Minden Mayor Tommy Davis has signed a proclamation in recognition of sexual assault prevention.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Bridgett Salsberry, Webster Parish victim outreach advocate for Project Celebration, Inc., says her area covers Minden, Springhill and all the municipalities in between.
Davis says he’s glad to lend his support on behalf of the City of Minden.
“The City of Minden is glad to support sexual assault awareness month,” he said, “to make people aware of this prevalent issue.”
Sexual violence is prominent in many communities, and there are several different kinds of abuse, according to a media packet provided to the Minden Press-Herald.
“Sexual violence is a broad term and includes rape, incest, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure and voyeurism,” the National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports.
“Sexual violence happens to people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, professions, incomes and ethnicities.”
All of these are sexual acts without consent. The NSVRW goes on to define consent as “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.” Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity without their consent.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is about prevention. The NSVRW lists ways someone can prevent this type of behavior, and it includes speaking up about it when a person hears “harmful comments or witnessing acts of disrespect or violence.”
It also includes communicating with legislators on the local, state and national level about supporting prevention programs. Policies against sexual violence can be created in the workplace and in schools.
Here are some facts provided by NSVRM about sexual violence
“Victims are never at fault for a sexual assault. Often, the media may unintentionally imply a victim is to blame by mentioning, for example, what the victim was wearing and if the victim was drinking. These comments lead to victim-blaming.
“People who sexually assault usually violate someone they know and they often use coercion, manipulation or ‘charm.’ They may use force, threats or injury. An absence of physical injuries to a victim does not mean that a victim consented.
“Societal conditions that allow sexual violence to continue include tolerance of sexual harassment, restrictive ideas about gender, believing that women should be responsible for keeping themselves safe, rape jokes, violent pornography, the belief that alcohol will make sexual encounters better, and beliefs that certain groups are better than others (sexism, racism, heterosexism, etc.)”
If sexual assault is suspect, call local law enforcement. For more information about sexual assault prevention, contact Salsberry at 318-578-5525 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.