Sexual Assault Awareness Month

To the editor:

On behalf of Sexual Assault Services of Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York, we write to remind our community that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s theme, “I Ask,” encourages folks in the area to be open to conversations about consent. It is our hope that new partners and community members will help foster attitudes that promote healthy relationships, equality and respect.

Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every nine minutes, that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only five out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison (www.rainn.org/statistics). We have the power to change that. Our actions, large 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 that contribute to sexual violence starts with believing victims/survivors of sexual violence when they share their stories. You can call out victim-blaming comments or rape jokes. Sexual assault is never the victim’s/survivor’s fault. Seemingly small actions like this make a critical impact.

Please engage this April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month by promoting awareness. Learn more about how you can use your voice to change the culture by contacting SAS at 518-561-0605 or check out www.nsvrc.org/saam.

We at SAS make it our mission to, above all else, believe, listen and support the victims/survivors we work with. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, please call our local hotline at 1-877-212-2323, where a Certified Rape Crisis Counselor can assist you 24/7 with supportive counseling, medical or law enforcement accompaniment and referrals.

With appreciation,

Shelli LaVoie

Sexual Assault Services regional

director of community engagement

Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York Inc.

Plattsburgh

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