April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention month
April is the month that spring breaks forth, trees are budding, flowers are blooming; and the thoughts of a carefree summer and/or vacation time is just around the corner.
But, the other truth is released through newspapers, billboards and a variety of other media outlets that April is known for “Sexual Assault Awareness” along with “Child Abuse Prevention” month. This is a time when agencies unify to promote the prevention of these tragic events that say every 98 seconds a sexual assault occurs in the United States, according to Safe Place Sexual Assault Center, a division of Safe Passage, Inc.
You are being encouraged to become a part of the effort to bring awareness to the blight of abuse on our society that is destructive to all those involved. Sexual assault is a long, emotional process for a survivor and their loved ones. Sometimes it takes years for people to come forward and then they run the risk of not being believed. Believe survivors. Rape is never acceptable. The scars from any form of sexual violence can leave the survivor with psychological, emotional and physical effects that can last a lifetime.
Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel will be presenting at the 2019 Crimes Against Women Conference in Dallas, TX, next week. He had this to say, “Sexual assault has been and is a problem in Ripley County, our state and nationwide. Law enforcement and prosecutors must continue to collaborate with the medical profession and victim advocates to protect victims of sexual assault while holding offenders accountable at the same time. Ripley County prosecutors have worked with Safe Passage and its advocates for several years toward this end and will continue to do so.”
According to Sarah Molter, advocate and prevention specialist with Safe Place, “consent is one piece of the puzzle in helping reduce sexual violence.” Consent is when two parties (adults) agree to a particular sexual activity. Consent is clear and concise. It should never be confused with it’s okay for one partner, but not the other at any time they are together. Molter asks the community, family and friends to come together about the importance of “consent”. No, means no.
They are asking everyone to wear denim on April 24, which has been hailed as Wear Denim Day. This campaign was born out of an Italian Supreme Court’s decision where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent.
Safe Place Sexual Assault Center is committed to offering hope, healing and empowerment for survivors of sexual violence in Southeastern Indiana. They also offer education and prevention services to the community. They provide advocacy, support groups and resources to those who have been sexually assaulted anytime in their life. Their services are free of charge and the HelpLine is available 24/7 at 812-932-7233 (SAFE).
Remember, there is no timetable for trauma.
Child Abuse Prevention
As the spring flowers bloom, those from Indiana Department of Child Services remind the public that children who are in their years of formation, are being abused and neglected at an alarming rate. Known as “Indiana’s most vulnerable youth” children who fall in the category of victims of child abuse are going through a struggle those who have not experienced it sometimes find hard to understand.
The Indiana Department of Child Services encourages the help of everyone to prevent abuse and neglect. What can one person do? If you suspect abuse or neglect, don’t be afraid to call the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-800-5556. It could be as simple as reaching out to parents you know to offer a helping hand or support. Volunteer time to programs that help parents. Let all of the children in your life know that they can depend on you.
An event is being planned at the Tyson Activity Center located at 100 N. High Street in Versailles on Thursday, April 25 from 5-7 p.m. This will be a night of family fun and advocacy for children. There will be games such as ring toss, tin can knock down, duck pond and more. Guest speakers will be talking about their own experiences in the child welfare system and how the community can assist in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Come out to Tyson Activity Center. Show area children you care. Several agencies, people, churches, etc. work together to bring awareness to light. Come to the event on April 25 and show your support.