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In light of April having been Sexual Assault Awareness month, United Way board member, Penny Ardelt, reflected on what she has learned about resources available in our communities for sexual and domestic abuse victims.

Thanks to our local United Way Partner agencies, I have learned so much about services available in our community, the dedication of agency employees and volunteers, and the impact of programs like United Way 2-1-1, Ride United, Adult ESL and citizenship classes, recovery, job readiness, and so many other amazing programs.

With help for victims of sexual & domestic violence being a focus in our community this past year, I have also learned much about the type of services that our local agencies like PAVE and New Beginnings APFV offer. Because sexual & domestic violence has long been a subject that people don’t talk about, many of us have no idea just how badly these services are needed.

I would like to share some information with you:

On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.

One in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the United States have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. –


Sexual assault is a serious and widespread problem. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 67 men in the US have experienced rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. Sexual abuse includes engaging in sexual activities with a child, indecent exposure, child grooming, or using a child to produce child pornography.

According to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network):

  • ​ Someone in America is being sexually assaulted every 92 seconds.
  • 15% of female sexual assault victims are under age 12; 44% are under 18; and 80% are under the age of 30. (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics)
  • Almost 2/3 of rapes are completed by someone known to the victim.
  • The effects of sexual abuse are long-lasting. Survivors are:
    • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression
    • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide
    • 6 times more likely to suffer from PTSD
    • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol
    • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs

According to the CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

  • 1 in 7 people who experience domestic violence obtain a physical injury.            
  • A 2011 nationwide survey found that 23% of females and 14% of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between the ages of 11 and 17.

Obviously, this means that we all know several people who have been victims of abuse. The fact that abuse continues to happen so often serves to prove that not only do we need to talk about it, but we need to keep an eye on our friends, our families, and especially our children to watch for sign of abuse, and we need to know what to do in the event we suspect abuse.

. Domestic and Sexual Violence Resources:

PAVE 800-775-3785 (Crisis Line) or 920-887-3810
New Beginnings APFV (262) 723-4653
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin 608-255-0539
Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault 608-257-1516
National Domestic Violence Hotline  800-779-SAFE (7233)
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network   800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline  866-331-9474
National Human Trafficking Resource Center 888-373-7888
LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence Resource Line 414-856-LGBT (5428

Penny Ardelt
United Way board member