April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Letters to the Editor:

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. ACCESS, along with other community partners, provides resources to survivors of sexual assault. People of all gender identities, sexual orientations, race and ethnicities and cultural and economic backgrounds face the effects of sexual assault. Friends in our community deal with this reality daily and deserve access to safety, healing and empowerment.

This year, SAAM is celebrating its 19th anniversary. The theme for this year’s campaign, “I Ask,” helps empower all of us to put consent into practice and shares the message that asking for consent is a normal, and necessary, part of sex.

While rape and other forms of sexual assault are among the most under reported crimes, we know that one in five women and one in 67 men will be raped at some point in their lives. One in six boys and one in four girls will experience sexual assault before the age of 18. Our community must come together to prevent sexual violence and create change for the future.

Advocates at ACCESS will spend SAAM sharing creative ways to spread awareness and support through social media outreach, online panels and streaming watch parties. Follow our Facebook page, Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support (ACCESS), to be a part of SAAM in our community.

Currently, everyone is doing their best to practice social distancing due to COVID-19, but it’s important to remember that not everyone is safer at home. For some, it may mean being closer to an abuser and an increased risk of violence. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault and would like to seek out free and confidential support services, you can contact ACCESS at 1-800-203-3488.

About ACCESS Assault Care Center

ACCESS Assault Care Center addresses the roots and impacts of domestic and sexual violence through services that enhance safety, empower survivors, and promote understanding and social justice within our community. Services are free and confidential.

Tess Cody