Pima County and City of Tucson leaders kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month to spread awareness

Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 6:41 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Sexual assault impacts an American adult every 68 seconds and a child, every nine minutes. In Tucson, there were 324 reported sexual assaults in 2022 and 17 so far this year according to Tucson Police.

There’s a new push to spread awareness about sexual violence and support survivors in the community.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Wednesday, leaders across Tucson and Pima County kicked off the annual effort to increase awareness about what they say is the most underreported violent crime.

This year’s theme for Sexual Assault Awareness Month is “Demand Equity.” The goal is to call on people in our communities to spread awareness and demand accountability for sexual violence.

″One in every six American women and one in every 33 men have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime,” stated Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.

The shocking statistics don’t stop there. Sexual violence disproportionately impacts immigrant populations, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Multiracial women experience the highest rates of sexual assault than any other race. While people with disabilities are three times more likely to experience sexual assault than a non-disabled person.

“It’s important to call attention to this epidemic. It’s an epidemic throughout the country,” Mayor Romero said. “Here in the City of Tucson and in our region, we’re doing everything we possibly can to prevent it and to help those who are suffering through the trauma.”

On Wednesday, at the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, several other city and county leaders spoke about how sexual violence impacts our whole community. The Pima County Sexual Assault Response Team is one way several organizations are coming together to find a solution.

“We have over 30 organizations throughout Pima County who come together on a monthly basis formally and then informally in so many different ways to look at the things that we’re doing in our community to support survivors and prevent continued sexual violence,” said Katlyn Monje, director of SACASA.

The team looks at things that are being done well in the community when it comes to helping survivors and things that can be done better. But you don’t have to be a part of this team to make a difference.

“There’s a way for everyone to have an impact. Even just starting by believing survivors if they disclose something to you and connecting them with additional support is a really meaningful and powerful way to show that this is not an okay thing to have happen to people,” Monje explained.

There are events happening all month long for Sexual Assault Awareness Month where you’ll be able to find resources and learn more about how to help survivors. You can find more information here.