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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    State gears up for sexual assault awareness events

    PHOENIX – Red, orange and pink shirts stand for sexual assault and rape; blue and green ones for child sexual abuse.

    There were hundreds of them.

    “”We are stronger than what you did to us,”” a bright red shirt read.

    “”Daddy, you hurt me as a child for many years,”” a small green shirt read, and continued: “”I felt scared and ashamed. A little 6-year-old should not be molested and physically abused by her father.””

    Hanging in two rows from metal bars at the Phoenix City Hall yesterday, the Clothesline Project kicked off National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

    Sexual Assault Statistics
    A rape is reported about once every five minutes in the United States.
    About 44 percent of rape victims are under 18 years old.
    About 15 percent are under 12 years old.
    About 90 percent of sexual assault victims are women.
    One in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.
    About two out of three sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.
    Less than 39 percent of sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement.

    – Courtesy of the Arizona Sexual Assault Network

    The Phoenix event will be followed by several others throughout the state, including Take Back the Night, a sexual assault and domestic violence rally, which will be held April 20 on the UA Mall.

    “”People don’t want to talk about sexual assault,”” said Elizabeth Houde, president of the Arizona Sexual Assault Network, which participates in the Clothesline Project. “”The month of April can raise awareness all over the state.””

    According to the FBI, 2,006 Arizona women reported being raped in 2005. But only about 39 percent of rapes are reported to law enforcement, according to the Arizona Sexual Assault Network.

    The UA OASIS Program has worked for almost 10 years counseling victims of rape, stalking and relationship violence and offering preventive services such as self-defense classes.

    It’s important that victims speak out and encourage others to do the same, said Michelle Dorsey, an OASIS psychologist. The month of April could promote being open about such experiences.

    “”A lot of people think they’re going to be blamed for the crime,”” she said. “”I think that’s an old, antiquated view.””

    OASIS is just one of the places at the UA where students can seek help. University of Arizona Police Department officials are trained to help, while the Dean of Students Office and many faculty members are also willing to listen, Dorsey said.

    “”We’ve got a coordinated effort here at the UA.”” She said. “”I’m proud of the work that UA has done.””

    One of the speakers at the Clothesline Project opening was Sen. Jim Waring, R-Phoenix, who has advocated tougher sexual assault and domestic violence laws for years.

    Though Waring said he couldn’t personally relate to sexual abuse and domestic violence, he said it is important to get out the word and support efforts to fight such crimes.

    “”I do think it raises awareness,”” he said about events such as the Clothesline Project. “”There used to be a social acceptance about this, probably as recent as 10 to 15 years ago.””

    One of Waring’s bills would make it easier for victims of domestic violence to get out of rental leases.

    In a 44-11 vote yesterday, the House approved the bill, which said a tenant, with written notice, can vacate the premises if he or she has been the victim of violence at the home or apartment in the last 30 days.

    Another bill, Senate Bill 1006, would allow some people, including victims of domestic violence or stalking, to request that their records and personal information be held confidential. Senate Bill 1009 would appropriate $3 million for domestic violence emergency shelter beds.

    The bills are in different committees in the House and Senate.

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