Recognizing Survivors While Continuing to Raise Awareness
| Representatives from agencies and organizations that assist survivors of sexual assault in chambers for the proclamation of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in King County.
Members were joined by the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC), the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence, King County Women’s Advisory Board, Mother Nation, Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS), Asian Counseling Referral Services (ACRS) and the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress the proclamation.
It is an issue that crosses ages and genders. One in four girls and one in six boys will experience it before they turn 18, and it occurs to one in five women and one in 16 men while attending college.
The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized April 2019 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in King County, recognizing those who have survived sexual assault and working to ensure that no one else will experience it.
Sexual assault is crime that 45 percent of women and 22 percent of men in this state report having experienced in their lifetime. That number increases for people of color, refugees, immigrants, LGBTQ and other marginalized community members, with one recent study showing that 94 percent of Native American women in Seattle report they have been sexually assaulted.
The King County Board of Health, chaired by Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, this month approved the creation of a Board of Health subcommittee that will focus on a public health approach to preventing sexual assault, domestic violence and missing and murdered indigenous women.
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.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month was created in 2001 as a means to bring together local communities in a concerted effort to stop sexual violence.
For more information on sexual assault prevention and on SAAM events in Washington, visit: www.kcsarc.org or www.endgv.org
“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is critically important in providing a much needed opportunity to educate society on the many misconceptions of assault and rape while addressing issues and cultural norms that allow these horrific crimes to persist. Unfortunately, too many of us have fallen victim or have known someone to have fallen victim to assault or rape. We must collectively and urgently do everything we can to eliminate rape and assault from happening so that one day no one has to identify as a victim or a survivor.”
--Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, prime sponsor of the proclamation
“Sexual assault remains distressingly prevalent in King County and affects everyone – women, men and children of all races and ethnicities. But survivors are increasingly seeking help and speaking out. Our government and community institutions are responding. King County supports programs and provides public safety services that help prevent sexual assault and find justice for survivors.”
--Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci
“This proclamation serves as a sad reminder of just how many victims there are of sexual assault. As a teacher, I taught the ‘Talking about Touching’ curriculum and talked about child abuse prevention training to help keep students safe. Additionally, through working in a drug rehab center, I had the opportunity to reinforce the importance of combatting sexual assault and educating our most vulnerable on this issue. Through increased awareness and prevention education, we can all help end sexual violence.”
--Councilmember Kathy Lambert
“Today we send a message that victims of sexual assault matter and are heard. Shining a light on this topic and helping victims find justice and closure is the reason I spearheaded an effort in 2015 to ensure all rape kits in King County were tested. These actions are just a few examples of how our government supports victims and takes sexual assault seriously.”
--Council Chair Rod Dembowski
“The trauma of sexual assault is something that no one should have to bear in silence. I hope that Sexual Assault Awareness Month will embolden victims of sexual violence to share their stories, seek help and healing, and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
--Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn
“This recognition is a reminder to the survivors of sexual assault, especially those who are in underserved populations or communities of color, there are resources available and people who are able to help. Don’t go through this alone, reach out, and people will be there.”
--Councilmember Larry Gossett
“As we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month in King County, it is important that we continue to work on ways to prevent this violence from happening in our communities. Sexual assault does not recognize gender or race, and information is crucial to bringing an end to this violence.”
--Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer
“We must continue to do everything we can to advocate for survivors and promote a healthy dialogue around sexual violence. Only by raising awareness and supporting those who are willing to speak out can we stamp out sexual assault once and for all.”
--Councilmember Joe McDermott
“The King County Women's Advisory Board (WAB) would like to extend a sincere thank you to Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles and the King County Council for their leadership in proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We recognize that the sexual assault awareness movement and the #metoo movement has been, and continues to be, led and championed by black women and women of color. This year the WAB looks forward to working with advocates, survivors and community members to develop recommendations to the King County Council to help prevent gender based violence and support survivors of gender-based violence in King County.”
--Sarah Reyneveld, King County Women's Advisory Board
“By declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and working alongside providers in these critical times, the King County Council sends a powerful message that sexual assault is not, and has never been, acceptable in this King County. We thank the Council for this important acknowledgement and for leading on behalf of all survivors in our community.”
--Alicia Glenwell, Policy and Special Projects Manager, Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence
“We are grateful to Executive Constantine and King County Council for their leadership and active engagement in Sexual Assault Awareness Month and KCSARC’s “Count Me In” campaign. When communities show they are standing up to sexual violence, it sends a healing signal to survivors: you count, your story matters.”
--King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) Executive Director Mary Ellen Stone
WHEREAS, in Washington State, 45 percent of women and 22 percent of men report having experienced sexual violence in their lifetime; and
WHEREAS, the risk is even higher for people of color, refugees, immigrants, and LGBTQ and other marginalized community members, with one recent study showing that 94 percent of Native American women in Seattle report they have been sexually assaulted; and
WHEREAS, in King County, more than 7,300 adults and children received specialized assistance from local organizations with programs to help sexual assault survivors last year; and
WHEREAS, the demand for services at the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center jumped 19 percent last year, reflecting the cultural shift that is taking place across the country that has prompted many survivors who had previously remained silent to speak up and seek the help they need to heal; and
WHEREAS, of the 4,888 individuals served by the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center in 2018, half were children, and nationally, one in five children under age 18 are sexually abused; and
WHEREAS, the negative impacts of sexual violence trauma on women, men, youth, and children include fear, concern for safety, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, injury, and missed work or school; and
WHEREAS, working together to educate our community about sexual violence, supporting survivors when they come forward, speaking out against harmful attitudes and actions, and preventing sexual violence helps to end sexual assault;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the King County Executive and the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim the month of April 2019 as
|SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH|
in King County and join with advocates and communities throughout the region in taking action to prevent sexual violence and commit to a safer future for all children, youth, adults, and families.
DATED this twenty-fourth day of April, 2019.