Startling statistics have just been shared by the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS).
According to a research survey conducted in 2019, an estimated 43% of Albertans have experienced some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime.
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The survey was completed by 1,500 respondents from various parts of Alberta and found that 45% of adult respondents had experienced sexual assault — when paired with the 34% prevalence rate of childhood sexual abuse, AASAS estimated that around 1.8 million Albertans have, at some point in their life, been sexually abused.
“With an estimated 1.8 million individuals in Alberta experiencing sexual abuse in their lifetime, this research shows us that sexual abuse is a health and safety issue of epidemic proportions,” said Debra Tomlinson, CEO of AASAS, in the release.
“Albertans have a strong history of coming together to help each other in times of need. People who experience sexual abuse are our family members, our friends, and our colleagues. And each and every one of us has a role to play in ensuring survivors get support.”
Of the adult respondents, two-thirds of females had reported experiences of sexual abuse while it was one-third for males respondents.
The survey found that 44% of females had experienced sexual abuse when they were under the age of 18, as well as 24% of males — the release also noted that most incidences of child sexual abuse were not committed by strangers to the children, but were most likely committed by a male who was known to the survivor.
Survivors were commonly between six and 11 years old when they were first abused, according to the release.
When looking at sexual abuse into adulthood, 28% of respondents stated that they had experienced sexual assault when they were over 18. A total of 41% of female respondents experienced this compared to 17% of males.
“In order to combat gender-based violence it is important that we understand the landscape in which we stand,” said Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism, and Status of Women, Leela Sharon Aheer, in the release.
“It is heartbreaking that so many Albertans are impacted by abuse and violence in all forms. Our government will utilize this current and long overdue information as we move forward in cooperation with community organizations to inform how best to make an impact, support survivors, and end gender-based violence together.”
The report also found that two out of three respondents (67%) personally knew a survivor, while 57% believed sexual assault to be an issue and 40% stated that there is still not enough support offered for survivors.
The full report can be found at AASAS’ website.