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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

St. Joseph, Mo. -- Here are some startling statistics:
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused in their lifetime
1 in 8 women have been raped
Only 16% of all rapes are ever reported
Over 80% of sexual violence is committed by someone the victim knows, not by a stranger
The offender may be a date, boy/girlfriend, a co-worker or supervisor, a neighbor or someone the victim knows casually. Regardless of the relationship between the offender and the victim, forced or coerced sexual intercourse is not sex; it is rape and it is never the victims fault.

Children, young women ages 15-25 and persons with developmental disabilities are the most frequent victims of sexual violence.

Here are some tips to help keep you safe:
Trust your instincts, if you feel uncomfortable or think you may be at risk, leave the situation immediately and go to a safe place. Listen to your gut feelings.
Communicate your limits firmly and directly, if you say "NO," say it like you mean it. Back up your words with a firm voice and clear body language.

Choose to go out on double dates or group dates, there is less of a chance that you will have to make uncomfortable decisions or be in an unsafe environment if you are around other people.

Go to public places, like the mall, restaurants, movie theatres, ball games or other functions where there are other people around.

Don't be afraid to "make waves" if you feel threatened, if you feel you are being pressured or coerced into sexual activity, don't hesitate to state your feelings and get out of the situation. Better a few minutes of social awkwardness or embarrassment than the trauma of a sexual assault.

Always know how you are going to get home,

If you have sex with someone who has been drugged, is intoxicated, passed out, incapable of saying "NO" or is unaware of what is happening around them, it is rape.
Don't be a statistic. Remember we all must be good wingmen and take care of each other.