Sexual Assault month

Dear Editor,

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s theme, “Engaging New Voices,” builds on the idea that we are stronger together, and that new partners and community members are needed to expand sexual assault prevention efforts. We can all help the next generation foster attitudes that promote healthy relationships, equality, and respect.

Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men are victims of sexual assault (Black et al., 2011).

We all have a role to play in preventing sexual violence in our community. Our actions, big and small, have a ripple effect on those we teach, guide, and influence. From modeling healthy behavior to addressing inappropriate conduct, everyone can make a difference. Changing beliefs which contribute to sexual violence starts with believing survivors of sexual violence when they share their stories.

You can help by calling out victim-blaming comments or rape jokes if you see them online. Remind those around you that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Seemingly small actions like this make a critical impact. Get engaged this April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Join us in embracing your role in ending sexual assault. Learn more about how you can use your voice to change the culture at www.nsvrc.org/saam.

Below are statistics regarding the number of victims of sexual assault Crisis Intervention Service helped in 2016 in North Iowa – Mitchell, 55, Floyd, 203, Worth, 34, Cerro Gordo, 729, Hancock, 51 and Winnebago, 114.

The Mitchell County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), formed in 2012, consists of Osage Police Department, St. Ansgar Police Department, Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office, Mitchell County Hospital and Crisis Intervention Service. The SART team identifies barriers that keep sexual assault survivors from seeking services and works to overcome those barriers through its sensitive, survivor-centered approach.

To help bring awareness to sexual assault, the Mitchell County SART is hosting an awareness campaign called “Hear Me, My Voice, My Choice.”

Everyone is invited to gather at 12:30 p.m., April 18, at Osage City Hall. There the mayor will read the proclamation against sex assault and everyone is invited to join us for a short walk around Main Street to show support and raise awareness of sexual assault. Signs will be available.

Contact erin@cishelps.org with questions.

Erin Myers

Osage, Iowa

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