Each year the task force as well as individual member agencies, host an array of events in light of Sexual Assault Awareness month. Much brainstorming went on behind the scenes to make April 2012 an educational opportunity as well as bring in funds for the task force and associated agencies.
Prevalence of the Problem
On average, there are 207,754 victims of rape and sexual assault throughout the United States each year. Out of every 100 rapes, only 46 are reported to the police. In 2006, San Juan County’s five law enforcement agencies (Aztec, Bloomfield, Farmington, Sheriff’s Office and State Police) had 76 CSP (criminal sexual penetration) incidents reported. That number rose to 326 in 2010 with 31% of the victims being under 12 years of age.
Monetary Costs & Long-Term Effects
The monetary costs of adult rapes total an estimate of $127 billon per year. Much of these costs are directly related to medical and mental health services making sexual assault a community health issue. Rape crisis centers help alleviate such societal costs by providing much needed services to survivors of this devastating crime.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is one of the main funding sources of rape crisis centers, but this alone is not enough. Advocacy groups, such as our local task force, work hard throughout the year to raise additional funds to provide survivors with support services that are crucial in helping to reduce long-term effects caused by sexual assault related trauma. Such effects can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, relationship problems, loss of work, eating disorders, substance abuse, and insomnia. This list of effects is not all-inclusive but puts into perspective the impact that sexual assault can have on an individual.
Making A Change
Community awareness and education is imperative to facilitate change surrounding misbeliefs that are all too common in society. End Violence Against Women International’s (EVAWI) Start by Believing campaign addresses the importance of a supportive response to the victim when he or she discloses a sexual assault. All too often, victims of sexual assault are not believed by the individual whom they disclose to. Having a negative response towards the victim can be the determining factor as to whether or not he or she will seek further assistance.
So What Did the Task Force Do This Year?
Thanks to the generous donations from community businesses and members, the task force and associated agencies were able to host a variety of awareness campaigns and fundraising events. Such events help bring attention to this community health issue that can not be overlooked. In addition, funds raised help to support local rape crisis and advocacy groups so that sexual assault survivors here in San Juan County may continue to receive the services they need.
Teal Ribbon Campaign:
Local law enforcement officers placed teal ribbons, donated by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, on their vehicles to show support for Sexual Assault Awareness month.
This year’s play, A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, written by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, took place at Piedra Vista High School. The annual play is put on in an effort to bring attention to and stop violence against women & girls. Proceeds for this event benefited Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico and New Beginnings transitional shelter.
Take Back the Night:
This year’s march started at Safeway West and ended at the Farmington Civic Center. Approximately 75 participants gathered at the center, watched a short clip about the Start By Believing Campaign, shared personal stories about sexual assault, and ended the event with a candlelight vigil.
Sassy Tortoise & Hare Run:
This was the second annual 10k run, 5k run/walk, and 1 mile kids run/walk hosted by Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico (SAS). The run took place at the Lions Wilderness Park. All proceeds benefited SAS, which provides SANE exams (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) and advocacy services to sexual assault survivors.
The Eat Up to Speak Up fundraiser hosted by Chili’s was a new event for the task force. Patrons provided a pre-made flyer with their ticket and 10% of the total was donated to the task force.
Thanks to Majestic Media, the task force was able to launch EVAWI’s Start by Believing campaign here in our community. Captions from the campaign, in addition to April’s events, were displayed on Majestic’s digital billboards, in the Tri-City Tribune, and on the Tri-City nightly news.
The task force would like to thank all the donors that made this year’s events possible:
Farmington Police Department
Aztec Police Department
Bloomfield Police Department
City of Farmington
Little Caesar’s Pizza
Thank you to the Daily Times for providing coverage for Take Back the Night.
SASSY Run Sponsors:
City of Bloomfield
Northwest NM Women’s Health Specialists
Simpson Law Office
RC Mobile Home Transport
Cascade Bottled Water
Desert Hills Dental Care
San Juan College
State Farm-Trudy Goldsmith
City of Farmington
Farmington Police Department
Bob and Janet Burns
Farmington Family Practice
San Juan Endoscopy
Trust Law Associates
Great Harvest Bread Company
Serenity Touchless Massage
Jim & Dalene Reese
Thank you to Dairy Queen in Kirtland for donating coupons for our kids run/walk participants.
U.S. Department of Justice. National Crime Victimization Survey. 2006-2010.
New Mexico Interpersonal Violence Data Central Repository. Sex Crimes In New Mexico IX: An Analysis of 2010 Data. 2011.
National Institute of Justice. Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look. 1996
The National Alliance To End Sexual Violence.
The Costs and Consequences of Sexual Violence and Cost-Effective Solutions. 2011