OSWEGO, NY – April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).
This year’s campaign focuses on ways that individuals, communities, and the private sector can help prevent sexual violence.
This year, SAAM is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the theme “Prevention is Possible.”
According to the Nation Sexual Violence Resource Center, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the U.S. are victims of sexual assault.
Everyone understands that sexual violence impacts victims and their families, but the effects of this violent crime on communities and society are less obvious.
Sexual violence creates a climate of fear, anger and disbelief in workplaces, campuses and communities.
Additionally, sexual violence generates criminal justice, medical, crisis and mental health service expenses that estimate $450 billion a year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In solidarity with communities across the nation, Oswego County Opportunities’ Services to Aid Families program is encouraging community members to get involved.
As the domestic violence and rape crisis program serving Oswego County, SAF will be hosting and participating in a number of special events and activities during the month.
The annual Clothesline Project will be displayed in the SUNY Oswego Campus Center, in the main lobby of Cayuga Community College’s Fulton Campus, and at OCO’s Main Office located on Oneida Street in Fulton.
This project is a national campaign in which those affected by abuse and violence decorate T-shirts displaying messages that reflect the long-lasting impact of violence on their lives.
April 10 – 16 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. SAF is proud to invite all community members to attend the 15th annual tree planting ceremony honoring victims of crime.
This event will take place on April 12 at 4 p.m. at the Granby Community Center located at 820 County Route 8 in Fulton.
National Denim Day will be recognized on April 27.
Denim Day is a movement to stand up for survivors and protest victim blaming and destructive attitudes that promote sexual violence.
Notable community partners that will be wearing jeans include the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office, SUNY Oswego, Cayuga Community College’s Fulton Campus, and the Oswego County Department of Social Services.
Individuals can take part in Denim Day by posting a picture of you or a group wearing jeans on social media.
Use the hashtags #OswegoWearsDenim, #SAAM2016, and #DenimDay and share why you’re wearing jeans.
For more information on denim day, visit www.denimdayinfo.org
On April 29, SAF will be hosting a bar outreach event starting at 11 p.m.
Staff and volunteers will visit a variety of establishments along Bridge Street in the city of Oswego to engage with bartenders and bar patrons to bring awareness to the community about Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
During this event, SAF staff and volunteers will offer community members information about proper consent and encourages them to be aware of local resources that support victims and survivors of sexual violence.
“Preventing such a far-reaching and prevalent social issue as sexual violence may seem overwhelming or impossible,” said SAF’s Community Response Coordinator Stacie France. “However, prevention starts by challenging victim-blaming and believing survivors when they disclose. Individuals can model supportive relationships and behaviors, call out harmful attitudes, and challenge the societal acceptance of rape. Communities and businesses can take action to implement policies that promote safety, respect, and equality. As this year’s slogan declares, prevention is possible! Join us in helping everyone see their role in preventing sexual violence.”
If you or someone you know is a survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking, please call the Crisis Hotline at (315) 342-1600.
The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 24 hours.
SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County and has provided crisis, supportive, advocacy and educational services throughout Oswego County for more 30 years.
Did you know OCO has been fighting poverty in its many forms since 1966?
After 50 years, our commitment remains strong: inspiring partnerships and providing services that empower people, support communities, and change lives.
For more information, visit www.oco.org