JACKSONVILLE, N.C (WNCT) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Tuesday marks the Annual Day Of Action.  

More than half of women and nearly 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.  

“[Sexual violence] is any unwanted sexual, physical, verbal or visual act that forces someone to have sexual contact against his or her will,” said the Court/Sexual Assault Advocate at the Onslow Womens Center, Tony Edmison. 

It’s an ongoing issue across the country and the local numbers speak for themselves.  

“One to two [victims] a month, so it’s really hard to kind of judge how many happen in the area,” said Edmison. “And it doesn’t sound like a lot, but one is too many.” 

Both the Onslow Womens Center and the Carteret County Rape Crisis Program make it their mission to help these survivors every day. 

“There is no research to find the cure for sexual assault, there’s only awareness, education, and hopefully and communities’ prevention,” said the director of the Carteret County Rape Crisis Program, Dr. Gwen Roberts. 

Throughout the month, both organizations will be spreading the word about the services they provide to help reach more people in the community. 

“If they have that information on hand, we can quickly get services to a victim. And so, they don’t feel like they are alone and there isn’t any place to go,” said Roberts.  

Both organizations will have their “Take Back the Night” walks at the end of this month, as well as other local events to help raise awareness. 

You can find more information about Onslow Women’s Center here and the Carteret County Rape Crisis Program here.