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Sexual Assault Awareness Month Talk Early, Talk Often. Prevent Sexual Violence

OSWEGO, NY – Every two minutes, a woman is sexually assaulted in the country.

However, sexual assault and rape continue to be one of the most under-reported crimes in the United States.

In addition, girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this year’s campaign focuses on healthy sexuality and its connection to child sexual abuse prevention.

In recognition of this important campaign, Oswego County Opportunities’ Services to Aid Families program is encouraging community members to join the conversation.

Start talking about healthy childhood development to prevent child sexual abuse.

It is important for all members of Oswego County to no longer allow silence and instead work towards addressing the destructive and ever-present issue of sexual assault and abuse.

SAF, Oswego County’s Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center, has provided crisis, support, advocacy and educational services throughout the county for more than 30 years.

To move towards the creation of a violence free community, and to commemorate April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, SAF will be hosting and participating in the following special events and activities during the month.

Look for the Clothesline Project to be displayed at the following locations: Pulaski Health Center, OCO’s Midtown Plaza in the city of Oswego, and the Oswego Hospital Emergency Department.

The Clothesline Project is a national campaign in which those affected by abuse and violence decorate T-Shirts displaying messages reflecting the long-lasting impact of sexual violence on the lives of victims, their loved ones and families.

Join us for an informal and informational Lunch and Learn session, “Talk Early, Talk Often,” on Thursday from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at our Midtown Plaza office.

The focus of this session will be sexual assault and child sexual abuse prevention and will address how to support age-appropriate behaviors for children, model healthy boundaries, and speak up to other adults in order to make our communities safer.

April 22 the SUNY Oswego Women’s Studies Program is holding Enough is Enough, a symposium on violence against women and girls beginning at 10 a.m. This symposium will feature speakers, a panel presentation on sexual violence on college campus’s, a film screening and discussion of Jennifer Baumgardner’s “It was Rape,” and a “Slut Walk” with women, men, and children marching to demand their right to live without fear of sexual violence based on their life choices; clothing, work, lifestyle choices, etc.

April 21 – 27 is National Crime Victims Rights Week.

SAF is proud to invite all community members to attend our annual tree planting ceremony honoring victims of crime on April 24 at 3 p.m. at Hannibal Town Hall. The tree has been generously donated by Phoenix Flower Farm and Landscaping.

Join us April 28 at Camp Hollis from noon – 4 p.m. at the annual Day of Play, organized by the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County.

During the event, participants will be invited to decorate the building blocks that will form a community tree. This tree symbolizes the uniqueness of all the individuals in the county that come together to form one, caring, cohesive and supportive community.

Ending sexual violence will not be possible without the support of our community members.

We challenge you to help engage men, women and children in sexual assault prevention and awareness. By coming together to say ‘No More’ to sexual violence, members of our community can work towards creating environments where people are safe and respected in their relationships and victims receive the support they deserve.

For more information about how you can get involved, to learn more about sexual violence or if you or someone you know is a survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking please call the Abuse and Assault Hotline at (315) 342-1600.

The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 24 hours a day, with collect calls accepted within Oswego County.

SAF is funded through grants from the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women and the New York State Department of Health.

OCO, Inc is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966.

A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations.

For more information, visit www.oco.org