Minden, LA (KTAL/KMSS) – April marks the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal is to bring attention to sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.
Community members gathered at the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office Tuesday for a SAAM ‘Day of Action’ kick-off event and to show support for survivors.
“Sexual harassment abuse and assault are widespread problems,” said Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker. He was joined by Bossier/Webster Parish District Attorney Schuyler Marvin and Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart.
“Schuyler and I both work very hard in our offices to make sure that victims of sexual assault feel comfortable with the criminal justice system… that they know they have a friend that they can come in and we will take them seriously,” said Stewart.
“Healing is the number one, just getting the resources so that you can heal from the trauma and realize it was a bad moment in time but it doesn’t define you,” said Deputy Heather Boucher, Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“People don’t realize that I have advocates that work 24/7. They’re going out. They’re being first responders on every sexual assault call in seven parishes,” shared Mitzi Harris, Executive Director of PCI.
“One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday. It’s not might, they will be,” said Angela Henderson, Sexual Assault Director, PCI. “So because those numbers are through the roof, it’s important that we have spaces like this for survivors to see we’re on their side and we support them.”
Individuals and communities are encouraged to commemorate SAAM and show support for survivors of sexual harassment and abuse by wearing teal- the color of sexual violence prevention-on April 6th and posting a selfie to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the #SAAM2021 hashtag. Wearing teal signals that you support survivors and are a safe person to talk to if they need to reach out.
As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month efforts, Project Celebration, Inc. is committed to helping individuals and families enhance their ability to live successfully in the community through education, advocacy, and collaboration of all available resources to help survivors develop the highest capacity for safety, self-reliance and personal well-being.
Other associated events open to the public include:
- Friday, April 16- Teal Talks Watch & Discussion Party on “Rape Culture” @ 12 pm. Check the Project Celebration Facebook page for registration
- Tuesday, April 20: Teal Talks on location to discuss “Building Safe Online Spaces.” This event will stream live on the Project Celebration Facebook Page at 10 a.m.
For more information on these events, to volunteer or to take part in one of the limited-attendance events, call Angela Henderson at Project Celebration Inc. Sexual Assault Crisis Center at (318) 227-7900.