An article found in the April edition of the Palm Beach County’s Count-E-Line newsletter:
April is national Sexual Assault Awareness Month and to promote the campaign locally, members of the Palm Beach County Victim Services’ Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) office, located at 4210 North Australian Avenue in West Palm Beach, decorated a field with 585 flags. This figure is the total number of new sexual assault victims assisted through advocacy and/or therapy over the past year, and represents a reduction of 90 cases from the year before.
Victim Services employees inscribed “No More” on the fence surrounding the field. “No More” is a unifying slogan and movement to raise public awareness and engage bystanders toward ending domestic violence and sexual assault. It signifies no more victims, no more rape, and no more victim-blaming.
Raising awareness is important because according to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, one in six women in Florida has been raped at some point in her life. “It’s unfortunate that Palm Beach County is not immune to this statewide statistic,” said Nicole Bishop, director of the Palm Beach County Division of Victim Services. “The division and SART are comprised of skilled professionals to help victims cope with the consequences of this traumatic crime.”
Sadly, most victims do not come forward to report the crime for various reasons, including associated stigma and fear of not being believed. Because of this, awareness regarding reporting options and availability of help is greatly needed.
Victim Services employees and SART members will be participating in a flash mob at CityPlace on April 18 at 6 p.m., and Denim Day on April 29. Denim Day is a national campaign that came about after an Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans. The defense argued that she must have had to help her attacker remove her tight jeans, thus making the act consensual. Wearing jeans on this day has become an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. The public is encouraged to wear jeans on April 29 to show solidarity and support for victims.
For more information, visit https://palmbeachcan.wordpress.com/. There is also 24-hour confidential hotline for victims of crime: 833-7273 (RAPE).