An American is sexually assaulted about every 68 seconds. About one in six American women has been the victim of an rape or an attempted rape in her lifetime.
Those statistics, from the U.S. Justice Department Bureau of Justice Statistics, clearly show sexual assault is a topic that is a persistent problem in our society. It's a problem we can't ignore.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Here in Missouri, we're seeing efforts on several fronts to combat sexual assaults.
In the Legislature, Senate Bill 775 is the culmination of nearly a year's work by a task force that includes lawmakers, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, health care professionals and advocates for survivors.
The bill combines three bills to affirm the rights for survivors of sexual assaults. The Senate unanimously approved the bill, which is being considered by the House.
"This bipartisan legislation provides survivors with a more concise enumeration of their rights and sets clear expectations for all parties involved in providing justice and care after a sexual assault occurs," Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, said in a statement. "Countless hours were devoted over the course of a year to arrive at this legislation, and I'm confident this bill will provide a new and higher standard of care for survivors to help ensure justice."
Also, Gov. Mike Parson ordered the Missouri state Capitol dome to be lit teal Wednesday and today in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
"We light the Capitol teal to call attention to Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in solidarity with all who have been victims of sexual assault and those who bravely fight against this horrendous crime," Parson and first lady Teresa Parson said in a statement. "By being responsive to victims in our criminal justice system and throughout society, we not only show them our support, we help prevent criminals from assaulting again and hurting additional victims."
Sexual assault is an issue we need to face and, unfortunately, probably always will. So we're glad to see bipartisan efforts to help combat it.