April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the aim is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate the community how to prevent it.
The Central Australian Health Service’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre is planning a number of events throughout the month in collaboration with other Central Australia stakeholders, including the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter, Central Aboriginal Family Legal Unit and the Central Australia Women’s Legal Service.
This year’s theme is Embrace Your Voice.
“This means anyone can become an agent of change by showing your support to a survivor and using your powerful voice to promote safety, respect and equality to stop sexual violence before it happens,” said Christa Bartjen-Westermann, SARC Manager.
“We know that one month isn’t enough to solve the serious and widespread issue of sexual violence. However, the attention April generates is an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout year,” said Di Gipey, Chief Executive Officer of the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter.
“Be confident to speak out against sexual violence because our words shape the world around us. Whether you are speaking out against locker room talk, stand up to victim blaming, shutting down jokes about sexual violence or correct harmful misconceptions. Everyone’s voice is powerful and necessary in this conversation,” said Phynea Clarke, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Aboriginal Family Legal Unit.
“Let’s make progress in the right direction and not blame the survivor, but rather call the perpetrator to account,” Ms Clarke said.
“People who sexually abuse can have strong social ties in the community. We must continue to hold those who commit sexual violence accountable, regardless of their position in the community, their power, their fame, or their wealth,” said Julia Parkin, Community Legal Education Lawyer at the Central Australian Women’s Legal Service.
“It takes all of our voices to change a culture that tolerates sexual violence. Each of us has the opportunity to speak up to challenge ideas and behaviours that support sexual violence,” said Sarah Berben, SARC Nurse.
If you are a survivor or are experiencing sexual violence or abuse, support is available through 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737 732, or your local Alice Springs SARC service on 8955 44500.
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