State of Montana law enforcement officials are recognizing the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, according to Montana Department of Justice Public Information Officer Clair Howard.

“The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Montana join survivors, advocates and communities nationwide in April to observe Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month,” began Howard. “Sexual violence is far too prevalent, and it is important to not only raise awareness of the myriad forms of sexual violence, but to engage in meaningful prevention efforts, take action to hold offenders accountable, and care for survivors in a trauma informed manner.”

Howard provided some important statistics of those who have been victims of sexual violence.

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“43.6 percent of women and 24.8 percent of men have experienced contact sexual violence,” she said. “21.3 percent of women and 2.6 percent of men reported being raped or subjected to attempted rape in their lifetime, and 37 percent of women and 17.9 percent of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact.”

Howard said the U.S. Attorney’s office in Montana fully supports the commemoration of April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

“U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson joins the Department of Justice and the Office on Violence against Women in applauding the recent passage of the Violence against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022, which treats sexual assault as the serious violation it is and creates new programs and initiatives that provide survivors of sexual violence with increased access to services and justice.”

Howard said sexual violence simply has no place in American society.

“Sexual violence has no place in society, yet it is a very real horrible and underreported crime, especially in our tribal communities,” she said. “All individuals, women, men and children deserve to be safe from violence, including sexual violence. This office will continue to seek justice for victims by prosecuting and holding offenders accountable and supports healing and recovery for survivors, while strengthening prevention and education efforts.”

The Office on Violence against Women provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence through the implementation of the Violence against Women Act and subsequent legislation.

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