COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Georgia Department of Public Health states more than 1-in-3 women and nearly 1-in-4 men have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and local organizations are raising awareness and focusing on prevention.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) says every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. Only about 25 of every thousand perpetrators see jail time. This is part of the reason why the CDC has declared sexual assault a public health issue.
The majority of the time, a victim is preyed on by someone familiar to them. With the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, cases of sexual assault and violence drastically spiked over the last two years.
The Center at 909 in Columbus served over 600 families alone in 2021.
The victims advocate coordinator, Abby Moorman, says the issue is widespread in the Columbus community.
“Crime has no address. And it’s the same with sexual assault. It has no address, and it has no target victim. Anyone is susceptible to this issue. And so right here in Columbus, we see it in all sectors of society…. know that you’re not alone. Believe first that you’re not alone. Believe. Second, that there is someone willing to believe you.”Abby Moorman – Victims Advocate Coordinator, The Center at 909
The Center at 909 allows victims to remain anonymous while also providing a safe place to work with local law enforcement or receive sexual assault kits that can be passed on to the hospital. Ultimately, it’s the survivors choice. The focus is to give power back to survivors, as they focus on tailoring each process to individuals and their needs.
On April, 28th the center will hold its annual “Teal the Town” event on Broadway, continuing to raise awareness as they work to increase prevention. The event will be held at The City Stage in the 1000 block of Broadway from 6-9pm.