Recognizing survivors and raising awareness to stop sexual violence
Recognizing those who have survived sexual assault and working to ensure that no one else falls victim to it, the Metropolitan King County Council today recognized April 2011 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in King County.
“Sexual Assault Awareness Month gives us an opportunity to educate our community about this ongoing social problem,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “We also need to acknowledge the good work that many local organizations do everyday to stop sexual violence, and most importantly, help victims.”
“This is an opportunity to shed light on something affecting far too many in our community and that is too often is kept in the dark, with survivors afraid to speak out or seek assistance,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Even during these challenging times with our County Budget, King County continues to be committed to providing the survivors of these heinous acts the resources they need.”
“Ending the silence around sexual assault is critical for reducing sexual violence in our community and getting help for sexual assault survivors,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “Sexual Assault Awareness Month is also an opportunity to highlight resources like the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, and the great work they do in King County.”
Sexual Assault Awareness Month was created in 2001 as a means to bring together local communities in a concerted effort to stop sexual violence. According to a study by the Victim Center and the Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center, more than one-third of all women in Washington State have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
“This recognition serves as a reminder to perpetrators that sexual assault is not acceptable under any circumstances, and they will be prosecuted,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who serves as vice chair of the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “We also can remind victims that sexual violence is not their fault, and they should seek help to escape abuse and to heal. It is time to ‘end the silence’ on sexual assault.”
“The number of women who experience sexual assault in their lifetime is alarming,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “Acknowledging the scope of the problem is important to our goal of ending sexual violence.”
Last year, the Council was able to preserve some funds for organizations that deal directly with victims of sexual assault in the 2011 King County Budget. Organizations that received money included the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KSARC) and the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress. The Council was joined by the Directors for both organizations—KSARC’s Mary Ellen Stone and Lucy Berliner of Harborview—for today’s recognition.
WHEREAS, Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a time for us to reflect on how sexual assault affects everyone in our communities and to take action to stop sexual assault; and
WHEREAS, approximately one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually assaulted before the age of 18, and more than one-third of all women in Washington State have been sexually assaulted during their lifetime; and
WHEREAS, a significant part of the trauma that sexual assault victims face is the shame and stigma associated with the crime, and it is our responsibility to hold offenders, not survivors, accountable; and
WHEREAS, we commend the difficult work that many non-profit and human service organizations undertake to help survivors of sexual assault; and
WHEREAS, every person has the power to create change and can make a difference towards ending sexual violence; and
WHEREAS, as a community, we cannot afford to remain silent about this devastating and harmful crime;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim April 2011 as
SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH
in King County and call on all county residents to work together to eliminate cases of sexual assault.
DATED this fourth day of April, 2011.
Lucy Berliner, Director of the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress and King County Sexual Assault Resource Center Director Mary Ellen Stone joined Councilmembers after the Council proclaimed April Sexual Assault Awareness Month in King County.
For more information on SAAM events in Washington, click here