Fact: One in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, according to RAINN.

Fact: One in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.


Recently, I participated in a breast cancer awareness event. I was joined by over 11,500 other participants and 5,000 spectators. It was a spectacular, emotional event, raising millions of dollars for the cause. Both men and women participated in the event, many donning pink t-shirts symbolizing they had survived breast cancer. Others walked with signs in remembrance of loved ones who had succumbed to the disease. It was truly a remarkable event.

As I walked amongst the many thousands, it dawned on me that, statistically speaking, an American woman has a greater chance of being raped than developing breast cancer, yet, we would never see thousands of rape victims participating in a similar event for rape awareness, let alone carrying signs disclosing victims. Why not? Because of the stigma attached to rape — or, as I refer to it — the silient epidemic.

Rape is a crime motivated by the need to control, humiliate and harm. It is not motivated by sexual desire. Rapists use sex as a way to dominate and hurt others. Moreover, perpetrators of sexual violence often plan their crimes.

Sexual violence violates a person's trust, ability to care for themselves and feeling of safety. Sexual violence can be defined as any time a person is forced, coerced and/or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. The range of sexual violence includes rape, incest, child sexual abuse, date and acquaintance rape, statutory rape, marital or partner rape, sexual exploitation, sexual contact and sexual harassment.

Many times, victims of sexual violence blame themselves for the assault. There are many myths in our society which reinforce how a victim is somehow partly (or fully) responsible for being sexually violated.

About 68 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police. Some of the reasons for not reporting, delayed reporting and/or withdrawal of complaints include not being able to label coercive sex as sexual assault, failure to identify acquaintance rape as rape, fear that no one will believe him/her, fear of being blamed for the assault, concerned that he/she will not be treated fairly, inability to tell the whole story to police, fear he/she will be blamed due to use of alcohol or drugs, fear of family or anyone knowing, fear of his/her name being made public by social or news media, and/or fear of retaliation.

In FY2015, Rape Crisis Intervention Service processed 320 hotline calls, provided 245 individual and group therapy sessions and provided 31 accompaniments. We also processed more than 700 units of service during the same time period.

We do not charge of our confidential services. Anyone can call our 24-hour crisis hotline at 410-857-7322 and check out our web site www.rapecrisiscc.org for more information. Please "like" us on Facebook: RCIS of Carroll County.

We are here to help the victims of this horrific, silent epidemic.

Janice Kispert, is the CEO of Rape Crisis Intervention Service (RCIS) of Carroll County. Reach her at ceo@rapecrisiscc.org.

Nonprofit View

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times will publish a column from a local nonprofit, allowing it to share information about its organization and the issues facing it. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line "Nonprofit View."