Sexual Assault Awareness Information

Sexual assault is never trivial, excusable or deserved, and it is never the victim’s fault. Perpetrators are exclusively responsible for their crimes and the subsequent effects. The following suggestions and facts have been compiled to educate the public, help prevent violent crime and help victims promptly receive available assistance.

Some Sexual Assault Facts:

- In 2017 85% of reported sexual assaults in Springfield were committed by known attackers and that 49% of those cases also involved domestic violence.

- Sexual assault can happen to people regardless of their relationship with the perpetrator- whether they are married, dating, friends, co-workers, acquaintances or strangers.

- Anyone can be a victim — no matter their gender, sexual orientation, or age.

- A weapon does not have to be involved in an incident in order for it to be considered sexual assault and the victim doesn’t need to have fought back, screamed, or said “no” repeatedly in order for it to be considered sexual assault.

- Verbal consent should be clearly communicated and there should be no question or mystery as to whether consent was given.

- Sexual consent means all involved parties have agreed to participate in sexual activity.

- Consent cannot be given:

     - If someone is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

     - If someone is passed out, unconscious, asleep, or coming in or out of consciousness

     - If there is a direct or implied threat of bodily harm or other forms of coercion

     - If any party is under 18 years of age

     - If someone has a physical, developmental or mental disability that impairs their ability to understand the act

Safety Awareness Tips:

- Choose well-lighted streets and bus stops, staying near the curb. Avoid alleys and shrubbery.

- Invite a friend to walk with you.

- Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations.

- Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent.

- If a friend or loved one brags about committing rape or sexual assault, report them.

- There are many different ways that you can step in or make a difference if you see someone at risk, including:

- Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.

- Talk directly to the person who might be in trouble. Ask questions like “Who did you come here with?” or “Would you like me to stay with you?”

- Sometimes the safest way to intervene is to refer to a neutral party with the authority to change the situation. Talk to a security guard, bartender, or another employee about your concerns. It’s in their best interest to ensure that their patrons are safe, and they will usually be willing to step in.

- Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you are concerned about someone else’s safety.