March Proclaimed Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The work of several individuals and programs was recognized today as part of the kickoff of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“The programs and people we honor today are making such progress in the prevention of sexual assault,” said Janie Miller, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). “They are teaching, with significant results, that sexual violence toward anyone is not acceptable.”
Gov. Steve Beshear has signed a proclamation marking March as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“We take this action as a way to bring the Commonwealth's attention to the prevalence and the devastation of this crime,” Beshear said.
The Capitol rotunda event was cosponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.
“We are especially glad to highlight the community-based work and innovative approaches of the advocates we honor today,” Miller said.
The Green Dot Initiative was recognized with the Innovative Program Award. Representatives from each of the state’s 13 Regional Rape Crisis Centers were honored for their work in advancing the initiative.
As part of the Green Dot Initiative, every act of sexual violence – stalking, partner violence, rape, child abuse -- is considered a “red dot.”
Each “Green Dot” represents a single incident that can be used to support the victims of sexual violence or decrease the incidences of sexual assault.
“By simply raising the topic of sexual assault, we have placed a huge ‘Green Dot’ on the map of Kentucky today,” Miller said. “Discussion is the first step to educate men, women and children that sexual assault hurts us all. Talking about it, or just listening, makes us part of the solution.”
In Kentucky, one in nine adult women – more than 175,000 women -- has been forcibly raped. This conservative estimate does not include rape facilitated by alcohol or drugs, attempted rape, statutory rape (sex with someone under age 16 without explicit force) or other forms of sexual violence.
“Green Dot is a fairly new initiative, but we’ve already seen its progress,” said Phyllis Millspaugh, a program administrator for the CHFS Division of Violence Prevention Resources. “The effort to end the continuing cycle of abuse is more than enough reason to invest in Green Dot. It can be as simple as having a conversation with a teen boy or girl about how important it is to end violence.”
At a Frankfort awards dinner tonight, four people will receive the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Award for their contributions to end sexual violence. The winners, who also were recognized at the rotunda event, are:
- Margaret Banks, Flat Gap
- Tammy Hatfield, Columbia
- Sharon LaRue, Louisville
- Marta Miranda, Richmond