April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Michigan State Police is seeking to educate victims regarding the importance of reporting sexual assault.

“Victims of sexual assault are often afraid to come forward because they may feel embarrassed, ashamed or worried about what people may think about them, their family or their friends,” says Community Service Trooper Dale Hongisto, Gladstone Post. “Despite this, it is important to report a crime of sexual assault because it can help the victim begin the healing process and give detectives a better chance of catching the offender.”

Physical evidence collected from a victim at the scene of the crime plays a large role in the prosecution of sexual assault cases. The longer a victim waits to report the crime, the less likely detectives will be able to collect necessary evidence. Additionally, as time passes, it becomes more difficult for the victim to recall important details of the crime.

“Most important of all, victims who report sexual assaults help law enforcement to send a message to offenders that what they did was not okay and there are consequences for their actions,” said Hongisto.

There are many resources available to victims of sexual assault. The Michigan Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault provides a comprehensive list of service providers across the state on their website at www.mcadsv.org/help.

In addition, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is available 24-hours a day anywhere in the U.S. at 1-800-656-HOPE. This network provides confidential counseling and support for survivors of sexual assault.