April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month.
As I ride the NYC subways I see numerous posters publicizing the issue of unwanted sexual contact. I’m surrounded by images broadcasting:
Keep Your Hands Off Me
You Have The Right To Speak Up
If It’s Unwanted, It’s Harassment
Rub against me and I’ll expose you
There’s a poster on Subway Etiquette and information on reporting sexual misconduct.
I feel both pained and empowered by the placards. They are hard to look at and hard to avoid. I know we need to learn to tolerate the discomfort the topic of sexual violence brings up in order to address it. In my experience at Maze Women’s Sexual Health countless women have spoken of their silence, confusion and trauma around sexual assault. It’s painful to talk about and painful to hear but also necessary.
Besides speaking up, carrying personal safety products such as RAINN Key Case Pepper Spray and the Red Personal Alarm can help protect against sexual attack. (Be aware that pepper spray is legal in NYC but may not be legal in other locales).
To learn more about Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network visit rainn.org.
Many of the issues we treat at Maze have both a physical and a psychological component which is why each and every one of our patients will see both a medical professional as well as a therapist. If you need help, please contact us for a free phone consultation.