One in three boys is sexually assaulted before he turns 18. One in three girls will be before she turns 18. About 85 to 90 percent of rape victims knew the perpetrator.
In support of sexual assault awareness month, Community Solutions and Gavilan College teamed up Wednesday for “Time to Stop Rape.” At a courtyard at Gavilan’s Morgan Hill campus, white and teal flags put into the ground filled the lawn area of the school, added every five minutes starting at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. They represented the statistic that in the United States, a person is sexually assaulted about every five minutes.
Rosa Revuelta, the sexual assault and prevention manager for Community Solutions, said the teal flags – teal is the color for sexual assault awareness – represent the 27 SART exams administered in South County for the 2010-11 fiscal year. SART exams are the forensic exams a rape victim goes through after being assaulted.
All the flags revealed message of support and hope for victims, and some confessions of victims themselves, some such as “It happened to me,” “Guys! No means no!” or “I wish someone would have noticed the abuse.”
“That in itself is very powerful because its’ not always easy to just say that,” said Revuelta. “It helps to bring a voice to the issue.”
With Revuelta and Saozinha Restonick and Perla Flores from Community Solutions stationed at a table set up with information, students walking by could write their own messages and place a flag in the lawn. This is the first time the Morgan Hill Gavilan campus has held this event; it has been at the Hollister and Gilroy campuses in past years.
Sexual assault, said Revuelta, is not limited to just rape: it is any type of non-consensual sexual acts, touching, or can be verbal or non-verbal assaults.
Community Solutions in Morgan Hill provides services of mental health, support for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and human trafficking. It is not limited to services for just women, said Revuelta.
“It can be really difficult for a man. Even when they do say (they were assaulted) they think they’re judged or not believed, and that could be the hardest thing for a victim of sexual assault, that they’re not going to be believed that it actually happened,” she said.
Wednesday was also a “Denim Day” to support the famous case from 1992 when a judge in Italy determined that a woman victim could not have been sexually assaulted because her jeans were too tight and therefore she must have helped the perpetrator pull them off and was consensual.