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Local events highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Every day, nearly 39 Mainers—approximately 14,000 per year—experience sexual violence. Sexual assault advocates across the state are working to change these numbers by bringing awareness and prevention education into the spotlight this month.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the Sexual Assault Crisis Center (SACC) will host a range of events designed to enhance community awareness of ways to prevent sexual violence in Androscoggin County and across Maine.

“Each time we give community members a space to talk and learn about these issues, we are one step closer to ending sexual violence in Maine,” says Marty McIntyre, executive director of SACC. “When we think that 39 Mainers experience sexual violence each day, it can seem like an insurmountable problem. We need to teach our communities that it is possible to end sexual violence if everyone gets involved and takes action.”

Helping to prevent sexual violence is as easy as refusing to support companies that glamorize violence, responding thoughtfully to a sexist comment, or attending a Sexual Assault Awareness Month event. Advocates at SACC point out that we are all impacted by this devastating crime, and we all have a role to play in ending it.

SACC’s Sexual Assault Awareness month events include:

April 11: Legislative Breakfast at SACC office, 7 to 9 a.m.

April 12: Internet Safety Presentation, RSU Adult Education in Turner, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

April 14: “In the Spotlight” at the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast, 7 a.m.

April 26: Project Response “Thank You” event at Pedro O’Hara’s, 4 to 6 p.m.

April 28: SACC Annual meeting/ Community Advocate Awards at Marco’s Restaurant, 6 to 8 p.m.

Guest columns about sexual assault and community response will appear each Sunday in the Sun Journal.

“Sexual violence is a significant problem in Maine, which has personal, social, and financial repercussions,” says McIntyre. “But together, we can make a difference. It’s time for all of us to work to prevent sexual violence.”

For more information about the above events, call 784-5272 or email to If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please call the statewide, 24-hour confidential sexual assault crisis and support line at 1-800-871-7741 or TTY: 1-888-458-5599.

The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Each day, people witness a continuum of behaviors that range from being respectful and safe, to sexually abusive and violent.

The 2011 national Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign explores common, everyday behaviors and offers individuals viable, responsible ways to intervene. This primary prevention approach helps to create environments where people are safe in their relationships, families, neighborhoods, schools, work places and communities. This year’s SAAM brings together resources and information, thus offering everyone the opportunity to address behaviors before sexual violence occurs.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) encourages state, territory, tribal and local organizations and groups focused on sexual violence awareness and prevention to tailor these campaign materials to their local communities. By working together we can highlight sexual violence as a major issue in our communities and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.

For more information, see

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