April is S.A.A.M. What does this mean and what can we as advocates, do about it? Sexual violence is pervasive in our society and must be understood under a broader lens with the consequences ranging from subtle to deadly. Further complicating matters, we know that sexual assault is an underreported crime and many cases even if reported are never prosecuted.
A 2015 prevalence study by the University of Texas found 40% (2 in 5) of women and 20% (1 in 5) of men are likely to experience sexual assault in their lifetimes. Studies documented in The Office for Victims of Crime show 1 in 2 transgender individuals are likely survivors of sexual violence, while some studies indicate rates as high as 66%. Sexual violence affects everyone regardless of race, class, or gender, but a survivor’s access to healing and justice are often inconsistent.
But resources are available. If you are a survivor or know a survivor seeking support, please consider these resources:
- RAINN—operates the free and confidential, 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline and Chatline and the nation’s largest network of sexual assault resources.
- LASSA Network—a statewide network of nine programs that collaborate to provide holistic civil legal services to the most vulnerable and underserved sexual violence survivors in Texas. To speak directly to an attorney, call the LASSA Statewide Hotline, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., 844-303-7233 (SAFE).
- TAASA—statewide coalition of survivors, advocates, rape crisis centers, and allied professionals. To find sexual assault services near you, use their Crisis Center Locator.
https://victimsofcrime.org/- The National Center for Victims of Crime is a nonprofit organization that advocates for victims’ rights, trains professionals who work with victims, and serves as a trusted source of information on victims’ issues.
The Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt is a Trauma Informed law firm. We exclusively represent child and adult victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault in civil cases. We stand ready to help you with your legal needs. For more than twenty-five years, we have represented victims of sex crimes in civil cases against institutions, including colleges and universities, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, Baptist Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Episcopal Church, and Presbyterian Church, among others. We have also represented victims of sexual abuse in medical settings, group homes, schools, youth sports organizations, youth camps, daycares, scouting, and other youth serving organizations.
You may confidentially contact our office at 214-503-7300 or through our website : http://tkmlawfirm.com/.
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