Council recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month
| Councilmembers are joined by those working to increase awareness
of sexual assault after the Council proclaimed April 2017
Sexual Assault Awareness Month in King County
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 2017 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in King County.
“Preventing sexual assault requires changing harmful beliefs through conversation with friends, family and communities,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott, a co-sponsor of the recognition. “Organizations like the King County Sexual Assault Resource center do important work every day advocating for victims and promoting a healthy dialogue around sexual violence.”
“As a teacher, I taught the ‘Talking about Touching’ curriculum to help students keep safe. Having also worked in a drug rehab center taught me a great deal about those who experience sexual assault. No one is immune,” said recognition co-sponsor Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “These are some of the reasons why I’m a strong proponent of awareness and prevention education. We can all help stop sexual violence.”
Sexual assault is an issue that crosses ages and genders. One in four girls and one in six boys will experience a sexual assault before the age of 18 and one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while attending college.
“Sexual violence is a nationwide problem, so widespread that the Center for Disease Control has determined that sexual violence poses a public health crisis,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “Awareness is necessary for prevention and intervention of sexual assault, and support for survivors living with shame and stigma, but we must also create a change in our culture by identifying and interrupting norms and behaviors perpetuating this crisis. In doing so, we must focus on age-appropriate awareness, from early years, through K-12 schooling, and on college campuses.”
“Too many of us know someone who has been a victim of sexual assault. That person may be a friend, relative or colleague and he or she may or may not have made the assault public, but the tragedy of sexual assault is pervasive in Washington, the United State and the world,” said Councilmember Claudia Balducci. “I am proud to join the sponsors, Councilmembers McDermott Lambert, in supporting this proclamation because bringing awareness to sexual assault is one step in making girls and boys and women and men safe everywhere.”
Sexual Assault Awareness Month was created in 2001 as a means to bring together local communities in a concerted effort to stop sexual violence.
“This is a continuing effort 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 Councilmember Larry Gossett. “King County remains committed to providing the survivors of these heinous acts the resources they need.”
Information is vital in preventing sexual violence. Agencies such as the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP), and Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress (HCSATS) work on making people aware of the impact of sexual violence and encouraging everyone to be “part of the solution” in stopping it.
“Raising awareness about the prevalence and impact of sexual assault is vital, and SAAM helps us start conversations, give tools to our residents who may have been impacted, and begin the important work of preventing sexual violence in our community,” said KCSARC Executive Director Mary Ellen Stone.
“It was an honor to be the voice today for the Native American/ Alaska Native people who are disproportionally represented in the numbers of people affected by sexual violence,” said Judy Johnston with the Cowlitz Tribal Health Pathways to Healing Program. “Today represents one more conversation to be had, one more place of support to be found, and one more voice to be heard in the efforts to end sexual violence.”
“At the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, we are grateful that the King County Council is declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month again this year,” said HCSATS Director Lucy Berliner. “This awareness encourages more victims to come forward sooner so that victims can get justice and the care needed for recovery.”
For more information on sexual assault prevention and on SAAM events in Washington, visit: www.wcsap.org/BeTheSolution or www.kcsarc.org
WHEREAS, rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment harm our community, and statistics show that one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives; and
WHEREAS, child sexual abuse prevention must be a priority to confront the reality that one in four girls and one in six boys will experience a sexual assault before the age of 18; and
WHEREAS, young people experience heightened rates of sexual violence, and youth aged 12-17 were two and a half times as likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault; and
WHEREAS, on college campuses, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while attending college; and
WHEREAS, we must work together to educate our community about sexual violence prevention, supporting survivors, and speaking out against harmful attitudes and actions; and
WHEREAS, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to call attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and impacts every person in this community; and
WHEREAS, prevention is possible when everyone gets involved, we work together to educate our community about sexual violence prevention, support survivors, and speak out against harmful attitudes and actions;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, hereby proclaim April 2017 as
|SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH
in King County and join advocates and communities across the country to create a safer environment for all.
DATED this tenth day of April, 2017.