April is national <a href=”http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/sexual-assault-awareness-month”>Sexual Assault Awareness Month</a>, the goal of which is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. James Boyd, development director of <a href=”http://capsa.org/en/”>CAPSA</a>, said local efforts to accomplish this goal include the display of teal ribbons and pinwheels throughout Cache Valley. He said each of the pinwheels placed in 179-pinwheel displays around town represents a survivor of rape and/or sexual assault who worked with CAPSA last year.
Utah statistics show that one in three women will experience sexual violence in her lifetime. To stand up against sexual assault locally, Boyd said CAPSA is teaming up with Utah State University’s <a href=”https://www.usu.edu/sexual-assault/i-will/”>“I Will”</a> campaign. Because most people who have experienced a rape or attempted rape first disclose the assault to a friend or family member, he said it’s important to know how best to respond.
“If someone comes to you and says, ‘I’ve experienced sexual assault or rape,’ you want to respond with, ‘I believe you,’ and, ‘I want to help. How can I help?’”
Boyd said a mistake people often make is asking a victim, “Why were you at that party? What were you doing there?” These questions suggest fault on the part of the victim, and Boyd recommends an entirely different approach.
“We want to switch that to being supportive of the individual,” Boyd said, “and so we want to start by believing them.”
Boyd said several local businesses will show their support for CAPSA throughout the month of April by having their employees wear t-shirts that say “Don’t Stand By, Stand Up.” Participating businesses include Lee’s Marketplace, Angie’s, Herm’s Inn, Even Stevens and Firehouse Pizza. Logan mayor Craig Petersen and members of the Logan City Police Department have also donned t-shirts.