WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced a bipartisan resolution to commemorate April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month serves as an opportunity to call attention to the heinous crime of sexual assault and the need to change the culture surrounding it,” said Ernst. “We won’t tolerate sexual assault in our gyms, on college campuses, in the military, or in our middle and high schools. Sexual assault has absolutely no place anywhere in our society. Together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I will continue working to prevent sexual assault from happening in the first place, empower survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”

“Many survivors of sexual violence suffer from severe and lasting challenges, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Sadly, the traumatic experience can even lead to suicide,” said Grassley. “This resolution brings greater awareness to the problem of sexual assault and publicly acknowledges the survivors of such horrible crimes.”

“Sexual assault is an epidemic in this country—one in five women are raped at some point during their lives," said Feinstein. "But too often, the scope of the problem is hidden because women feel too ashamed to come forward and don’t trust that they will be believed. I’ve seen this firsthand over the past several months working with gymnasts whose allegations of sexual abuse were missed by people in positions of authority. Congress has an obligation to help raise awareness of sexual assault to help victims feel comfortable coming forward and stop this epidemic.”

A sexual assault is committed every 98 seconds in the United States according to law enforcement statistics. Sexual assault can take many forms, including rape, commercial sex trafficking, child sexual abuse and stalking. Each horrific instance of sexual assault can have profound and lasting consequences for victims.

The resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that National Sexual Assault Awareness Month provides an important opportunity to acknowledge survivors of sexual assault, educate the public about sexual violence, and commend the volunteers and professionals who assist survivors in their efforts to heal. The resolution also commends public safety, law enforcement and health professionals for their hard work and innovative strategies to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators.

The United States first observed National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month on April 1, 2001.

Click here to read more about Senator Ernst’s efforts to combat sexual assault.