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Proposal: Sexual Assault: A Silent Violence

What if someone you knew and cared about was hurting? You would help them wouldn't you? There are people around you who go through sexual assault on a daily basis. You can help them. You can save their lives.

The Issue

Problem Defined

The issue to be solved is sexual assault. The main two problems with sexual assault is that victims/survivors/etc. don't want to speak up and sexual assault is still occurring at high rates. Victims don't speak up and more assault occurs the longer they stay quiet. There are many consequences to sexual assault occurring. Most of these victims have friends and family they can speak to but just refuse to, out of embarrassment or other circumstances.In some cases if a survivor talks to someone the issue never gets solved or is reported.This issue has affected many communities lately and should be addressed so that we all can bring about change.

Expand all bullets
High number of sexual assault casesMORE

Infographic showing the number of people victimized in one year. Number broken down by inmates (80,600), children (61,000), general public (284,000), and military (18,900).

Perpetrators are not charged and they walk freeMORE

Graphic demonstrating that out of 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free. Out of every 1,000 rapes, 310 are reported to the police, 57 reports lead to arrest, 13 cases get referred to prosecutors, 7 cases will lead to a felony conviction, 6 rapists will be incarcerated.

Perpetrators commit crime againMORE

Bar graph explaining that the majority of released prisoners are rearrested for a new crime within 3 years. 21% within 6 months, 31% within 1 year, 44% within 2 years, 51% within 3 years, 56% within 4 years, and 60% within 5 years.

Victims are without helpMORE

Victims in our area do not have any set programs which can make it hard to speak to someone who will be able to help or be comfortable to talk to. Without help victims can't move on. Without help the viscous cycle occurs again and again. If victims are not helped the perpetrators will commit the crime again and again most likely. We all want to help in some way. There is always some way we can help in any situation, whether it's big or small.

Consequences of not speaking upMORE

Some consequences of not speaking up could be suicide, another sexual assault encounter, depression, etc. If someone you know has been sexually assaulted they should get help. If they don't who knows what could happen. Some people don't want to speak up for various reasons, like out of fear or embarrassment, but if the victim doesn't get any help they will be unable to move on. The perpetrator would win. We don't want the victims to feel like they have no where to go or else they become depressed or suicidal and we lose the ones we love and/or care about.

Sexual assault incidents among college undergraduates: Prevalence and factors associated with risk

Mellins, C. A., Walsh, K., Sarvet, A. L., Wall, M., Gilbert, L., Santelli, J. S., ...Hirsch, J. S. - (January 1, 2017)


I found that a sexual assaulter usually comes out at night and they vary from day to day and season to season. Women are more likely to be assaulted and women of a younger age.

Go deeper
Safety & Prevention

RAINN - (January 1, 2018)


You can take an active role in increasing your safety or the safety of those you care about. While there's no way to eliminate the chance that something may happen, there are strategies that may reduce your risk or give you the confidence to step in to prevent a sexual assault. (RAINN)

Types of Sexual Violence

RAINN - (January 1, 2018)


The term "sexual violence" refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. The legal definition of crimes vary from state to state. There are often other crimes and forms of violence that arise jointly with crimes like sexual assault, and these are described as well. (RAINN)


I attend AC and want to change our community for the better. I want to change the issue of sexual assault for the better.

Lexi Friend
Student at Allegany College of Maryland - Allegany College of Maryland
My name is Lexi Friend. I attend Allegany College of Maryland and I am striving to become a pediatric nurse. I am most passionate about trying to make everyone happy. I want to make our world a better place by even doing something small, by doing anything I can do to help.
Diane McMahon
Associate Professor of Sociology - Allegany College of Maryland
I am a sociology professor at Allegany College of Maryland, which is located in Cumberland, MD. I also work as the Faculty Director of the Service Learning and Civic Engagement (SLCE) Center at the college. I have worked in a variety of professions in my past that focuses on helping the homeless. Most recently I was the director of a peace and justice organization in Pittsburgh.

I am a great supporter of the work of TheChisel.com because it helps raise up topics that students and community members can work on together, in a bi-partisan manner, to address.

The Solution

Proposed Actions
Expand all bullets

Hotlines are available in some areas for sexual assault. Victims can use the hotlines to report crimes talk to someone about their abuse, or etc. In our area we could have a hotline that one can text or call. Many people feel like they are unable to talk in person so calling can be beneficial. Others do not like to talk in person or on the phone, so one can text a number to talk to someone or get help.

Other peopleMORE

Other people have a big impact on how a victim moves on and how they can be helped. A victim can talk to another person maybe a family member or even a friend. That person the victim talks to could change their life. If the person convinces the victim to speak up the victim can get help and/or move on. That person can also help them through the process of reporting the assault. Give the survivors a safe environment to speak in and I believe they will speak up.

Justice SystemMORE

The justice system has many flaws while it also has many advantages. When a perpetrator is convicted, most of the time they walk free. Out of 1000 cases 995 walk free. That can change though. There are laws that can be proposed to help victims of sexual assault escape from their assaulter and convict the criminals accordingly instead of letting them walk free.


Groups can be formed that can help victims talk about their experience and to help others. Some friends and family members of the victim can also form help groups to help the ones they care about. Talking in groups can help victims to form friendships and hear stories that may be like their own. The victims can get help through these groups and the victims friends and family can too. Talking makes many people feel better. A safe environment may bring them out of their shells.

Survivors/victims selfMORE

Survivors self refers to the victim and them doing things to change the issue. The victim is the one who is a part of the issue and they can be the ones who help others. For example, a victim has a choice to speak up or not and if they do speak up they can talk to others about their experience and get and/or seek help themselves without others to help them do that part. It's the victims choice to get help and help others in the first place though. Nothing can happen if the victim refuses to do nothing. No change can occur if the victim refuses to do nothing.

Expected Results
Expand all bullets
Higher ArrestsMORE

Arrest rates increasing for perpetrators will get them off the streets and prevent them from committing more crimes. The victim can feel more secure knowing that their perpetrator is in prison or a long way away from them. The victim can feel safe and move on in life without having any worries that their assaulter will walk free for their crime.

Lower sexual assault cases and/or reportsMORE

With less sexual assault cases there will be less problems with sexual assault. The victims will be able to move on and live happy lives. The perpetrators being locked away will keep the case count low and there will be less second offenses. The issue will be less of an issue and won't be a worry as much as it used to be.

Help survivors and othersMORE

By helping the survivors and others the victim is associated with, everyone can move on and feel safe knowing that they survived their attackers and can live a normal life. They will have escaped from the bad people that were around them and be happier. They won't feel as sad or want to commit suicide or be depressed knowing they can move forward. Only with our help they can feel safe to speak about their assault.


There is no specific budget for the sexual assault problem. If we wanted to raise money for the issue that's a possibility. Overtime the money can pile up for the cause and help people out who experience sexual assault, like pay for medical expenses for what the perpetrator did to them. Many victims cannot pay for medical expenses so that would take a large burden off of them.

The Conversation

Deborah Devedjian
Founder & Chief Citizens' Officer
a year ago
One of the other ramifications of sexually-abused people not speaking up is that under-reported crimes aren't given as much attention as they warrant.

As a society, we need to provide a safe way for these individuals to speak up--without fear of recrimination--to get the help they need.

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