Rape is the silent scourge of America.

While a robbery occurs once every 42 minutes, and a murder occurs once every 33 minutes, a sexual assault occurs once every FIVE minutes in our country. Law enforcement does all it can to achieve justice for rape victims, while it has been, frankly, at a loss at finding ways to prevent it. Moreover, only 6 out of every 1,000 rapists ever see the inside of a jail cell because so many assaults go unreported, so it’s seemingly impossible to stem the tide. One out of every six women in our nation will be raped at some point in their lives, which is a statistic that does not belong in 21st century America.

Researchers and activists blame the silence and shame associated with rape for the one-two punch of a never-ending stream of victims and the embarrassingly low conviction rate of suspects. The problem is that rape has become more cultural than criminal. Rapists are empowered by the shame and the silence, while victims are told by society that rape is their fault because because they got too drunk, dressed too provocatively or behaved too promiscuously. It’s a generational disease whose only hope of a cure is a generational medicine.

It is with that in mind that the Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Association has launched this Website, in conjunction with an omnibus public information and training campaign aimed at changing the way the next generation thinks about rape and consent in a style that only law enforcement can achieve.

Consent Florida designed to enhance the training of all law enforcement officers using proven protocols and programs already in use by other Bay Area departments. In addition, the campaign will help spread the moral, ethical and legal concept of CONSENT to public school students, college students and Tampa Bay area residents in general through school resource officers and public service announcements.

The message of Consent Florida is easy to understand:

Yes = Consent

No = Rape

It’s That Simple.

By expanding existing resources, and raising funds to expand those resources exponentially, Consent Florida will help Tampa Bay build a stronger consent-based sexual culture by speaking authoritatively about the problem. Only by breaking the endless cycle of silence and shame can we hope the reduce the threat of sexual assault. Through Consent Florida, law enforcement can create a movement whose aim is to create a community that is safer and more secure — which is the core mission of law enforcement, after all.