Presidential Proclamation — National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, 2012BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Though we have come far in the fight to reduce sexual violence, the prevalence of sexual assault remains an affront to our national conscience that we cannot ignore. This month, we stand with survivors of sexual assault, join together to break the silence, and recommit to ending this devastating crime.
Rape and sexual assault inflict profound suffering upon millions of Americans every year. Nearly one in five women has been raped, and still more have endured other forms of sexual violence or abuse. Tragically, these crimes take their greatest toll on young people; women between the ages of 16 and 24 are at greatest risk of rape and sexual assault, and many victims, male and female, first experience abuse during childhood. The trauma of sexual violence leaves scars that may never fully heal. Many survivors experience depression, fear, and suicidal feelings in the months and years following an assault, and some face health problems that last a lifetime.
It is up to all of us to ensure victims of sexual violence are not left to face these trials alone. Too often, survivors suffer in silence, fearing retribution, lack of support, or that the criminal justice system will fail to bring the perpetrator to justice. We must do more to raise awareness about the realities of sexual assault; confront and change insensitive attitudes wherever they persist; enhance training and education in the criminal justice system; and expand access to critical health, legal, and protection services for survivors. As we fight sexual assault in our communities, so must we combat this crime within our Armed Forces.