November 6, 2012
As a result of our research on sexual violence, its prevalence, and its impact on our society were able to identify a service gap within our local communities. A core nonprofit agency, ContactLifeline, Inc. specifically targets people affected by sexual violence and crisis. We interviewed people in the community, local educators, students, and key staff from ContactLifeline Inc. to gather professional opinions and opinions of our fellow community members and educators to see how these service gaps may have affected them or may not have. We discovered that ContactLifeline is a nonprofit agency that provides specific services to sexual assault and rape survivors for the entire state of Delaware. ContactLifeline offers many options for survivors to receive multiple kinds of aftercare services, free of charge, but we noticed that their efforts in prevention were not being met on a full scale by our school system in an effective long term manner. We asked what is being done by our local schools to provide and promote education on this specific topic. What is being done to educate our youth on what healthy relationships and sexual behaviors are so that most importantly we see a decrease in victims and are not spending so much time and money on aftercare? This needs assessment addresses this service gap in depth and provides a possible policy change within our local school districts and potentially a state wide adaption of a sexual education program that includes a curriculum that teaches our youth what healthy relationships and sexual behaviors are and how to effectively maintain these. All of this is based on a hope to prevent the large amount of sexual violence and abuse we see in our society and start addressing it in our local communities.
II. Nature and Extent of Problem
Definition of Sexual Violence
Sexual violence has a profound impact on physical and mental health. As well as causing physical injury, it is associated with an increased risk of a range of sexual and reproductive health problems, with both immediate and long-term consequences. Its impact on mental health can be as serious as its physical impact, and may be equally long lasting. Sexual violence can also profoundly affect the social wellbeing of victims; individuals may be stigmatized and ostracized by their families and others as a consequence. Sexual violence is defined as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting(RAINN). Sexual violence includes rape, defined as the physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration of the vulva or anus with a penis, other body part or object. Intimate partner violence refers to behavior in an intimate relationship that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, and psychological abuse and controlling behaviors. History on a National Level
In the United States every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted. This means that one in six women and one in thirty-three men will be a survivor of sexual assault in their lifetime (RAINN). Approximately seventy three percent of rape survivors knew their assailants. So it is more of a myth that perpetrators are the strangers in the back alleys, they are people we know. Six out of ten sexual assaults take place in the survivor’s home or in the home of a friend, relative or neighbor. Unfortunately, sixty percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Police reports only include information about recent cases of sexual assault that have been reported to law enforcement. A significant percentage of sexual assault victims do not seek services from rape crisis or other sexual violence agencies. According to The Department of Justice...