The Casper Police Department is joining other agencies in recognizing April as 'Sexual Assault Awareness Month.'

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That's according to a Facebook post from the Casper PD, which stated that "Although we know one month is not enough time to solve the serious and widespread issues of sexual violence, we do want to take the time to focus on the prevalence of sexual violence in our community."

The National Center for Victims of Crimes states that "Sexual violence happens in every community and affects people of all genders and ages. Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact. This includes words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent. A person may use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence.

Forms of sexual violence include:

  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Child sexual assault and incest
  • Sexual assault by a person’s spouse or partner
  • Unwanted sexual contact/touching
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual exploitation and trafficking
  • Exposing one’s genitals or naked body to other(s) without consent
  • Masturbating in public
  • Watching someone engage in private acts without their knowledge or permission
  • Nonconsensual image sharing

There is a social context that surrounds sexual violence. Social norms that condone violence, use power over others, traditional constructs of masculinity, the subjugation of women, and silence about violence and abuse contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence. Oppression in all of its forms is among the root causes of sexual violence."

These root causes and more all play a part in a culture that leaves women feeling unsafe in their own towns, their own homes, and their own bodies.

A photo essay that was showcased at the Bourgeois Pig in April of 2021 offered some statistics regarding sexual assault in Natrona County.

“In Casper, WY in 2018, the number of reported rapes was 103 per 100,000," the photo project stated. "To put this in perspective, the number of rapes in New York City in 2018 was 33 per 100,000 and in Chicago, it was 66 per 100,000. The rate of rape in Casper is almost 2x greater than Chicago. These numbers are the reported cases of rape. It does not count the unreported rape and the daily verbal and physical harassment that women endure. The subliminal messaging on the television, in social media, and in stores that objectifies women surrounds us all, numbing us to its reality. It is ubiquitous in our culture and impossible to escape. The belief that women are safe in this city is delusional.”

Read More: Photo Essay Spotlights Sexual Assault and Female Empowerment

Nick Perkins, Townsquare Media
Nick Perkins, Townsquare Media

The Casper Police Department wrote that April "is a time to educate individuals about the risk factors for sexual assault and empower one another to take steps to prevent this crime."

The National Center for Victims of Crime states that "nearly one in five women in the United States have experienced rape or attempted rape sometime in their lives."

The Casper Police Department is working to ensure that the women of Natrona County feel safe, feel seen, and feel heard.

"The Casper Police Department Victim Services Unit is here to support and assist victims of sexual violence," the post stated. "If you, or someone you know, needs assistance, please call the Victim Service Unit at (307)235-8347 or Dispatch at (307)235-8279."

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, and you need somebody to talk to, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). 

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