In the next two minutes, someone in this country will become a victim of a sexual assault. Nearly 13,000 assaults were reported last year in Florida and experts estimate six times as many may have gone unreported.
The Florida Department of Health hopes a new keychain will get young people talking about how to protect themselves and their friends. At least one of every six college women has been raped by someone she knows. The crime often starts in a nightclub where the victim gets drunk or drugged.
The Florida Department of Health is passing out calling card keychains to fight the problem. You get 15 minutes of calling time, plus a 30-second message with tips on keeping yourself safe and who to call if you need help.
We showed the keychains to college students Nathan Pahl and Whitney Jeffrey.
Whitney says, “I think it’s a good idea. I’ve never heard of it, but it seems pretty neat.”
Nathan adds, “I’ve heard of guys trying to use date rape drugs. Not anyone that I really know, but just the fact [that] you hear it around; there’s the liquid stuff they put in the girl’s drink.”
The keychains are part of a public service campaign to fight sexual violence. Last year’s effort included cocktail napkins at popular nightspots warning you to watch your drink.
The Florida Department of Health thought a keychain would be particularly effective with young people because they’re always on the go and it’s a good conversation piece, and the whole goal of the awareness campaign is getting people to talk about the problem of rape.
Spokeswoman Nancy Humbert says every time you reach for your keys, you think about prevention.
“You’re on your way to a game and it’s a natural for youth to be chatting with each other and if you have an important message right there in front of you, what better way to start conversation?”
Fifty thousand keychains are going out to campuses and crisis centers around the state.
Eighty percent of sexual assaults occur while either the victim or the attacker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For more information on protecting yourself or to get help, call toll-free: 1-888-956-RAPE.