Editorial - It's time to unite against sexual assaultHow much do you know about sexual assault? Hopefully, a lot more after this month.
How much do you know about sexual assault?
Hopefully, a lot more after this month.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and local groups, businesses and organizations are making a good effort to get the word out.
Sexual assault, according to Someplace Safe, is any forced or unwanted sexual contact or activity involving a person that does not or cannot consent. It may also involve verbal or visual behaviors or any type of pressure designed to force or coerce someone to join in unwanted sexual activity.
Nationally, sexual assault is the most unreported crime with less than a third of all assaults being reported to law enforcement. The danger may be more real, and close to home, than you think. About 90 percent of the victims know their offenders and they’re typically family members, friends or acquaintances.
The Someplace Safe outreach in Douglas County recently received support – donations of quilts, hats, scarves, blankets, paper goods, clothing, household items and more – that’s worth highlighting. Companies like Tastefully Simple, Wal-Mart and Massmann Automation in Villard went the extra step of encouraging their employees to bring a donation to Someplace Safe.
More items are needed, including cleaning supplies, female hygiene items, size 3 and 4 diapers, gas cards in $10 or $15 amounts, copy paper, printer ink (21, 22, 57, 96 and 97), foods in snack pack sizes, laundry soap, dsh soap and cell phones. To help, call (320) 762-1995.
Starting on Monday, April 19, an art exhibit, Creative HOPE, will be on display at the Douglas County Library to heighten public awareness about crime victims and their rights and to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Anyone can submit art, especially individuals or artists who have been victims of crime or who have artwork relating to the impact of crime and violence, according to Someplace Safe. Submitted work may include literature such as poetry, short stories or essays, or visual arts such as drawings, paintings and sculptures.
In addition, Someplace Safe, with help from the Douglas County Sexual Assault Task Force, will host a community forum on sexual assault on Thursday, April 22 at the Douglas County Library starting at 6:30 p.m. The event will begin with a showing of a Twin Cities Public Television video, Stop Sexual Violence: Listen and Lead. It was put together by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Also, look for Someplace Safe’s free “Bloom into Awareness” flower seed packets that will be available at various locations throughout the county this month.
Remember that Someplace Safe advocates are available to speak to your organization, group, class or business about sexual assault awareness or other related topics. Call (320) 762-1995 for more information.
One way to defeat an enemy is to know him. That’s why it’s important for the entire community to support the efforts of Someplace Safe, to learn about the very real dangers of sexual assault – how to identify it, report it and stop it.