S.F. Walks for Rape Awareness

It’s nearly the close of Rape Awareness Month, an official designation by President Barack Obama.

On Saturday, San Francisco residents will gather for a festival in Dolores Park to raise awareness about rape. The annual event, hosted by San Francisco Women Against Rape, kicks off with an organized walk from Justin Herman Plaza and ends at the park.

During our coverage of a rape in the Mission District that occurred this month, Mission Loc@l reported on some myths about rape, and resources available for victims. San Francisco police know of 38 rapes in the city this year as of March 28, but it’s impossible to know how many people suffer.

“Rape is markedly underreported,” said Jon Dean Green, division administrator for San Francisco General Hospital’s Division of Psycho-Social Medicine, which includes the Trauma Recovery and Rape Treatment Centers. “Some people, after it happens, think, ‘I just want to get past this, get it behind me.’ No two people look exactly alike. One may see counseling and another may just go to a physician to make sure she doesn’t get an STD or get pregnant.”

About 63 percent of rape victims don’t report it, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. As a result, most rapists face no legal punishment. But for felony rape cases that do go to trial, about 70 percent result in conviction.

So far this year the San Francisco District Attorney’s office has filed 16 new cases, according to Connie Chan, deputy director of communications. They also have a victim services unit that’s dedicated to helping victims of crimes with a range of issues, from child care to transportation assistance. Their office is working with 29 new victims of violence this year, she said.

In addition to many nonprofit services, victims can apply for the city’s Victim Compensation Fund, which can provide money to help cover expenses related to the crime, such as medical costs.

Marchers will gather at Justin Herman Plaza at 10 a.m. and walk to Dolores Park for the noontime festival.

Anne Bassette over at Yo! TV covered the 2007 event, which included a hip-hop dance troupe, spoken word artist and lots of balloons.

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