County Council recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month
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 2018 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in King County.
“I remain inspired by the countless survivors who speak up and speak out about sexual assault, and hope we can play a small part in turning the tide against a culture of violence towards safety, respect and empowerment,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott. “Recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month annually is an important step in that effort, and services and organizations like KCSARC are vital pillars of that work moving forward together in our region.”
“We as a community and as a county must not stop doing everything we can to stop sexual violence in all of its forms,” said King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, District Four and co-sponsor of the proclamation. “For us to be successful, we have to do a better job at raising awareness of this pervasive issue so we can prevent assaults from happening and create a culture where victims feel comfortable coming forward to report what has happened without feeling shame.”
“For a very long time, sexual assault was something we didn’t talk about. Survivors have been kept silent—by the fear of their attacker, by the fear of not being believed, by the fear of being told it was their fault,” said Councilmember Claudia Balducci. “But today, we see so many people speaking up and speaking out. Now more than ever, we have a chance to come together as a community to prevent sexual assault.”
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 Assault Awareness Month was created in 2001 as a means to bring together local communities in a concerted effort to stop sexual violence.
“We can all help stop sexual violence which is why I am a strong proponent of awareness and prevention education,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert.” My work as a teacher and in a drug rehab center reinforced the importance of combatting sexual assault as it has far-reaching impacts. We should take every opportunity to educate people to make them aware of this issue and how to take precautions.”
“Survivors of sexual assault should not believe they are alone, that there this is no one to assist them through what has happened,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “Sadly, too many who have had this happen to them believe they are alone. I hope by promoting Sexual Assault Awareness Month survivors are one step closer to connecting to the resources they need.”
Information is vital in preventing sexual violence. Agencies such as the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) and the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence 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.
“We are at a critical point in history, with a unique opportunity to build on the progress that has been made to raise awareness and highlight the support services available that serve a critical role in helping survivors in our community,” said Alicia Glenwell, Policy and Special Projects Manager for the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence. “We thank the Council, for not only the recognition, but for their help in getting this vital message out.”
| Front Row: (l-r) Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Alicia Glenwell Policy and Special Projects Manager, Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence, Mary Ellen Stone, Director of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, Councilmembers Joe McDermott and Larry Gossett.
Back Row (l-r) Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer,
Idabelle Fosse, Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence,
Councilmembers Claudia Balducci, Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn.
WHEREAS, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it; and
WHEREAS, this year’s theme, “embrace your voice,” endeavors to help individuals, communities, and businesses understand how they can take action to promote safety, respect, and equality to prevent sexual assault before it happens; and
WHEREAS, every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States, and every 8 minutes, that victim is a child; and
WHEREAS, only 6 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison; and
WHEREAS, in 2006, Tarana Burke founded the “Me Too” movement to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low-wealth communities, find pathways to healing; and
WHEREAS, according to a 2016 National Institute of Justice report, 84% of Native American and Alaskan Native women have experienced violence, 56% have experienced sexual violence, and over 90% have experienced violence at the hands of a non-tribal member; and
WHEREAS, accredited sexual assault resource centers provided services to 6,657 adults and children in King County in 2017, even though many survivors do not seek services; and
WHEREAS, all people can serve an active role in ending sexual assault and violence by learning about prevention, supporting survivors, and speaking out against harmful attitudes and actions;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, hereby proclaim April 2018 as
|SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH|
in King County and invite all residents to become agents of change in how we talk about sexual violence and join advocates in sending our strong support to survivors.
DATED this twenty-third day of April, 2018.