Let the world know what you #cando to prevent sexual violence, support survivors
The month of April is designated in the State of Wisconsin as Sexual Assault Awareness month. For those who have been impacted by the brutality of these senseless acts, the pain and suffering never truly vanishes.
Historically the victimization of these crimes did not end with the act itself but unfortunately were further perpetrated by a culture of secrecy and transferred blame on the part of those who were attacked rather than the attacker.
For many years, these crimes were minimized or even justified based on the condition of the victim or even in some cases the very clothing that they were wearing at the time of the attack.
Fortunately, those days are over and we as a society have come to recognize the severity of sexual assault for what it is.
We have strived to provide the greatest possible support for the victims while working toward the most severe level of accountability for the perpetrators. We have opened channels of communication to allow those who have had to live in the shadows of victimization to have their voices finally be heard.
One of the organizations that has been instrumental in this transformation is our own Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project. Having personally worked alongside these amazing advocates for change, I can attest to both their courage and their dedication in the area of victim support and community awareness.
Typically during the month of April, the Violence Intervention Project would be sponsoring numerous events to bring awareness to this issue. However, this has not been a typical year so far.
In light of our current restrictions, there will be a new. but just as interactive, way of supporting those who have been victimized as well as to be part of the effort to eliminate these crimes all together.
During this time of social distancing and "Safer at Home" quarantine, the Violence Intervention Project is doing a social media campaign through its Facebook page for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. They are asking that you participate, because it is so easy.
All you have to do is think of one thing you can do (or already do) to help support survivors, change the culture of sexual violence, and help to stop all forms of sexual violence in our community.
Use Messenger at the project's Facebook page, facebook.com/ViolenceInterventionProject, to write a quote about one the thing you #cando along with a selfie. VIP will plug it into a template and share it on Facebook during this awareness month. You can then share that post with your own friends and family members so they can virtually participate, too.
Please forward this to anyone else in your office or department who may be interested; or you can take an already existing group photo and send a quote about your whole department.
There is more information and a list of examples of things you #cando on the website. Visit vipadvocates.net and click on "turn #metoo into #cando" under the "Upcoming Events" tab on the left of the page.
Please take the time to join in supporting those affected by these senseless acts and bringing a greater awareness to our need as a society to rid our communities of any and all sexual assaults.
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Let the world know what you #cando to prevent sexual violence, support survivors