April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month | TahoeDailyTribune.com

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Scarlet Caldwell
Provided to the Tribune

The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month in our community and throughout the United States.

In 2011, Live Violence Free, formerly the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center, served 183 sexual assault survivors and their families, 37 percent of which were under the age of 18. Live Violence Free responded to 20 emergency sexual assault calls to law enforcement or to the hospital. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, current statistics show that, every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, and 44 percent of victims are under age 18. On top of that, 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported and 15 of 16 rapists will never spend a day in jail (rainn.org/statistics). Needless to say, this issue continues to affect countless individuals in our community every year. The goal of SAAM is to raise awareness about sexual violence and its prevalence, and to educate our citizens on how sexual assault can be prevented. SAAM aims to encourage communities to pool their resources and feature sexual violence as a major public health, human rights and social justice issue for which prevention efforts are vital. This year, the national campaign for SAAM is to promote healthy sexuality in order to prevent sexual violence.

Live Violence Free offers prevention, intervention and treatment programs that address sexual assault, as well as domestic violence and child abuse. For more than 30 years, our Sexual Assault Program has served individuals through crisis intervention and counseling, accompaniment and advocacy through the medical and legal processes, and the collaborative multi-disciplinary Sexual Assault Response Team. In addition, we are always trying to increase the number of community presentations given and individuals educated, with the hope that increased awareness will reduce the number of victims in our community.

As an agency committed to serving those affected by sexual violence, Live Violence Free will observe SAAM through multiple events. We will be offering free self-defense training classes on April 12 and 19 from 5-7 p.m. at the Inn by the Lake. In addition, Freshies restaurant will host its annual “Trading Places” fundraiser on our behalf on April 17 from noon to 3 p.m., during which all you have to do is treat yourself to a delicious meal in order to support our cause. Also, our fourth Annual Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser will be held on April 25 at Tahoe Bowl from 6-8 p.m. This is a fun-filled event for everyone, whether you are bowling on a team or just want to come out, support us, and have a chance to win some amazing raffle prizes!

All members of the community can show their support for SAAM by wearing a teal ribbon throughout April, which you will be able to find at multiple businesses around our community. Please, show your support for those affected by sexual violence in our community and across our nation, by supporting SAAM and raising awareness about this critical issue.

– Scarlet Caldwell is the outreach educator for Live Violence Free.

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