Statement from City Council President Sabina Matos

I am devastated to learn that a 15-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted in Donigian Park last night. Our city parks are meant to be refuges from city living, and a place of safety and comfort for kids and adults alike. Assault of any kind can have long-standing and devastating impacts on victims, and this is why every April I introduce a Resolution recognizing April as” Sexual Assault Awareness Month”.

I have been informed by the Providence Police Department that the victim and her family are being assisted by counselors from Day One and I am grateful to them, and for all they do to help victims of sexual assault. It is especially important for young people to seek help after an assault, as the silence only serves to do more harm than good. For reference, I would lead you to a compelling article from The New Yorker entitled “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma” by Junot Díaz.

I along with my colleagues am keeping this brave young woman in our prayers, and I am thankful that her brother and friends acted so quickly and that the police were on the scene so quickly.

Sexual assault is pervasive in the United States and the statistics from Day One are startling:

  • Every two minutes, somewhere in our country, some is sexually assaulted.
  • 44% of rape victims are under the age of 18, and 80% are under the age of 30.
  • 59% of sexual assaults go unreported.
  • One in five women will experience an attempted or completed rape while in college.

Sexual assault in Rhode Island:

  • One in eight women have been sexually assaulted during their lifetime.
  • Close to 9% of high school students reported that they had experienced sexual violence by someone they were dating or going out with in the last 12 months.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault there are services that can help:

Day One: Sexual Assault and Trauma Resource Center

401-421-4100

Hasbro Child Protection Program

401-444-3996

RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence

1-800-494-8100

Sojourner House

401-765-3232

Women’s Center of Rhode Island

401-867-2760

Woman & Infants Center for Women’s Medicine Follow-Up Clinic

401-453-7950

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