TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A legislative proclamation sponsored by State Representative Shawnna LM Bolick (R-20) was read on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives today recognizing April 2021 as the 20th anniversary of the official declaration of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and honoring victims and survivors:
Whereas, sexual violence is a dehumanizing form of abuse that harms every person’s right to live free; and
Whereas, rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment have extensive and widespread physical and mental health implications, including post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, homelessness, eating disorders, and suicide; and
Whereas, the pandemic has severely exacerbated the challenges facing sexual assault survivors by making it more difficult or risky for them to seek help, while the economic crisis has undermined their economic security and livelihood; and
Whereas, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lives; and
Whereas, individuals with disabilities are 2.5 times more likely to be violently victimized; and
Whereas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 43.2% of females and 51.3% of males first experienced victimization prior to age 18; and 66% of women and 36% of men report knowing their perpetrator; and
Whereas, 67% of victims under the age of 18 identified their perpetrator as a family member and 79% said they were currently living with that perpetrator; and
Whereas, the Arizona Department of Public Safety indicates that 3,162 rapes were reported to police in 2019; and
Whereas, 59% of violent crimes are not reported to law enforcement; and
Whereas, through collaborative and awareness efforts, prevention education, a strong continuum of victim services, and holding perpetrators responsible for their actions, we can work together to better address sexual violence and create safer communities for all Arizonans to prevent sexual assault and support victims and survivors; and
Therefore, I, Representative Shawnna LM Bolick, do hereby recognize on April 6, 2021, April 2021 as the 20th anniversary of the official declaration Sexual Awareness Month and encourage all citizens, parents, governmental agencies, public and private institutions, businesses, hospitals, schools, and colleges in the state of Arizona to join together and raise awareness about sexual assault, provide support for survivors, and strive to achieve a state where sexual assault victims have a clear path to justice, and where our communities, families, and children are protected.
Following the proclamation’s reading, Representative Bolick remarked, “Sexual harassment, assault, and abuse can happen anywhere, including in online spaces. As we connect online, we need to learn how to best intervene when we see harmful content or behaviors and ensure that even online spaces — whether they be workspaces, classrooms, social media platforms, or otherwise — are respectful and safe. Sexual harassment, assault, and abuse are widespread and impact every person in this community.”
Bolick concluded by requesting House members to observe a moment of silence, in remembrance and support of sexual assault victims and survivors.