URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Rape Advocacy Center and Educational Services (RACES) is celebrating its 50th anniversary serving Central Illinois.

They are the longest standing rape crisis center in the country.

“In reality, it happens to people of all different ages, races, socioeconomic status,” Jaya Kolisetty, executive director for RACES in Urbana said.

The month of April is sexual assault awareness month.

“It impacts people across the board, and quite frankly, it’s so prevalent,” Kolisetty said.

It’s so common across central Illinois that Kolisetty said that almost everyone knows a sexual assault survivor whether they know it or not.

“April is a good time to hone in on that, but it needs to be a part of the conversation throughout the year as well,” Kolisetty said.

Kolisetty said that somewhere between one in four and one in five women in Champaign County experience sexual assault, and somewhere between one in 13 to 1 in 33 men experience sexual assault, which is similar to national rates.

Thankfully, RACES is taking steps to educate people about sexual violence and how to prevent it.

“One of the things we’re doing is we’re hosting a darkness to lights stewards of children training, that’s a prevention training for adults,” Kolisetty said.

Kolisetty said that sexual violence happens to children more often than is recognized, and sometimes, children don’t always speak up about their assault.

“How do we make sure we are a part of creating a safer environment for children, so we are preventing sexual violence before it occurs,” Kolisetty said.

The class she is referencing is April 11, and adults and parents are encouraged to sign up. RACES offers free counseling and also serves Douglass and Piatt County.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, you can call the crisis number at 217-384-4444, and for all emergencies contact 911.