President Obama announced yesterday that April is now officially National Sexual Assault Awareness Month as a way to prevent future crimes, increase awareness and aid victims. A recent study found that 18 percent of women in the U.S. have been raped in their lifetime. A 2005 survey found that 10.8 percent of high school girls and 4.2 percent of high school boys had been raped or sexually assaulted. The statstics are even more alarming for college age students. Experts agree that sexual assaults perpetuate long-term physical and emotional ailments such as chronic pain, stomach problems and sexually transmitted diseases. Legislation like The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 and The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 have helped increase victim rights.

President Obama enacted this bill to ensure his administration continues to support efforts to help Americans better understand and work together to reduce the incidence of sexual assault. He urges us all to respond to sexual assault by creating policies at work and school, engaging in discussions with family and friends, and by making the prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities.—WLW