loved ones is an important part of prevention.

Another way to get involved is to submit a “Letter of Hope.” Normally hosted at libraries and related agencies, this year RESTORE’s letters are being accepted and displayed digitally! Send a message or photo to RESTORE@ppcwny.org to share your own, and see the gallery at RESTOREsas.org/lettersofhope.

This is an uncertain time, which can be difficult for many people in many different ways. Please reach out if you are in need of support, and take care in the coming weeks as we take our next steps together.

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*The statistic comes from RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), which uses data and victim surveys from the Department of Justice and advocacy programs to calculate how often, on average, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Given an annual total of people identifying as survivors of sexual assault, RAINN averages across months, days, hours, and minutes.

Lauren Berger

Lauren Berger is training coordinator for RESTORE Sexual Assault Service

Additional resources

During the coronavirus crisis RESTORE continues to maintain the confidential hotlines and responding to hospital calls by phone. Counseling, referrals, and crisis support will continue via communication methods the survivor feels comfortable using, including phone calls, video chats, texting, and emails.

More information is available at RESTOREsas.org.

RESTORE 24-hour hotlines:

In Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties: 1 (800) 527-1757.

In Monroe County: (585) 546-2777.

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