Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence


Tragically, a staff person was killed on the campus where I work this week. A man she used to be involved with went to her office, shot her to death, and then committed suicide. The victim had taken many steps to protect herself: she had obtained protective orders against the man, she had alerted university police, and she had shown her coworkers his picture and told them to call 911 if they saw him. Still, he found her. (See Seattle Times story.)

Today I read that, ironically or aptly, this is Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Awareness Week on campus. I started looking for more information and found that different organizations have designated April Sexual Assault Awareness Month. (H. Res. 289, a resolution introduced in the House of Representatives last week, would call it National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.)

During my search for information about the event, I found a great self-help resource, by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs: A Survivor’s Guide to Filing a Civil Lawsuit (2004). It’s a 54-page book (in pdf) that explains the whole process — including long ists of pros and cons (p. 4) to help potential plaintiffs make the decision whether to sue. WCSAP has other resources (for the public and for attorneys) on its legal page.

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (part of CDC) takes a public health approach to the problem. See its Sexual Violence fact sheet, with resources for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has links to legal organizations working on the topic here.

1 Comment

  1. david giacalone

    April 6, 2007 @ 9:37 am


    Thanks for this important post and compilation, Mary. Readers should know that Domestic Violence is a topic that is often covered at court-related self-help centers. Click Self-Help Centers by State to find out whether recources are available in your state. Many states also have court forms online relating to domestic violence. See the NCSC Court Forms list by State.

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