(WAFB) - One in 16 women in the United States says their first sexual experience was forced or coerced, according to a recent study. The average age of that encounter is just 15 years old.
“It is normal, unfortunately,” said Racheal Hebert, President, and CEO of S.T.A.R, Sexual Trauma Awareness, and Response.
Findings from a study by The Journal of the American Medical Association say sexual experiences for thousands of women equal to rape when it’s not consensual.
That’s a realization Herbert said isn’t always easy. "A lot of times people don’t want to talk about it because they have this fear that if they acknowledge what happened, they won’t be able to recover,” Hebert said.
Before victims can recover, they need to understand what rape or sexual assault means and how to process it. S.T.A.R advocates explain many victims have been groomed by someone they were close to.
Hebert said some might have lingering questions about whether that encounter was okay.
The study shows that about 7 percent of women say that involuntary sexual encounter happened around 15 years old. That’s around the same age the Baton Rouge Police Department want families to consider learning self-defense techniques
Cpl. Wallace Britton with BRPD teaches women how to fight off would-be attackers."Mother and daughters will come in. Daughters going to college or just coming up age. They want to see that their daughters will be protected,” Cpl. Britton said.
The officer said half of the lesson is knowing the signs to look for in attackers, the other is how to fight them off. It’s all about prevention because when women least expect it, they can fall victim.
“Eighty-six percent of the time, if that person fights back, they avoid sexual assault. They avoid rape and possibly any further injury,” Britton said.
BRPD said if a situation seems weird, it probably is so, rely on intuition. A free self-defense class will be offered in the coming weeks at BRPD headquarters.