'Take Back the Night' rally to raise awareness of sexual assault

Published 2:23 pm Thursday, April 1, 2010

Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services (DASAS) is observing Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a nationally recognized time dedicated to raising awareness about and promoting prevention of sexual violence. During this month, DASAS will be joining with people throughout the state and the nation to focus the public’s attention on this important issue.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that one in six women and one in 33 men have been raped during her or his lifetime. Of these assaults, at least 80 percent are committed by someone the victim knows, including a current or former intimate partner.  Michigan has the third highest rate of forcible rapes in the nation. These statistics leave little doubt that most Americans know at least one sexual assault survivor. However, only about 60 percent of rapes are reported to the police, making rape one of the most under reported crimes.

Local activities to raise awareness of sexual violence include Take Back the Night, display of the Clothesline Project, distribution of the agency’s Community Education Newsletter and Denim Day.  The Take Back the Night rally and march will be held April 8 at 7 p.m. at the gazebo in downtown Dowagiac and April 15 at 7 p.m. at the Mural Mall in downtown Three Rivers. The purpose of the event is to show support to survivors of sexual assault and empower victims to seek help. The Clothesline Project featuring T-shirts created by sexual assault survivors will be displayed during the Take Back the Night events. This month’s Community Education Newsletter will feature information about sexual assault statistics, myths and facts about sexual assault and alcohol-facilitated sexual assault.

For a copy of the Community Education Newsletter or to receive Sexual Assault Awareness Month ribbons, contact Kate Bathon, community and law enforcement liaison, at caitlinb@dasasmi.org or (269) 273-6154 ext. 104.

For more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month, contact DASAS at (269) 273-6154 or dasasinfo@dasasmi.org.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, confidential help is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 828-2023.