April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center released the following statistics:
- Every 98 seconds someone in the United States is sexually assaulted
- 1 in 5 women have been raped
- 1 in 33 men have been raped
What is it about the world we live in that allows for sexual violence to exist and at an epidemic level? Answer: Rape culture.
Rape culture is embedded in our society, and lives in our communities. Its pervasiveness reaches the shows and movies we watch, the music we listen to, where we socialize, on the streets, at school and where we work.
More often than not, it’s situations in which sexual assault, rape and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized or made into jokes. So how do we as a society perpetuate rape culture? When 994 out of 1,000 perpetrators walk free, when someone is assaulted every 98 seconds, when entertainers and individuals joke about rape, when men feel entitled to verbally and physically assault women, when men who are victims are ridiculed and dismissed, when we don’t believe or support victims…. That is rape culture!!
To truly commit to the eradication of sexual violence from our communities, we must address the root cause, and why it happens. Community members can work to prevent sexual violence by establishing healthy and positive relationships that are based on respect, safety, and equality. You can be a part of the solution by:
- Being a role model for respectful behavior to those around you
- Talking with your children about healthy sexual development and personal boundaries
- Intervene and speak up when you see inappropriate behavior
- Report suspected child abuse. Know what to do if you or someone you know suspects a child may be being abused
- Educate yourself
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY on April 30th at 5:00 p.m. at Bay College – Fornetti Hall for a Candlelight Vigil and Appreciation Ceremony hosted by Caring House.
Together with us, you can demonstrate your support for those impacted by sexual violence as well as acknowledging those who strive to pursue justice for victims.
We will be showing our appreciation for our area’s law enforcement departments and special tributes will be paid to the following for their outstanding dedication:
- Dickinson County Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Richards
- Dickinson County Chief Assistance Prosecutor Kristin Kass
- Kingsford Public Safety Officer Richard Wright
- Kingsford Public Safety Officer Ryan Pericolosi, and
- Niagara Police Officer Angie Moreau
Guest speakers will be the Honorable Judge Christopher Ninomiya and the Honorable Judge Thomas Slagle, with special music performed by local youth and a Healing Art Display. Refreshments will be served.