PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION PROCLAIMS APRIL AS “SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH”
Lieutenant Governor Murray was joined by the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, and Boston City Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo to encourage residents to be more vigilant in public surroundings and aware of available resources to help prevent sexual assault and services.(Photo Credit: Governor's Office). View additional photos.
BOSTON – Tuesday, April 3, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray was joined today by state and local officials, advocates and community members to announce April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Massachusetts. During his remarks, Lieutenant Governor Murray read a proclamation issued by Governor Deval Patrick, encouraging Massachusetts to remain vigilant in public surroundings as well as aware of available resources to help prevent sexual assault and services to support victims of sexual assault.
“As a Commonwealth, it is up to us to come together through public awareness, to work in partnership with rape crisis centers and a growing network of community organizations to help eliminate the prevalence of sexual violence,” said Governor Patrick.
“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity to remind women, children and men to remain vigilant in their neighborhoods and other public surroundings,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray, Chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence. “With the Clothesline Project on display at South Station today, the stories of many survivors of sexual violence are shared to let other victims know they are not alone and there are a range of resources available. In April and throughout the year, Governor Patrick and I encourage all to join the conversation – speak with your family, friends, neighbors, and community to increase awareness about the free, confidential resources and services available to help prevent sexual assault and support victims of sexual violence in all regions of the Commonwealth.”
After chairing a meeting of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence, Lieutenant Governor Murray was joined by the Boston Rape Crisis Center and other advocates from across the state at an event held at South Station for the annual presentation of the Clothesline Project which displays t-shirts representing survivors’ stories. The Clothesline Project began in 1990 on Cape Cod as a program to help address the issue of violence against women. Today, the Clothesline Project display travels across the state and will be hosted by local rape crisis centers throughout the month of April.
“Survivors’ stories, their pain and their hopes, are described in the T-Shirts that hang at our annual and largest display of shirts as part of the Clothesline Project,” said Gina Scaramella, Executive Director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011 nearly one-in-five women and one-in-seven men nationwide have been raped in their lifetime and more than one-in-three women and one-in-five men nationwide have experienced other forms of sexual violence and unwanted sexual experiences. Massachusetts is experiencing a similar trend with many communities recently facing very public cases of sexual violence. The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security continues to work closely across state agencies including the Department of Public Health and MBTA Transit Police to help raise awareness and promote public safety.
Chief Paul MacMillan of the MBTA Transit Police echoed these sentiments referencing the groundbreaking sexual harassment campaign that has been ongoing for four years. “We work to ensure that the offenders are held responsible for inappropriate behavior on our public transit system, our campaign lets victims know we care and it makes a difference in the number of reports we receive,” said Chief MacMillan.
“As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and adult sexual assault, I understand the feelings of shame, the below-the-surface emotional trauma and the social isolation faced by victims,” said Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. “Sexual Assault Awareness Month is important because it reminds us all that we bear some responsibility to end sexual violence in our society and stop the all-too-often practice of blaming the victim. I'm hopeful the publicity around Sexual Assault Awareness Month will focus more attention on the issue of sexual violence and show other victims that there are always people ready to support them.”
Since 2007, Lieutenant Governor Murray has chaired the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence. Governor Patrick established the Council by Executive Order #486 and over the years Lieutenant Governor Murray has worked across state agencies and with community partners responsible for providing sexual and domestic violence service throughout the Commonwealth. Through the work of the Council, the Patrick-Murray Administration continues to review and promote best practices to help end domestic and sexual violence as well as advance statewide policy to better protect survivors of sexual assault and violence and hold perpetrators accountable. Since creating and promulgating the first Adult Sexual Assault Law Enforcement Guidelines in 2009, the Council has worked with law enforcement agencies to implement a comprehensive, standard response to calls of sexual violence.
For more information about available resources to support victims of sexual assault, please visit: National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or for the Llámanos Spanish Language Helpline, 24-hour Helpline – 1-800-223-5001.
All 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts are also served by an area rape crisis program. To learn more information about available services, please contact one of the following area rape crisis programs:
Massachusetts Area Rape Crisis Programs
Greater Boston Area
Voices Against Violence
North Shore Rape Crisis Center
YWCA of Greater Lawrence
Center for Hope and Healing, Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell
A New Day/Health Imperatives
Independence House/Cape Cod Rape Crisis Center
A Safe Place
The Women's Center/New Bedford Women's Center
Martha's Vineyard Community Services/ CONNECT to End Violence
Wayside Trauma Intervention Services/ Valley Rape Crisis Program
Pathways for Change (formerly Rape Crisis Center of Central MA)
Elizabeth Freeman Center
YWCA of Western Mass
Follow Lieutenant Governor Murray on Twitter