One in a series of Project Community articles to provide teens and families with information and programs they need before tragedy strikes. 

Fact: “Sexual violence is common.”

Over half of women and almost 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. One in 4 women and about 1 in 26 men have experienced completed or attempted rape. Additionally, 1 in 3 women and about 1 in 9 men experienced sexual harassment in a public place. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022)

Fiction: “Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers.”

Most sexual assaults and rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Among victims aged 18 to 29, two-thirds had a prior relationship with the offender. A study of sexual victimization of college women showed that most victims knew the person who sexually victimized them. For both completed and attempted rapes, about 9 in 10 offenders were known to the victim. Most often, a partner, ex, classmate, friend, acquaintance, or co-worker was the perpetrator. Sexual assault can be committed within any type of relationship, including in marriage, in dating relationships, or by friends, acquaintances or co-workers. Sexual assault can occur in heterosexual or same-gender relationships. It does not matter whether there is a current or past relationship between the victim and offender; unwanted sexual activity is still sexual assault and is a serious crime. (The US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, 2000)

Angela Kang, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in New York and New Jersey with a private practice in Pelham.

Project Community Inc. is one of Pelham’s leading charitable organizations that has the unique distinction of having expert professionals and volunteers providing visionary programs and solutions for children, teens and their families for a healthy community. Known for its ever-popular COLOR RUN (May 19), its programs and workshops tackle Binge Drinking, Sexual Assault, Anxiety, Self Awareness, and Project CHILDD along with YOU&ME for the mentally & physically challenged.