Marquette, Mich. – April 2, 2018 – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today recognized April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and stressed the continued need for advocacy and justice for survivors of sexual assault.
“Survivors of sexual assault have experienced an unimaginable trauma,” said Schuette. “ As Attorney General, I have made it a top priority to get justice for the men and women who survive these horrific crimes. But there is something each and every person can do to help stop this crime: We must all speak up and say something when we believe a friend, family member or acquaintance has experienced sexual assault. It is only by working together can we truly make a difference.”
As Attorney General, Schuette has made it a priority to seek justice for victims of sexual assault. Most recently Schuette and some of the many dedicated assistant attorneys general charged and prosecuted Larry Nassar, finally holding him responsible for his criminal actions against young women. In addition to providing justice for the survivors, Schuette provided them with a voice. Giving the brave women affected a chance to speak directly to Nassar in hopes of moving forward.
In addition, Schuette has worked with the Michigan State Police, The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Detroit Police Department to investigate prosecute cases arising from the testing of sexual assault kits found in Wayne County in 2009, testing on those kits was finished in 2015.
In May of 2016, the Department of Attorney General secured their first conviction from the testing of those abandoned kits.
The Department of Attorney General also collected and tested over 1,000 untested sexual assault kits from around the state. Most kits were untested due to a confession or a victim knowing their attacker. However, by testing these kits could possibly aid in connecting someone to another unsolved case.
These cases are prosecuted by the Attorney General Cold Case Sexual Assault Project. The project is funded by a United States Department of Justice grant awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women, to combat intimate relationship violence. The grant is administered by the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board.
FACTS ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT
Sexual assault is any type of forced or coerced sexual contact or behavior that happens without consent. Sexual assault includes rape and attempted rape, child molestation, and sexual harassment or threats.
Sexual violence happens to people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, professions, incomes, and ethnicities.
- It happens every day in our communities, schools, and workplaces.
- It is common to think sexual assault only affects women but it can affect men and women of all ages.
- About 85% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows – a friend, acquaintance, or partner.
- One out of four women and one out of 10 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
- 79% of female victims of rape report that they were first raped before age 25.
- 28% of male victims of rape report that they were first raped at age 10 or younger.
RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Michigan victims of sexual violence are encouraged to call the national sexual assault hotline toll-free, 800-656-HOPE. All calls are confidential and will be answered by a local counseling center affiliated with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
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