Raleigh, NC Apr 4, 2022 More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To raise awareness and continue educating North Carolinians on this prevalent issue, Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. "We stand with survivors of sexual assault, and we're focused on supporting them with the resources they need," said Governor Cooper. "Let's continue to raise awareness and educate communities to prevent future incidents." By definition, sexual violence is any unwanted physical, or verbal advances including sexual abuse, harassment and assault. According to the NC Department of Administration’s Council for Women and Youth Involvement, state funded rape crisis centers provided remote or in-person services to approximately 11,094 individuals between July 2020 and June 2021, including 2,364 children under the age of 18. “Sexual violence occurs more often than we know,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “It is important that we continue to focus on this issue, teach North Carolinians how to prevent sexual violence within our communities and provide resources to support survivors.” Marginalized communities, which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, are often at higher risk for experiencing sexual violence due to limited access to services and support. Studies have shown that sexual violence is not only taxing emotionally and physically for the victim, often leading to anxiety and depression, but financially draining as well. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the lifetime cost of rape or attempted rape per victim is $122,461 nationwide and includes short- and long-term physical and mental health treatments, as well as loss of work productivity for the victim, property loss or damage and criminal justice costs. Recognizing the impact, Governor Cooper issued an executive directive in October 2019 to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, permitting state employees in cabinet agencies to use earned leave for “safe days” to escape and recover from violence. “Adopting policies such as the one issued by Governor Cooper supporting survivors of sexual violence and continuing to educate communities about consent and available resources will help reduce the rate of sexual violence within our state,” said Council for Women and Youth Involvement Director Danielle Carman. As an advocate for women and children, the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement is committed to spreading awareness on critical issues such as sexual violence and providing funding to domestic violence and sexual assault programs across the state that offer counseling, shelter, and advocacy for victims. For a directory of domestic violence and sexual assault providers funded by the Council for Women and Youth Involvement, visit their website. About NCDOA and the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement The NC Department of Administration acts as the business manager for North Carolina state government. Under the leadership of Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell, the department oversees government operations and advocacy programs. The department's advocacy programs help to promote and assist diverse segments of the state's population that have been traditionally underserved. NCDOA’s Council for Women and Youth Involvement division advises the governor, state legislators and state leaders on issues that impact women and youth.