'Spark a Conversation' theme for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
By Jan White
CROCKETT – “How would you like it if I were to ask you to describe in detail your last sexual experience?”
Houston County District Attorney Donna Gordon Kasper asked the question to illustrate why more sexual assault victims don’t come forward. “That’s why children and adults are reluctant to report sexual abuse.”
Kaplan was one of several speakers featured at the meeting hosted by the Family Crisis Center on Wednesday, April 13. Community members were invited to attend the morning gathering, held at the Community Room of Sunflower Bank, to hear more about sexual assault and what advocates are doing to help.
Whitney Burran, Executive Director for Family Crisis Center of East Texas (FCCET) began the meeting by congratulating Crockett for their support of the awareness programs that the FCCET brings to the community. “Sexual assault in 2022 is still a taboo topic. No one really wants to talk about it. And people want to deny that it’s happening in their community. But it is.” The theme “Spark a Conversation” was chosen to help destigmatize the uncomfortable topic.
“The more you talk about it, the safer victims will feel to discuss their experience.” Burran added, “Statistics show that sexual assault is the most under-reported crime.”
Crockett mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher, who has a background in criminal justice, read a Proclamation Letter declaring April 2022 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Proclamation stated that one in five women and one in 71 men have been raped at some point in their lives, and one in six boys and one in four girls will experience a sexual assault before the age of 18.
Maria Rodriguez is the Family Crisis Center Legal Advocate for Crockett. She explained to attendees how the Center helps victims – from offering information to those who need help finding resources, shelter if they need to be removed from the situation, or counseling for those who have suffered abuse.
The meeting concluded with attendees lighting sparklers on the portico outside the Community Room to illustrate the “Spark a Conversation” theme. It is the hope of community advocates that more discussion on the topic will help remove the stigma of sexual assault and encourage victims to seek help.
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