Problem is too widespread

As part of our coverage of area news events, The Daily News reports on area court proceedings.

Unfortunately, too many of these cases involve criminal sexual conduct. In fact, if you check the sex offenders registry for the area, you’ll find more than more than 50 registered offenders in the local area alone.

That’s shocking.

Sexual assault, obviously, is far too frequent here. Regrettably, this is not just a local problem. This nightmare is a national problem as well.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes.

April is commonly associated with the season of spring, a time of hope. It is also National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

April was first declared Sexual Assault Awareness Month in 2001.

Despite the statistics, organizers hope to use Sexual Assault Awareness Month to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities.

And the statistics reveal a significant challenge. National Sexual Violence Resource Center data show:

– One in five women have been raped at some time in their lives.

– One in 71 men have been raped at some time in their lives,

– More than 25 percent of male victims reported their first rape was when they were 10 years of age or younger.

– There are 535,600 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.

– Two-thirds of rapes were committed by a someone known to the victim.

These crimes are widespread and occur daily in area communities, schools, and workplaces, but sexual violence can be prevented.

Community members can work to prevent sexual violence by establishing healthy and positive relationships that are based on respect, safety, and equality.

To be a part of the solution, experts at Caring House, the local domestic violence shelter, say residents should:

– Be a role model for respectful behavior to those around you.

– Talk with your children about healthy sexual development and personal boundaries.

– Intervene and speak up when you see inappropriate behavior.

– Educate yourself.

– Invite Caring House staff to speak in your schools, faith communities or workplaces (at no cost).

– Report suspected child abuse. Know what to do if you or someone you know suspects a child may be being abused.

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Caring House will host its Third Annual Sexual Assault Awareness Candle Light Vigil.

The event will be held on Tuesday, April 29, at 5 p.m. at Caring House, 1305 Prospect Ave., Iron Mountain.

We encourage the public to attend this event to demonstrate their support for survivors of sexual assault. The problem is too widespread to ignore.

To learn more about what you can do to make a difference or if you know someone that is in need of assistance, contact Caring House at 774-1112.