During the month of April, many local and national events will take place in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In the late 1990’s national lawmakers adopted a resolution designating the month of April each year as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of the month-long event is to coordinate nationwide efforts to educate and promote understanding about sexual assault and its prevention.
The theme for SAAM 2010 is “Preventing Sexual Violence on Our Campuses.” Cerro Coso in both Inyo and Mono counties will join Wild Iris in presenting the Eastern Sierra Clothesline Project and viewing of a video presentation on sexual violence. The event will be at the Bishop Campus on April 15 from 4 – 7 p.m and at the Mammoth Campus on April 22 from 3 – 7 p.m.
Also, Denim Day is on April 21. Any agency, business or individual who would like to participate in this global campaign are invited contact Wild Iris for more information and promotional material. Wearing jeans on April 21 serves as a symbol of protest against harmful attitudes about sexual assault.
It is our hope that through these efforts we as a community are better able to address the issue of sexual assault prevention and to provide support to the survivors of sexual violence and their families throughout the healing process.
It is estimated that one in six women and one in thirty-three men in America have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her or his lifetime with 15 percent of these victims being children under 12 years old. Another staggering statistic is 93 percent of juvenile victims know their attacker and identified him or her as either a family member or an acquaintance.
Though the incidence of reported sexual assault in Inyo and Mono counties remains low, it is important to remember that sexual violence is the most under-reported crime in America, and throughout the world. According to US Department of Justice, 2005, only about 40 percent of survivors ever report the violent crime of rape to law enforcement with males being the least likely to report a sexual assault although they make up about 10 percent of all victims. It is through public awareness campaigns such as SAAM that we will be able to reduce the stigma associated with sexual assault, thereby removing the greatest barrier to justice and healing for the survivors; the courage to report the crime and pursue a conviction.
SAAM is also a time to encourage the public to take active steps to address sexual violence. Lynne Rounds, Sexual Assault Prevent Program Manager says, “No one person or organization can eliminate sexual assault. The choice to stop sexual violence begins with the individual, extends to the community and gains momentum until the goal is reached at a national and global level.”
“If every person in Inyo and Mono counties chooses to take part in at least one initiative during April, the impact will be profound. A survivor may feel more safe speaking up and will know that she or he is supported by a community that takes a stand against sexual violence in all its forms.” The hope is that a month of intensified awareness efforts will bring us closer to ending sexual assault.
Wild Iris appreciates the support of local and county-wide governments in proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We join rape crisis centers statewide, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center in helping free our communities of sexual violence. – Wild Iris Press Release
If you observe anyone in immediate danger, call 911.
Wild Iris 24 Hour Crisis Hotline: 1-877-873-7384