Preventing sexual violence starts with recognizing disparities, advocates say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Women’s Center of Jacksonville, representatives from the State Attorney’s Office and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office came together Tuesday to educate the public on preventing sexual violence in their communities.

Those efforts, they say, begin with recognizing that inequities exist in areas of sexual violence.

Data from the National Violence Resource Center shows that 1 in every 3 Hispanic women have unwanted sexual contact in their life, 1 in 4 Black women are raped in their lifetime, 47% of transgender people have been sexually assaulted in their life and 33% of adults with intellectual disabilities will face sexual violence in their lifetime.

“Particularly in our communities of color, we have less reporting of individuals coming forward when we know those assaults are occurring,” said Teresa Miles, executive director of the Women’s Center of Jacksonville. “And some of it is a fear of the disproportionate justice system at times. And then also when you look at sexual violence, it’s often a crime of isolation, so you don’t have witnesses -- so individuals have a fear of coming forward and not being believed, and we know that historically that is the case.”

Miles said anyone who has challenges in the community -- from marginalized people to individuals with disabilities -- needs extra support.

Resources for survivors and their families

  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline, 24 hours, call 1-800-656-4673.
  • Duval County: Women’s Center of Jacksonville’s 24-hour rape crisis hotline: 904-721-7273. More info, click here.
  • Sexual abuse survivors in the Jacksonville area can get resources through Jewish Family & Community Services (JFCS), call 904-448-1933 or email
  • Clay County: Quigley House Crisis Hotline (24/7) 904-284-0061, visit for more information or contact the Sheriff’s Office at 904-264-6512 or 911.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad