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Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Prevent Sexual Violence



Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is observed in April to highlight sexual violence as a major public health problem and increase public understanding about it. The effort can help us support rape and sexual assault survivors and victims as well as their families.

One of the most vividly brutal rapes I have ever seen portrayed on TV was The Sopranos, Employee of the Month (Episode 30, Season 3), when Dr. Jennifer Melfi is raped in the stairwell of her office garage after work. Forget House, Scrubs and definitely Grey's Anatomy, The Sopranos is my favorite medical show. Medical problems are the undercurrent of almost every episode. Dr. Melfi is given sensitive care in the Emergency Department, and is able to identify her attacker, but justice is denied her when evidence is mishandled. Recuperating from her injuries and psychological scars, tensions erupt between her and her husband. She dreams that her mob boss patient, Tony Soprano, is a vicious Rottweiler dog and part of her longs to ask him to mete revenge where the legal system failed her. Like the majority of women, I myself have been a target of attempted sexual assault three times. The first time I successfully fought off my attacker on sheer adrenaline. I had scratches on my neck, reported it to the police and they laughed at me. The second time, my would be attacker chased me in a truck and I went into a grocery store. The third time, my car broke down at night and a crazed man banged on my windows screaming he wanted to "help" me. I waited, terrorized, until a tow truck came to my rescue.

Sexual violence is an international problem, but in the US:
The high risk years are ages 12-34. Risk peaks in late teens. Girls 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual violence. The good news is that, in the US, rape and sexual assault has fallen by 69%. The bad news is that it is suspected that 60% of sexual assaults are not reported.

For other coverage of The Sopranos medical issues, read my post The Barbarian Invasions & National Cancer Control Month.

Thank you AlexPears for use of the photo.
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