Everyone has a role in ending sexual assault

To the editor:

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s theme, “Engaging New Voices,” builds on the idea that we are stronger together, and that new partners and community members are needed to expand sexual assault prevention efforts. We can all help the next generation foster attitudes that promote healthy relationships, equality and respect.

Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men are the victims of sexual assault (Black et al., 2011). We all have a role to play in preventing sexual violence in our community. Our actions, big and small, have a ripple effect on those we teach, guide, and influence. From modeling healthy behavior to addressing inappropriate conduct, everyone can make a difference.

Changing beliefs which contribute to sexual violence starts with believing survivors of sexual violence when they share their stories. You can help by calling out victim-blaming comments or rape jokes if you see them online. Remind those around you that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Seemingly small actions like this make critical impact.

Locally, The Abuse Network provides free and confidential services to victims of any type of sexual violence. The Abuse Network provides crisis counseling, victim advocacy and accompaniment, support groups, information and referral services and continues working toward

changing beliefs by educating children and adults to expand sexual assault prevention year round with free prevention education presentations.

Get engaged this April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Join us in embracing your role in ending sexual assault. Please call for further information and/or services 24 hours a day at (888) 810-2444 or 242-2444.

The Abuse Network